Nexon heads into NFTs with MapleStory Universe and Polygon deal
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Nexon announced that its MapleStory Universe virtual world ecosystem will enable players and creators to develop and manage non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And it is working with the Polygon blockchain protocol to make that happen.
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.
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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.
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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.
MapleStory N will not include a cash shop. Players will acquire items through gameplay, such as completing quests and defeating monsters. Each region within the game has a limited number of NFT rewards, which enhances value and increases the fun of ownership. Nexon intends its already beloved franchise to deliver fun that most other blockchain games have not yet done so.
Nexon is South Korea’s largest gaming developer and publisher, and so the deal with Polygon is a big deal in the fledgling Web3 gaming space.
Polygon will power the blockchain ecosystem for one of the world’s most popular multiplayer games, MapleStory Universe, leveraging the Polygon Supernets’ technology to expand its thriving in-game economy.
Polygon Labs, the development and growth team for the Polygon protocol, will provide both technological and business support for the game. The announcement was made today by Production Director for Nexon’s MapleStory Universe project head Sun-young Hwang.
MapleStory debuted in South Korea in 2003 and has since been released in several other countries around the world. In the game, players create their own characters and embark on quests, battle monsters, and interact with other players in a virtual world. The game features 2D side-scrolling graphics and a variety of different classes to choose from, each with its own unique skills and abilities. MapleStory Universe is a blockchain Virtual World ecosystem based on the MapleStory IP.
MapleStory has been out 20 years and it has a massive, massive fan base, said Urvit Goel, vice president of global games and platform development at Polygon Labs, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“This is one of the largest gaming companies globally,” he said. “This technology is real. And what it offers players is real.”
Based on the mega-hit MapleStory IP, Nexon will showcase various blockchain projects targeting the global market such as MapleStory N and aim to build the next generation of Virtual Worlds through the NFT-based ecosystem MapleStory Universe
Nexon will leverage Polygon Supernets to propel the game’s thriving in-game economy to the next level. Currently, players buy and sell items with one another using the game’s currency. Players will acquire NFTs through gameplay (i.e. hunting monsters, completing quests, etc) to unlock multiple benefits and utilities in various games and applications in the ecosystem.
“We are looking forward to expanding the NFT ecosystem envisioned by MapleStory Universe by building on Polygon, the top protocol for Web3 gaming. It is the perfect choice to power the ecosystem,” said MapleStory Universe group leader Sun-young Hwang, in a statement. “We will work closely with the team at Polygon Labs to develop and market the game.”
Polygon Supernets is the most advanced App-chain solution for gaming industry leaders to scale on Web3 through dedicated blockchains. Polygon Supernets offers high-performing, customizable app-chains with low-to-no transaction costs and access to best-in-class premium tooling and implementation services to empower any gaming or metaverse use cases.
“Nexon selecting Polygon Supernets to power its worldwide hit MapleStory Universe, sends a strong message to the entire gaming industry about the future of blockchain gaming,” said Ryan Wyatt, President of Polygon Labs, in a statement. “Korea is a critical market in bringing web3 gaming to the masses, and Polygon Labs is committed to offering multiple solutions to bring their visions to market.”
Polygon Labs, a development and growth team for the decentralized Polygon protocol, in less than two years has built one of the world’s largest ecosystems for Web3 gaming dApps, working with studios and publishers like Square Enix, Neowiz, Midnight Society, Jam City, and Tilting Point, as well as e-sports teams and streamers like Cloud9 and Dr Disrespect.
The network has accrued mass recognition and usage thanks, in part, to its close ties to Ethereum. The Ethereum network has long been the go-to ecosystem for builders seeking high liquidity, robust security and a broad user base. This narrative has been a key driver in the exodus of projects from other blockchains to Polygon such as the recent Magic Eden integration and migration of hugely popular DeGods and y00ts. Polygon Labs’ dedication to improving Ethereum is exemplified by their $1 billion warchest.
Polygon believes it has the infrastructure to scale up the number of users to millions and to scale up the transactions as well, Goel said.
Goel said there is a kind of chicken-and-egg problem, where skeptics want to see more players and more fun blockchain games before diving in. But it’s hard to get developers to invest more in big games without a big audience. He hopes deals like the Nexon one will break that cycle.
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