The Near Foundation has announced a flagship partnership with the successful South Korean games developer, WEMADE. The primary objective is to push forward blockchain adoption in gaming and to onboard users, which with the subsidiary WEMIX included, is certainly possible.
WEMADE is South Korean gaming royalty, most famous for the MIR series of MMORPGs, of which the most recent addition is MIR4. Thought WEMADE has been an interesting name in Web3 to those who are watching closely. Around a year ago, it was announced that WEMADE was taking on the troubled MMORPG, Bless Unleashed, and adding it to the roster of their blockchain gaming platform, WEMIX.
I was a big fan of Bless, and although it didn’t succeed in the Western market, it is said to have done well in Asia. Here is where I believe WEMADE is a force to be reckoned with: they have a strong sense of what the Asian market wants and have specialized in that demographic. When we interviewed the ex-Head of Activision Blizzard APAC, Mark Aubrey, he alluded to that too.
Near Protocol on the other hand is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain and ecosystem with a particular focus on dApps and gaming. The Near Protocol is a little light on quality games, but they do have an old favorite of ours: Hash Rush. Furthermore, their interest in Web2.5 as the gateway to Web3 feels astute.
With this in mind, it makes sense for Near to partner with another entity than has a richer roster of games, such as WEMADE and their platform WEMIX. We have seen one of the biggest — if not the biggest — partnerships in Web3 gaming this month in the form of Polygon and Immutable, so it might be that now, other ecosystems have to combine to compete.
WEMADE and Near share a similar vision of enabling and accelerating the mainstream adoption of blockchain to create a future of nearly limitless potential use cases and benefits for all of us across many different areas of our daily lives […] In order to achieve that vision, we must make it easier, faster, and more cost-effective for developers to onboard off-chain apps, organizations, and startups, and are confident that Near is ideally positioned to do so.
— Shane Kim, CEO of WEMIX and Vice President of WEMADE
The announcement of this unison does feel significant, particularly for the Asian gaming market. Asia is one of the largest and most important audiences of gamers on the planet, with often a taste that differs slightly from other regions. Any organization or organizations that can cater to it long-term will be in a strong position as gaming undergoes its latest major evolution.