KRAFTON, owner of the popular Bluehole Studios, is famous for creating one of the pioneering titles for the beloved battle royale genre PUBG: Battlegrounds. However, they have also developed and/or published other games with cult followings, such as TERA, Subnautica, and Natural Selection 2. Now, KRAFTON has done as many other sizable entities in the space have before them: made moves for the metaverse.
KRAFTON has made two key plays with regard to blockchain. The first is partnering with NAVIER Z (why are all these companies shouting their name?) “to build an NFT metaverse platform.” The second is making equity investments in Seoul Auction Blue and XBYBLUE which requires a little unpacking.
KRAFTON and NAVER Z: The NFT Metaverse Platform
The most headline-grabbing move is certainly the partnership with NAVER Z to build an NFT metaverse platform. It is described as a new Web3 and NFT project and for those of us in the West who might not be aware, NAVER Z is a subsidiary of NAVER who runs ZEPETO, Asia’s largest metaverse platform with over 290 million users.
The KRAFTON metaverse will be using the Unreal Engine (which one isn’t stated) and creation tools for users will be developed.
“This partnership between KRAFTON and NAVER Z is bolstered by each company’s unique expertise and shared global focused as they look toward a future driven by NFTs and metaverses … By combining KRAFTON’s existing technologies and research on how to build scalable Web 3.0 creator-driven ecosystems with NAVER Z and ZEPETO’s experience and capabilities, we’re confident we can build a high-quality UGC-driven open metaverse that stands apart from other services and vitalizes the global creator economy through NFT technologies.” — HyungChul Park, Lead of Web3 Team, KRAFTON
KRAFTON, Seoul Auction Blue, and XBYBLUE: NFT Projects
KRAFTON’s equity investments aren’t pertinent at first glance, but in actuality, it’s part of a two-pronged attack on Web3. The $2.5m and $4.1m USD investments in Seoul Auction Blue and XBYBLUE respectively come with an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to “develop non-fungible token (NFT) oriented projects.”
Seoul Auction Blue is part of Seoul Auction, Korea’s largest art auctioneer. XBYBLUE is then part of Seoul Auction Blue and is working on a service to secure and curate IPs for digital content and digital art.
The complete move is simultaneously complicated and straightforward. It is complicated insofar as there are a large number of companies, subsidiaries, and services in play here, but it’s simple in that all moves made are done so with the express aim of creating a metaverse. KRAFTON wants to combine their experience with MMOs (TERA and ELYON) and graphics with Seoul Auction Blue and XBYBLUE’s design services to “create and sell NFT avatars that can be used in the metaverse in the future.”
The story is becoming familiar, but the details change. We are seeing influential games publishers and developers all making plans for how they will approach the metaverse and KRAFTON appears to be set on Asian market domination. Asia has been one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative markets in crypto, and many of KRAFTON’s games have a strong audience on the continent too, so it appears to be a prudent move.
As the dominoes fall, you can’t help but wonder who will be next.