[FOCUS] Game developer predicts paradigm shift with introduction of blockchain into game

By Lim Chang-won Posted : February 18, 2022, 16:21 Updated : February 18, 2022, 16:58

[Courtesy of WeMade]

SEOUL -- WeMade, an online game developer that created "The Legend of Mir," a free-to-play fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game based in an ancient oriental world, predicts a paradigm shift in the game industry with the introduction of blockchain, a decentralized service that shares replicated and synchronized data geographically spread across multiple servers operated by countries or organizations. 

"The Legend of Mir" uses WeMix, a global blockchain gaming platform, to promote blockchain-based play-to-earn (P2E) games. WeMade's blockchain-based P2E game, MIR4, is now available in 170 nations, not in South Korea due to regulations.  Through cooperation with game developers, WeMade aims to introduce 100 blockchain games that use WeMix tokens as key currency by the end of 2022. 

"Blockchain games are the beginning of well-made games, and when blockchain is attached, the game becomes more fun," WeMade CEO Henry Chang said in an online press conference on February 16. "The paradigm shift is taking place. It is a time of upheaval in which doubts and beliefs argue about which direction is right and wrong," he said, urging game developers to forget a preconceived notion that blockchain games are not so interesting. 

Chang presented an ecosystem, in which the inter-game virtuous cycle economy operates with a blockchain network-based non-fungible token (NFT), saying games are the core of metaverse. "Games are the core of metaverse," he said, adding games are closest to existing metaverse platforms, although the metaverse world is certain to broaden its range by absorbing virtual reality. 

NFT can represent a unique digital file such as art, audio, video, and an item in video games. It is authenticated using a blockchain platform and provides proof of ownership. In January 2022, WeMade partnered with RedFox Games, a U.S.-based software company that provides a game publishing service, to promote blockchain-based games, followed by a deal to invest in Syltare, a P2E trading card game that uses NFT cards,

P2E games are early-stage metaverse platforms that add innovative economic models that allow players to earn a steady income for playing. P2E games are usually powered by a blockchain, offering rewards and incentives to users based on their platform activity or related in-game achievements. As users earn cryptocurrency based on their gaming activities, they can exchange them for assets on exchanges. 

Actually, Wemade's blockchain games aim for "play and earn (P&R)" so that items or goods can be traded between users or third parties as NFT, Chang said, expressing his willingness to incorporate NFT and blockchain into social casino games. "I think social casinos will be a very important axis. If social casinos and cryptocurrencies are combined, the way social casinos work will also change." 

 "We are looking for ways to apply business models to social casinos and how to link game coins," Chang said. In December 2021, the game developer acquired SundayToz, a social and mobile game developer known for creating the Anipang series, to strengthen the lineup of casual games on the blockchain platform and expand the social casino genre. 

Krafton, the developer of popular online games such as "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," followed suit and joined forces with Naver Z, the operator of South Korea's popular metaverse platform ZEPETO, to push for new businesses in the era of Web 3.0, a new iteration of the blockchain-based World Wide Web that incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics.

Technologists have described Web 3.0 as a possible solution to concerns about the over-centralization of the web in a few big tech companies. Web3 could improve data security, scalability, and privacy beyond what is currently possible with Web 2.0 platforms that center on user-created content uploaded to social media and networking services, blogs, and wikis, among other services.
Krafton partnered with Naver Z on February 9 to promote, develop and operate new Web 3.0 businesses such as metaverse, blockchain-based games and NFTs as long-term strategic partners. Krafton aims to implement a high-quality user-generated open metaverse platform and activate a scalable Web 3.0 creator ecosystem through NFT. 

Krafton's move came a day after the game publishing wing of South Korea's web service giant Kakao disclosed a new strategy to push for metaverse and NFT businesses spanning decentralized exchanges and decentralized finance (DeFi), which smart contracts on blockchains without relying on central financial intermediaries.

DeFi platforms allow people to lend or borrow funds from others, speculate on price movements on a range of assets using derivatives, trade cryptocurrencies, insure against risks, and earn interest in savings-like accounts. Transactions are directly between participants, mediated by smart contract programs using open-source software that can be easily copied to set up competing platforms.
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