Yuga Labs, MetaRPG, and Expanding Ambitions
Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club has been a major cultural icon in NFTs, especially among celebrities, reaching over $1 billion in market cap this year. This success has led the team to expand its ambition, such as through a game-based metaverse ambition called MetaRPG. As a step towards expanding the IP for MetaRPG, Yuga Labs recently acquired the property rights to two other major NFT collections, CryptoPunks and Meebits. These will be integrated into MetaRPG along with some other recently announced initiatives: ApeCoin and Land sales.
APECoin is planned to be a token currency for MetaRPG as well having use in a new P2E game collaboration with nWay (a company owned by Animoca Brands). nWay itself just recently delivered a game and NFT collaboration with the Olympics. In a move that may be related to any or all of the above (the rumor is a racing game), Yuga Labs recently launched a mysterious website with Animoca Brands that resulted in some backlash over its KYC requirements (likely used to avoid bot and sock puppet wallet accounts). On top of all this, Yuga Labs is planning virtual land sales in March and August for MetaRPG. There’s still a lot we don’t know about this project, but putting that strong collection of IP to work has the potential to make a large cultural impact (among crypto-natives at the very least).
F1 Delta Time Shuts Down After Losing License
Animoca Brands has built much of its reputation off of developing successful branded games, especially as it’s moved deeper into NFT gaming. This makes the news that it failed to renew its license for F1 Delta Time — one of the company’s few early licensed IP blockchain games — somewhat concerning. It’s not 100% clear why Formula 1 didn’t renew the license or how long Animoca Brands knew before it was announced. However, it does provide a case study for what can happen with NFT “ownership” when it relies on non-guaranteed renewable licenses.\
For context, F1 Delta Time has existed since 2019 (predating the recent NFT craze) and was part of Animoca Brands’ stable of REVV Motorsports games, which shares the REVV token. The game held milestones for NFT sales like the most valuable NFT sold in 2019 (at $113k) as well as the most valuable virtual car transaction in 2021 (for $265k).
It’s likely that part of why the license renewal failed was simply because user count has dramatically dwindled. According to DappRadar, the game’s daily unique active wallets (a proxy for users) has been below 100 since the summer. In comparison, REVV Racing generally hosts between 1-2k daily unique active wallets; it was also launched around when F1 Delta Time started showing minimal users, indicating it may have cannibalized the audience. There’s also the likelihood that Animoca Brands’ other licensed motorsport game, MotoGP Ignition, could suffer a similar fate since its user count is similar to F1 Delta Time’s.
Notably, Animoca Brands is offering multiple options for the redemption of users’ F1 assets utilizing its other motorsport games such as REVV Racing. In situations where a blockchain game shuts down it’s usually possible for the game developer to grant licenses to use the NFTs for fan-made projects (that’s the whole point of composability), but in a situation where Animoca Brands doesn’t own the license, it is unable to grant any kind of realistic NFT usage. For now, it seems that Animoca Brands is trying to make sure NFT owners can at least get something in return, but that may not mean much to players who were there for Formula 1.
- Mobile publisher Wildlife Studios is adding Avalanche-based NFTs and token rewards to its existing F2P mobile game, Castle Crush. Link
- Blankos Block Party updated its roadmap for 2022, adding a variety of new features and events. Link
- Immortal, a chess game with a P2E twist, is launching its alpha on March 17th to run tournaments for the next four weeks. Link
- Strategy game Reta Wars announced the details of its main game mechanics and a second NFT presale. Link
- Mouse Haunt, a PvP strategy game, revealed its hero NFTs and details of the PvE gameplay mode. Link
- Mobile F2P / P2E game Thetan Arena launched its Guild Accelerator program. Link
- StarkWare, developers of Ethereum ZK-Rollup technology, is in the process of raising $100 million at a $6 billion valuation. Impressively, the company is just 3 months past its $50 million Series C round when it claimed a $2 billion valuation. Link
- Angelic, a multiplayer strategy RPG, raised $10 million co-led by Animoca Brands and Pantera Capital. Link
- Mirror World, a Metaverse game platform, raised $4 million in seed funding led by Galaxy Interactive, Republic, and Alameda Research. Link
- Undead Blocks, a FPS P2E game, raised $1.7M in a seed round led by Animoca Brands.
- Metalcore, an open world P2E game, continues its fundraising with a $1 million investment via a partnership with Merit Circle. Link
- Crypto Unicorns, a pet-collecting farming game, raised $26 million in a token sale led by TCG and Backed VC. Link
- Rebel Bots, a P2E robot game, raised $2 million from Animoca Brands, Ubisoft, and Overwolf. Link
- Polygon Studios has been on a hiring spree of executives from existing well known companies like EA, Penske Media, Amazon, and Infinity Ward. Link
- CryptoBlades, a P2E fighting game, partnered with Enjin to launch a PolkaDot parachain called Efinity.
- IndiGG’s INDI token is now actively trading on markets like FTX (INDI/USDT) and is off to a decent start. Link
- Harmony Blockchain, the home of DeFi Kingdoms, has seen 26% growth over the past week. Link
- Former piracy tool LimeWire is attempting to make a comeback as an NFT Marketplace. Its first NFTs will be music oriented, but there’s potential for game NFTs if successful. Link
- Ancient8, a leading Vietnamese guild, formedd a strategic partnership with leading Turkey guild Troy.
- The Sandbox announced a new partnership with HSBC for both finance, sports partnerships, and a plot of land. Link
Notable Market Moves
- GMT, the token for Web3 lifestyle app STEPN, launched on Binance’s Launchpad on March 10th and managed to climb up to around 6x its initial listing price. The app is based on gamified outdoor walking, jogging, or running while in possession of sneaker NFTs that generate rewards. GMT is the governance token and unlike the utility token (GST), it has a fixed supply of 6 billion. There’s some speculative hype on social media about the token reaching $1, but it’s hard to tell if the project has legs yet. Its quick rise also managed to knock Ultra out of the top 10 list this week.
- Overall sentiment was fairly positive this week with most prices positive. WAX managed to overtake Render Token, which may be due to the gaining popularity of relative newer WAX game Dragons Valley (+25% Unique Active Wallets this week).
- Axie’s AXS token managed to grow 10% this week as it gets closer to the Origins alpha and as the Sky Mavis continues teasing the new cards/parts. All the tokens are still down over the past 90 days, and all but Enjin are up over the past year.
- As always, who knows what will happen over the next week, but all of the building going on points to clear long-term growth and inevitable churn in the top 10 list.
Content Worth Consuming
- Michael Sanders: Horizon Blockchain Games (The Metacast by Naavik): “In this Crypto Corner episode, Michael Sanders, Co-Founder and Chief Storyteller at Horizon Blockchain Games, joins your host Nico Vereecke to discuss #1 What Blockchain brings to Gaming, #2 The next generation of Blockchain Gaming wallets with Sequence, #3 Blockchain Trading Card Games with Skyweaver, #4 The future of gaming” Link
- Line Goes Up - What is the problem with NFTs anyways? (DoF Tokenomics): “It’s the 2.5-hour documentary railing on NFTs that everyone on your Twitter feed pretended to watch but merely skimmed. With over 6m views, Dan Olson’s Line Goes Up is a fantastic and wide-ranging video essay railing against NFTs, Web3, and all things crypto. The Tokenomics crew has watched the whole thing so you don’t have to, and in this episode we discuss Line Goes Up and where we agree and disagree with @FoldableHumans’s takedown of NFTs.” Link
- How Warren Spector got back to making his latest game (GamesBeat): “Here’s where I’m going to get in trouble. I’m literally going to have people giving me hell about what I’m about to say, but I really don’t think I care. NFTs are ridiculous. I do not understand why anybody would want to climb on that bandwagon. Ownership of virtual goods that can be instantly reproduced in unlimited quantities. Who thinks that’s a good idea? So NFTs, I have no interest.” Link
- NFT First or NFT Compatible? Key to P2E mass adoption (Om Tandon, LinkedIn): “Being NFT compatible (Thetan) has a significant advantage over being NFT first (Axie) as it diversifies the income stream (IAP + NFT) giving players the choice to explore both F2P and P2E aspects of the game further down the line. NFT Compatible: ‘Come for fun and stay for the money’ pitch is an easier upsell than NFT First: ‘Come for the money and stay for fun’” Link
- Esports and the Metaverse: The Case for NFTs in the Gaming World (Be In Crypto): “For Esports teams, NFTs, when done well, offer a long term, predictable revenue stream that helps bring much needed stability to the finances of organizations. For example, NFTs can be used to tokenize Esports merchandise as NFTs where holders get access to new drops of merchandise each year, no matter where they live. Thus expanding the global reach of Esports teams and creating additional revenue streams that matter long term.” Link
- Thread on NBA Top Shot economy issues (@Ballerz8012, Twitter): “Money already in the TS system is much more likely to be spent on TS than money outside of it. As a consequence, TS functions like an economy with its own money supply (MS). All else equal, if MS increases, prices increase. If MS decreases, prices decrease.” Link
- 12 areas gaming guilds could venture into (@chng_raymond, Twitter): “Game Sourcing: a strong guild will be able to identify emerging games for their community of players to get involved in. This could be a differentiating factor because spotting the right games early may be an advantage to guilds being able to acquire meta game assets early.” Link