The NFT market continues to trend upwards and is approaching the key moment when it will have to prove whether it is a bubble or a reality.
All this matters little to the developers of Upland, a game mounted on the EOS blockchain, in which virtual lands represented by NFT are traded, who continue to innovate on their platform.
Maybe this proposal is not too novel, but what if the canvas where the game takes place is the real world? What if I can buy a piece of land on a real street in San Francisco, build a house and decorate it to my liking? Speculate with a piece of land near the train or airport for its accessibility?
Now that I got your attention, I will unveil what is Upland, the game that started simulating a Monopoly on the blockchain but that aims to become a metaverse where the limits are hard to imagine…
The story goes that while Dirk Lueth, Idan Zuckerman and Mani Honigstein were playing Monopoly and watching the series “Stranger Things”, the idea was born. And what was it that derived from this strange combination? The Monopoly game concept, and its objective of buying and selling properties, and the creation of a parallel reality as it happens in the famous series.
From the beginning, the initial version was released in 2019, its creators, focused on creating a game that offers a simple experience to its users. Because of this goal, from an aesthetic point of view, we find a clean screen, nothing overloaded, and with accurate information. From the user experience, we noticed that they removed the responsibility of the user to deal with the “difficult” points of the blockchain world, such as the creation of a wallet.
Upland has its own currency, identified with the ticker UPX, in which rewards are received and which acts as a means of exchange to acquire properties in the game.
It is important to clarify that UPX is a virtual currency that is only valid within the Upland platform, since it is not a token hosted on the EOS blockchain.
It is by virtue of this clarification that the recent partnership with Tilia Pay, Second Life’s payment network, has taken on great relevance, allowing its users to exchange their UPX or directly sell their properties for dollars that can be withdrawn via PayPal. This connection with fiat money coupled with its dazzling roadmap may be the combination that takes Upland to the next level of adoption.
Before moving on to analyze the game itself, I will give a brief overview of the blockchain on which it is hosted, EOS.
This game is hosted on a blockchain with features that, beyond being multi-purpose, are special for game development.
Launched in 2017, it is a blockchain that was born with the objective of hosting Smart Contracts that allow the development of different types of applications, but with the ultimate goal of eliminating transaction costs. Its consensus method in Proof of Stake and its blocks are created in a matter of 500 milliseconds, which places it among the fastest blockchains of the moment.
The initial distribution of its token, also known as EOS, was made on the Ethereum network, using the ERC-20 standard, which allowed its “early adopters” to prepare to start “staking” their EOS and participate in the security of the network, while reaping its benefits.
After this brief introduction, it is evident that since there are no transaction fees and with such a high transaction speed, EOS is a fantastic blockchain for the development of this type of games.
Now it is time to get into the game. As I have been anticipating, we are facing a game that belongs to one of the most booming categories nowadays, the “play to earn” games.
Initially, the platform allowed the purchase and sale of properties and the generation of collections of properties that allowed the generation of rewards in the form of UPX. In this way, through the accumulation of UPX, the user’s expansion through the various cities continued.
But, to understand it better, let’s go by parts.
The game is easy to start. It is necessary to access its website from a browser or install the application from an Android or IOS cell phone and create an account. Automatically the game assigns a wallet to the new user, which is hosted on the EOS blockchain.
Warning! As the user does not have the private keys, this is a “non-custodial” wallet. This way of creating it is due to the goal of simplifying the user experience, it is foreseen in the future that players will be able to use their own “custodial” wallets, created by themselves in control of the private phrase, to accommodate the request of advanced users.
Once you have completed these simple steps, you will be able to start viewing the world map and move around the different enabled cities. Now the user has two options:
Once the first purchase has been made, the simple user becomes an “uplander” who can apply for his visa, a kind of documentation provided by the game, and have his wallet for good.
The initial objective of the game is focused on buying properties, forming collections of them that are exclusive. It is obvious that the sale of them will be able to generate profits in UPX, but these can also be obtained by:
We reach a key point in the game where we find one of the most important improvements that Upland has seen this year. At the beginning, the only way to acquire properties or land was through direct purchase, either when they did not have an owner or from a player who had previously acquired it.
Nowadays, especially with the release of a new city, auctions are organized in which both properties and historical points of the different cities that are part of the game can be acquired.
Just to get a sense of what has been generated in recent times, the day the City of Chicago landed on the Upland map, through various auctions, a record 11 properties/NFTs were “minted” or created per second, while the number of transactions reached 60 per second.
Upland opened with only the cities of New York and San Francisco represented on its map, but today we can find the following cities:
According to official announcements, the cities of Tennessee and Nashville will be the next to be represented on the game’s vast map. In the meantime, developments to include new countries are ongoing.
Although the platform has been operating since 2019, 2021 was undoubtedly the year of takeoff for Upland, with a great growth in terms of number of active users and transactions within the application.
But the team is far from taking a break and are planning some of the following improvements or upgrades to continue on the upward path in terms of overall numbers.
The developers are working on smart contracts that will provide a portal intended for the sale and purchase of NFTs, beyond the current property sales and purchases.
As a first project, the possibility of a collection of cards related to the metaverse of Upland resonates.
While the sale began, through auctions, the team plans to allow users to build their own iconic sites within each city from scratch.
The representation of each part of these sites will, of course, be by NFT and each player will be able to use their UPX to build these landmarks.
In addition to these projects, the creation of stores in which decorative items can be sold to distinguish game properties with unique characteristics is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited new developments for uplanders.
These are NFTs that will represent cars in 3 dimensions, which will not only serve as ornaments, but will allow players to travel through and to other cities, in the same way they can do it today via train or buses. This enhancement is expected to give a certain “status” to those who are able to move exclusively through the Upland canvas.
At the request of the independent developers who enjoy the game, the corresponding APIs are being created so that anyone with the necessary knowledge can easily develop their own NFTs that are part of the game.
Although it is one of the most important parts, not everything is programming development in the blockchain world. It is in this sense that the commercial team is working hard to promote Upland and it is estimated that by the end of this year there will be a remarkable growth in this sector.
Among the most important announcements is the alliance with a world-renowned bank, whose name has not yet been disclosed. Expectations are high.
The level of adoption of the game, coupled with the voracious appetite of its creators to continue improving and expanding the possibilities within Upland, augurs well for an interesting future.
Blockchain-based games, with play to earn features, which stand out for being fun and at the same time simple to use, are just taking their first, and by no means small, steps. The future is glimpsed on metaverses, which is why this game is well on its way to what is to come.