The Revolution Is Coming!
The world of gaming as we know it, is about to change! Nothing I’ve ever written or read about comes close to what Upland is planning to do. This game is funded by Finlab, an EOS VC Fund, and several angel investors. At first encounter you might think Upland is a game similar to Decentraland or even Prospectors but upon further reading you’ll quickly realize Upland is on a world of its own, literally! The name ‘Upland’ was inspired by an alternate dimension existing in parallel with the human world in the Netflix series Stranger Things. And as such Upland is a blockchain world that mirrors our real world quite sensationally than you expect. More on that striking resemblance later on.
The advancement of technology has resulted in some pretty interesting re-makes of some of our favorite titles. Due to better technology and special effects these titles have been reinvigorated some have even been re-imagined, think of the new Blade Runner, Jumanji or The Jungle Book. Taking the same approach, Upland is utilizing the full capabilities of blockchain and demonstrates on the highest level just how this technology can revolutionize gaming. Imagine Monopoly brought to life then immediately meshed onto a blockchain.
Finally, players will get to truly own their assets, “in an open and real-life economy where players are free to trade and liquidate their assets, and also the first game of its type where the operator has no access to the player’s digital assets!”. In economy driven games like Monopoly and Upland, having true ownership of your assets is a big deal!
Upland is a game played on top of the real world. Each address/location in the game resembles an actual address/location in the real world. Initially players will purchase properties that mirror real-life addresses from the entire world. Even parts of the real world that are farmlands, parks, rivers or oceans etc. will be represented on Upland. So you can imagine how this would affect strategy as each property will vary in value based on where it is located. To start, the properties will have a value that pairs similar to that of its counterparts in the real world, but as people develop their own properties that pairing will shift in value. So Upland may start out as a replica of the real world but as the game progresses it will look completely different and become a world of its own.
For such a mass scale world to be filled with players and properties will require mass adoption. Until that point is reached Upland operators will tackle this position in two stages. Firstly, the operators “will proactively release new cities” as the game progresses. The main aim for this approach is to ensure that the stability of the economy and the right balance of supply and demand are maintained. Secondly, operators “will introduce expansion mechanics that will ensure that new places can automatically be opened, but only when there is local liquidity and demand” from players. This feature will help further decentralize Upland.
As we all probably know by now, blockchain can be tricky for new users to understand which makes the rate of adoption slower than it really should. Upland does a brilliant job at tackling this problem by how it handles a new user’s account. When starting out new players are given free EOS accounts tied to the game, with resources covered on their behalf. You can read that sentence again! For a new user, they would be playing the game without even realizing that they’re on a blockchain. Those little nuances like signing blockchain transactions are handled automatically by the game operators to offer a smooth playing experience across the board. Unlike dApps where players are bombarded with commands they aren’t familiar with. This gives new users enough time to familiarize themselves with the game before gaining control of their own EOS accounts to manage. This allows players to learn about blockchain at a pace they’re most comfortable with until they feel the need to manage their own accounts – resources still remain covered for by Upland regardless.
To summarize, Upland is similar to Monopoly but it resembles the real world, and everyone is playing with one goal in mind – to truly own their assets. Property can be bought, further developed, then maintained or sold later on at the player’s discretion. The strategy depends on what the player hopes to gain from the game. It could be played purely for entertainment (as intended) e.g. purchasing/developing your own theme park or it could be played using capitalistic strategies.
New players start out as ‘Visitors’ and will need to accumulate a net worth (property value and/or UPX balance) of 10 000 UPX to graduate to ‘Uplander’ status. As a ‘Visitor’ you have to renew your visa (account) every 7 days signaling your intentions for further participation. Visitors that fail to renew their visas after 7 days will have their accounts revoked, reset then recycled to be used by new visitors. This means any assets or balances their account might have held are destroyed. Once they reach Uplander status, users finally get ahold of their own EOS accounts with private keys that can only be accessed by them. These private keys could then be imported into external wallets like Scatter if they wish to. Meaning as an Uplander you can finally say “you completely own all your assets” since you control your private keys.
Players purchase properties which they can resell later if they want. For each property you own, you receive a yearly income of 17.3% of the property’s initial total value which can be collected in parts every 3 hours. Your earnings can be multiplied by owning a collection of properties e.g. by owning multiple properties on a single street, neighborhood or city. Based on your in-game investment strategy your yearly earnings can be multiplied up to 3x, again collected every 3 hours so you always have funds to dabble with. This income can then be reinvested into your strategy.
The game’s economy is fueled by the UPX utility token which acts as the currency for the Upland world. UPX doesn’t have value outside the game instead players will be able to trade NFT tokens tied to their property for fiat, and in the future trade them for crypto as well. UPX’s value is determined by market demand but it’s initial value is set at $1 for 1000 UPX tokens. However, this isn’t an investment vehicle nor should it be treated as such, UPX is only an in-game currency that serves a strategic purpose. There’s a current supply of 100 Billion UPX tokens which might seem large to some but reasonable when put in perspective of the large game map. This token supply powers everything from fees, to property sales, to income.
Upland has enjoyed a healthy five months of beta testing with great feedback from its community of testers. The game is currently in the last stages of its beta and new features are set to be announced very soon. Thankfully we were able to extract some information about some of the upcoming features.
As I mentioned the game is still in private beta with the public release set “to be announced very soon”. In the mean time I’d like to highlight some of the features the next release will have. I was told that these features are a step towards making this game, “a game that can appeal to a mass audience”. Here are some of those features:
Discovery – This is a new way for players to discover properties that haven’t been minted yet by making use of the Block Explorer tool. In other words, properties will no longer be sold on the market but players will have to actively discover them.
Block Explorer – A block explorer is similar to the Monopoly game piece that you use to move around the board. The explorer will algorithmically roam the city to discover properties that are for sale and uncover unminted properties. If a player wants to purchase a property they will have to send their block explorer to said location first before a purchase can be made.
Free-To-Play – With the public release new players (Visitors) will get the benefit of playing the game without having to invest. Players will receive a welcome sign-up bonus of 3 000 UPX which they can use to buy property in the game and start earning a UPX income.
I understand the importance of gaining early access into such games and the possible advantages that provides. So as a token of appreciation for being a EOSWriter reader we got you access into the private beta! Using the link (https://discover.upland.me/eoswriter) you’ll gain access to the game and get to familiarize yourself with the environment ahead of the public release.
Upland gives players tools and the infrastructure to create themselves a virtual world of their dreams. How one uses those tools solely depends on the player. This is a fun game that gives you the opportunity to do the things you want to do in real life, digitally! It’s a complete replica of the world you’re already familiar with and everything you buy is yours – to keep – forever! This has a great potential to be more than just a game. The whitepaper states that Upland plans to open the platform to 3rd party developers to provide additional experiences that will become part of the Upland universe.
Imagine experiencing the future of Virtual Reality in the Upland universe. Owning a luxurious property that you couldn’t own in the real world. Experiencing replicas of beautiful places like Dubai from the comfort of your home. Or perhaps pulling negotiations and trades of properties all across the world. And then taking a step back to look at the amazing world you’ve created. More than just a game!
I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing Idan Zuckerman, one of the three co-founders of Upland. He provided me with so many great insights that were vital in writing this article. He’s part of a highly experienced team that has years of acquired knowledge in the FinTech, gaming and digital media spaces. It was an honor to be able to peek inside his mind, seeing the vision of this project and just how far ahead of the curve they are. Simply put, it was mind-blowing!
Thank you for reading!
Disclaimer. EOSwriter does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you with all the important information we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.