Kako Games and XL Games are partnering with the BORA platform to operate Play-to-Earn games. The duo would prepare a new game, ArcheWorld, integrating NFT and whose release is planned for the coming months.
Especially in South Korea, online game operators are showing a growing interest in blockchain technologies, NFTs and play-to-earn game mechanics – all of which are connected to the “Web3” (which is being touted as the metaverse web of the future) that should allow players to monetize their in-game activities.
This morning in South Korea, the BORA platform presented its version 2.0. The platform’s mission is to “connect the blockchain to our lives” by linking digital content creators and users. According to the South Korean press, this version 2.0 is looking towards the metaverse and should integrate virtual workspaces, online stores, but also entertainment spaces (online games) and the group announced a series of partnerships with some of the main South Korean MMORPG developers – including WeMade, Neowiz or Lionheart (the developer of Odin: Valhalla Rising).
A game based on NFT
Also in the mix were Kakao Games and XL Games, and the duo obviously took the opportunity to announce the development of a new project, ArcheWorld, intended to integrate NFTs and Play-to-Earn game mechanics. The developer is still not very forthcoming about the actual nature of the project, which remains unclear, but the Korean press reports that it would be an MMORPG (apparently distributed on mobile) whose launch is scheduled for the next few months – in principle during the second quarter of 2022, but the duo already anticipates a risk of delay in deployment, which may be pushed back to July.
Concretely, this ArcheWorld would immerse players in the universe of the ArcheAge license, but the game would rely on an economy based on NFTs: the lands of the game world would be purchased with crypto-currencies and players would have certificates of ownership in the form of NFTs (thus allowing the lands to be resold for crypto-currencies depending on supply and demand). Eventually, the project could be developed so that players could also claim ownership of “everything they create,” including in-game items, but also “quests, dungeons, even maps.”
According to Kwanho Martin Choi, CEO of XL Games, online gaming has long been based on an “access and use economy”: players buy a copy of the game or pay a subscription fee to access the servers and use the game with its content. The model could evolve to become a “creator economy”: creators would create content for users and these creators would have a form of ownership on their creations to monetize them.
According to internal sources reported by the South Korean press, this Play-to-Earn project would have been considered for ArcheAge, before XL Games and Kakao Games gave it up – notably under the impulse of Jake Song, the founder of XL Games, who thought that more time was needed before significantly modifying the economy of a ten-year-old game.
However, some of these concepts could be integrated into ArcheAge 2, currently in development, to make it a “metavers”. If the studio’s final choices don’t seem to be decided yet, the MMORPG could not be just a game, but become a larger virtual space whose content could be monetized. We imagine that the studio will make its decision according to the evolution of the NFT market in the months and years to come – at this stage, incentives to speculate in games are still forbidden in Korea and Western players still seem to be little receptive to these mechanics.
All in all, news about video games with NFT attached to them causes both righteous anger and genuine interest among gamers. Under public pressure, the creators of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. And the proceeds of Ubisoft’s online store with skins with the new-fangled technology are estimated in three-digit sums.
In his upcoming game Legacy, Peter Molyneux has tied crypto-tokens to various plots of land, and it worked – as of December 16, the as-yet-unreleased project has already earned $53 million. The game designer himself intends to create a full-fledged business simulator with elements of an MMO based on blockchain technology.
In conclusion, the answer to the question “how to distinguish innovation from unhealthy hype?” is much harder than it seems, and only time will tell the final verdict. Fortunately, there will be plenty of time: NFT is already here, and it will be with us for a long time.