In our previous article on Upland, we focused on the gameplay and the different interactions that were possible in the game. Following the Martini update that took place a month ago and the more recent partnership with Linden Labs and Tilia, among fiat withdraws coming soon, many features have been added to the game and many more are still planned on the roadmap, including opening select European geographies like London, Berlin and Paris among other cities during 2021!.
As we scoured the map of San Francisco, we wondered what it felt like to be in the shoes of an Uplander. What would be the most profitable investment? How long to wait before getting your return on investment? We chose several properties randomly in four neighborhoods to calculate the time it would take based on its initial investment.
This update was eagerly awaited and its implementation is gradual.
The first important feature is the ability to access Upland from your web browser. The game, which was initially only accessible via mobile, has become much more accessible and pleasant to navigate. In addition, this change was essential for certain functionalities described below.
One of the biggest updates is the opening of two airports in the game, bringing an entirely new dimension. San Francisco and NYC airports have opened to prepare for internal travel. Soon, you will be able to begin buying properties in New York! Another interesting announcement: the island of Alcatraz has opened and welcomes players who decide to cheat in the game. For the moment, the prison is empty but, you have been warned. Cheating is not tolerated in this virtual economy!
Another notable improvement is in the UX.
New buttons have appeared and allow you to access different information in the game much more easily than before.
Challenges and Treasures allow you to keep abreast of current events and know who are the best players of the moment.
The Leader button lets you know the daily ranking of players who have achieved a feat for the first time. Whales will therefore, only appear a few times before giving way to others who will succeed in rising to the top and receiving notoriety for their efforts.
The Challenges button tells you which event there is in progress such as a treasure hunt for example.
The Treasure button provides more useful information and a very practical function! The Information is an explanation of how treasure hunting works. Until now, it was a little complicated to find your way around on reload times, where and how to find treasures. Now, all this information is available in two clicks!
The “Practice” function allows you to understand the gameplay that takes place if you come to find a treasure! Given the scarcity of treasures, this can save you from being caught off guard. In a very simple way, a piñata will appear in a different form depending on its level of rarity and you will have to tap it as many times as possible within a defined time interval to obtain a certain amount of UPX tokens. Training will cost you a small amount of UPX!
One of the first questions that arises when we start playing Upland is the return on investment.
Many means are in place in the game to pay (6 different cryptocurrencies, Paypal or Credit card) but for the moment, none to withdraw money or exchange UPX for another cryptocurrency. To overcome this problem, Upland recently partnered with Tilia, the company behind Second Life’s payment ecosystem.
This provides several insights into how the main economics of the game will play out:
If you manage to resell your property for fiat, the money will land directly in your Tilia account which you can then send to your bank account. If, on the other hand, you prefer to accumulate UPX to be able to buy other lands, it can be interesting to know how long you will wait before obtaining a ROI.
To evaluate the returns of different properties we selected 2 lots in 4 neighborhoods in San Francisco to have an average price at the time of writing. On the first table, we have established the monthly income that these properties will bring you based on your active collection bonus. On the second, the number of months needed before you can make a profit.
The highlight that appears in the second table is the duration which hardly varies according to the location. At best, according to the properties we analyzed it will therefore take a little less than two years before your purchase is refunded.
The only way to activate boosts is to complete collections. For example, in order to boost your income by 3, you will need to have three museums in San Francisco. One of the available museums (Exploratorium) costs 4,306,500 UPX and will earn you a minimum of 62,013 UPX per month – a 70-month return by itself.
A note from the founders of Upland: Properties generate currently about 17% yearly earnings according to Upland’s white paper. This is an interest which is paid out of the Upland “community pool” and can be collected in parts every 3 hours. In real life it is hard to find comparable returns.
However, the most fundamental element of the game, the one thing that truly connects all players today is trading of properties. Current players don’t make UPX in Upland by just waiting for returns. They make UPX by flipping properties: understanding the supply/demand of the in-game market, the neighborhoods, the value of strategic locations, buying low and selling high, cutting deals with other players to complete collections. That is what drives the current excitement and loyalty to the game.
Also, in general, Upland’s approach should be much more compared with a real world market economy with a long term view where the direct interest return of a parcel is only one component in determining its value. Property development, a neighborhood, possibility to run a successful business, and much more will influence a property’s value and should be taken into the overall consideration (see also our last paragraph).
Upland’s strategy is based on three pillars which can have overlapping components:
Tilia’s opening to the world is great news for the general NFT community! From the start, Upland has been working to open up the game to the widest possible audience, and this partnership is a big part of the team’s strategy – allowing players to withdraw their earnings, compliant with local regulation.
With the next updates announced, the map will continue to grow in the second half of 2020 and 2021. This will open up the possibility of traveling by plane, meeting as a team or even using its buildings for trade.
Please note that the initial investment strategy is crucial before you start prospecting: do you prefer to invest for the long term or speculate on short term gains?