In a digital age that celebrates the breaking down of barriers, one game, ‘Shrapnel’, faces a unique regulatory challenge. The blockchain game, which takes the form of a first-person extraction shooter, has seen its forthcoming release marred by a significant restriction on U.S.-based players. But what’s the real story behind this decision, and how will it affect the wider gaming industry?
The SEC and shrapnel’s cashing out dilemma
When the creators of Shrapnel envisioned their AAA shooter game, they likely never anticipated running afoul of the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Yet, as Shrapnel’s Head of Economy, Francis Brankin, that’s precisely what has transpired.
Set to debut in early access this December, Shrapnel promises an unrestricted experience for gamers hailing from Europe and Asia. Their U.S. counterparts, however, face a notable limitation: they won’t be able to cash out in-game assets. “They [U.S. users] can do everything every other player can do, but they can’t cash out. Because that’s what makes it a security to the U.S. player,” Brankin explained. The moment a gamer realizes the monetary value of an asset, regulatory complications emerge.
This restriction traces back to the SEC’s heightened scrutiny under the leadership of Gary Gensler. In response to this enhanced regulatory environment, several U.S. cryptocurrency firms have curtailed local services, casting their gaze overseas for greener pastures.
Shrapnel’s innovative economy and gameplay mechanics
Beyond the SEC concerns, the world of Shrapnel is vast and ambitious. Set in a 2038 Earth, players dive into a high-stakes environment where they scavenge for loot, staving off threats from enemies and rival players. This gameplay format ties directly into the game’s monetary system, allowing players to extract their winnings.
But there’s more to Shrapnel than just thrilling shootouts. The game introduces a revolutionary economic system wherein players can build open economies. Unlike traditional gaming models, Shrapnel empowers its players with intellectual property rights over in-game assets. This offers gamers the freedom to not only derive value from their gameplay but also to possess, brand, and sell their in-game creations. “User-generated content is clearly a big thing,” Brankin said, highlighting the success stories of platforms like Roblox and Minecraft.
On the technical front, Neon, the team developing Shrapnel, has opted for Avalanche for its scalability. Although Shrapnel currently boasts the ability to process an impressive 2 million transactions per hour (equivalent to 555 TPS), the Avalanche platform ensures the game can seamlessly scale up as it grows.
The global gaming landscape and U.S. regulatory challenges
As Neon gears up for Shrapnel’s early access launch, the imposed limitations on U.S. gamers strike a cautionary note for the industry. However, it’s essential to situate this within the broader global context. While the U.S. gaming sector grapples with regulatory obstacles, the gaming scene in Asia is flourishing, especially in regions like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. The co-founder of Sandbox shared the belief that the metaverse and, by extension, gaming are experiencing a decline in the U.S., but the opposite is true in Asia.
While Shrapnel’s upcoming launch might be bittersweet due to these limitations, the game’s innovative features, combined with its potential global appeal, suggest a bright future. The hope remains that, with time, regulatory hurdles will be overcome, allowing all gamers to experience and benefit from everything Shrapnel has to offer fully.