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PlayTable uses blockchain to connect video games and physical objects


I’ll be honest: When I first got the pitch for “the first blockchain-based video game console,” I assumed it must be some kind of gimmick.

But Jimmy Chen, co-founder and CEO of Blok.Party, said the Ethereum blockchain is “a critical part of this experience,” allowing his team to create “this seamless bridge between the digital and physical worlds.”

Today, Blok.Party is unveiling its PlayTable console, which combines elements of tabletop and console gaming.

This isn’t the first time someone’s tried to incorporate real-world objects into video games — for example, there was Disney Infinity, which shut down a couple of years ago. But by using blockchain technology, Chen said he can avoid many of the pitfalls that tripped up previous efforts.

For one thing, instead of manufacturing new toys and pieces for every game, PlayTable uses RFID tags, which can be attached to existing objects. So players can use the tags to incorporate their own toys and cards into the games.

“We’ve been trying to make toys smart for a very, very long time, but all we’ve been doing is stuffing resistors and transistors inside of them, making them incresingly more inaccessible,” Chen said. Blok.Party, in contrast, is “creating a data set that is inexpensive, that can easily attach to the physical object.”

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