Monday, March 27, 2023

Noting Nexon's Interest In NFTs And Other Web3 Tech

What is it about East Asian gaming companies and Web3/blockchain technology? The outgoing CEO of Tokoyo-based Square Enix has made integrating Web3 tech into games a main priority for the last two years. A new EVE Universe game based on Web3 tech was announced by South Korean-owned game studio CCP Games on Tuesday. Another East Asian company, Nexon, announced its increasing involvement in the Web3 game space last week.

Nexon calls itself a South Korean-Japanese company. Founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1994, the company moved its headquarters to Toyoko in 2005. With ties to both countries, perhaps the company's interest in Web3 technology is unexpected.

The first piece of Web3 news last week involved the $40 million investment into CCP Games new effort, Project Awakening. While I concentrated on the role of the lead venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, one of the other main investors was Nexon. However, unlike what I've read at VentureBeat, I do not believe the main Web3/blockchain tech will involve non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

I don't blame the author of the VB article, though, because the other piece of Nexon news did involve NFTs. Nexon announced at the company is working on a new version of Maple Story. Named Maple Story N, all the items in the game will be NFTs.

In a session today at the Game Developers Conference, the company said the NFTs will have both tangible and intangible values. It’s another example of how South Korean game companies are all-in on NFTs, which can be used to establish player ownership and resale of assets. The South Koreans are in even though many hardcore gamers in the West have resisted NFTs.

MapleStory is a massively multiplayer game with more than 180 million registered players, as well as a strong presence on social media and community forums. But the MapleStory Universe includes the makers of third-party games and user-generated content as well.

Starting with MapleStory N, new content and characters based on MapleStory IP and tracked with decentralized applications (DApps) will be developed by content creators and introduced to the MapleStory Universe.

Since all items in Maplestory N are NFTs, players will have digital ownership of the items they acquire. The use of DApps allows NFT’s to be recognized and valued in the MapleStory Universe beyond MapleStory N.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the game is the lack of a cash shop. Players will acquire NFTs through gameplay. Is the lack of a cash shop enough to warrant player interest in the ecosystem of games Nexon plans to launch? Who knows? But the effort is something else to look at.

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