“The leading P2E game on Ethereum” is how PokeWorld describes itself on the splash screen of their homepage. That might be the quickest red flag I have ever seen, but it’s not at all lonely — it’s surrounded by red-flag friends. The biggest question mark, which has now been confirmed as a gargantuan red flag, is how this blockchain game secured the coveted Pokémon license. Well, it seems it didn’t.
It is approaching the 5-year anniversary of my writing about blockchain gaming, and this might be the most bizarre “game” to date. PokeWorld is a “metauniverse P2E game” where you battle Pokémon among other things. The game is developed by PokeWorld Pty Ltd (also known as Kotiota Studios) and is said to be in conjunction with The Pokémon Company, which is the official Pokémon organization and the very company now suing PokeWorld.
The filed case in Australia against Kotiota makes for some interesting, albeit largely dull reading. In essence, The Pokémon Company has nothing to do with PokeWorld and wants it taken down. However, and this is another of many red flags, no one can seemingly get in contact with anyone behind PokeWorld or at Kotiota Studios. In fact, as the case states: “the company which provides serviced office and co-working spaces at that address has no record of ‘Kotiota’.”
I have seen a fair few ambitious rug pulls in the past 3 years in particular, but this even surprised me. A decent amount of work has gone into this scam and had allegedly hooked some of the Web3 community desperate to see Pokémon’s entry into the space, but I can’t quite work out the strategy.
From what I can tell, no NFT sales or token sales were held (despite the roadmap suggesting it would start in November 2022) and thus Kotiota could pull the rug and I’m not sure a single person would so much as stumble. For a payoff, this ploy would have had to have run for at least 6 months or more, which brings me to my next point.
The sheer audacity of the creators of PokeWorld is baffling. How did they think that they could create a fake (or real) NFT project using one of the most famous gaming IPs in history without having an army of lawyers steamroll them?
As it stands, the PokeWorld site is still live, though the Twitter account has been suspended. Those waiting to open Pokémon NFT card packs will have to wait a little longer.