Web3 is a buzzword that has dominated the cryptocurrency and NFT space for about a year, presenting the idea of a decentralized internet. It is important to note that Web3 is not the same as “Web 3.0” or the “Semantic Web” envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee. Now, it looks like a new company looking to cash in on the Web3 hype is building a console specific to that industry’s gaming needs.
Polium One is an upcoming console developed by Polium and marketed as the world’s first “Multi-Channel Console for Web 3 Games”. Apparently, players will be able to play titles on ImmutableX, Solana, Ethereum, Polygon, BNB, EOS, Wax, and Harmony. Here’s how Polium presented it in a Medium article:
The console will be powerful enough to run high performance games and will be easy to use for a traditional gamer who doesn’t understand Web 3. Not only will this solve a problem, but it will also drive massive adoption in the Web 3 space.
[…] We want to build a console where winning and losing matter so we came up with the idea of combining all compatible games into 1 leaderboard. Players will move up the leaderboard by winning, earning trophies, and voting on proposals. The more you earn, the more you earn. Not only will this make the game more competitive and fun, but it will also keep users engaged with the console.
[…] The size of the Web 3 Gaming market will continue to grow. We build for the future, not tomorrow. Polium wants to bridge the gap between Web 3 and traditional games. Building an affordable, easy-to-use console for Web 3 games is the first major step towards mainstream adoption.
There are, however, a few problems. As Kotaku details in a very direct article, the Polium One does not have a prototype at the moment and does not have any games planned for release. The company says it’s in talks with developers but has nothing to share at this time.
More interestingly, the Polium One’s specs were described as follows on its website: 4K Ultra HD, TouchID, 8K HDR, Ray Tracing, up to 120fps. Yes, it had both 4K and 8K gaming as separate specs. It even claimed to integrate Apple’s proprietary TouchID technology for secure crypto transactions, which obviously isn’t possible. That said, the website has now been updated to remove references to 8K gaming and TouchID, and now only talks about 4K UHD and a “Scanner”.
That’s not all, however. Polium’s own logo (you can see it on the controller and the box itself) is clearly inspired by Nintendo’s GameCube logo. After immediate criticism on the subject, the the company announced that it was working on a new graphic. Meanwhile, the controller itself promises a “Wallet” button, haptic feedback, touchpad, fingerprint scanner, and headphone jack.
Coming to the last piece of the puzzle, the development roadmap, this is where things get even more dodgy. The working prototype of the console does not yet exist but will be ready in the next “few months”. Interested people can provide development feedback after pre-ordering the console by hitting or purchasing a “Polium Pass” through “Play” tokens. Those who do will also receive a
useless jpeg NFT for their contribution and will be among the first 10,000 people to get the console in Q3 2024. Meanwhile, one million units will be available to the public by Q3 2025.
Needless to say, the idea received a lot of backlash on the company’s Twitter account the general consensus being that this is an elaborate rug draw. There have also been doubts about developing an “affordable” console that offers high-end specs for some fairly basic Web3 games. Coupled with the hobbyist mistakes (TouchID, 8K) made in the product explanation as well as the fact that the Polium One is nothing more than a render right now but you’re still being asked to pay for this, it seems to be a mat pulling exercise. We will probably find out within the next two years.