CARY – There’s a new gaming startup in town that is hoping to rival the likes of Epic Games one day.

Meet Kronoverse, a Cary-based startup that is developing a platform by the same name and a new 3D role-playing game called CryptoFights.

But this isn’t your typical cloud-based server game. Kronoverse is using blockchain technology (a shared ledger) to create a new kind of game where players can buy, sell and trade in an actual marketplace — and make real cash.

Its creator, Adam Kling, believes his firm is on the cusp of something big in gaming.

“This is the future of esports,”  he told WRAL TechWire. “Every match that you play can be fully audited for high-stakes gaming within the esports industry.”

Kronoverse CEO and founder Adam Kling

Ultimately, Kling says he’s working towards building a gaming platform not entirely dissimilar to the one depicted in Steven Spielberg’s smash-hit book-to-film adaptation, ‘Ready Player One.” In this space, multiple games co-exist and become pieces in a larger metaverse.

“The gaming metaverse is the holy grail for video gamers. It’s about thinking about games in a new way. They are all interconnected.”

To date, the firm has raised $1 million and recently added high-profile interactive entrepreneur Ron Chaimowitz to its board.

It’s also getting ready to roll out a closed beta testing phase of the game next month.

“This testing period will be finding bugs, testing out everything, getting feedback,” Kling says. “We are targeting the first half of 2020 for full launch to the public in 41 states.”

How it works

For those not in the know, blockchain is is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Applied to the gaming, it allows for a player’s actions to be permanently recorded and stored on a decentralized gaming platform.

The uptick: everything is transparent.

That’s different to traditional cloud server-based games, like Fortnite, where you just have to trust that the outcome is truthful and accurate, says Kling.

“Imagine playing a high-stakes esports tournament for millions of dollars, and entrusting some obscure server to decide your score. Not anymore with the Kronoverse platform and CryptoFights,” he says.

However, it also raises the stakes.

In CryptoFights, players play in real time for cash in a role-playing one-versus-one strategy game.

Using the Kronoverse platform, players deposit money with credit card or cryptocurrency to fund their account, and enter cash tournaments versus another player.

“All combat and accounting take place on the blockchain for transparency,” says Kling. “If you win, you are instantly credited the prize amount into your account.

“In the future. we will have elimination tournaments where the cash prize will be much larger. The sky is the limit.”

The future of esports?

Still, many gaming experts are skeptical.

“Right now, it’s new and unstable. They kind of don’t know where it’s going to go because it’s all based on market value,” says Cherme Lucero, associate dean at Wake Technical Community College’s Computer Technologies Division.

“You’ve got big studios like Epic Games and Ubisoft, and they are only now starting to dabble into that technology.”

To date, Epic Games says it does not employ blockchain in its games.

When asked if it was exploring this technology for future use, manager Dana Cowley replied: “Nothing here to report.”

However, Keith Babuszczak, dean at Wake Technical Community College’s Computer Technologies Division, says he supports Kling’s efforts.

“It definitely again makes sense for the local smaller game development companies to be at the front line. They’re going to try this out; they’re going to take a risk, and one of them is going to get this right and be very successful.”

Cary startup Kronoverse lands backing for its blockchain gaming platform