In the Noughties, few teens with access to the internet were not aware of a site called Habbo Hotel, now just Habbo. The pixel-art virtual community, founded in 2000, captured the interest of many young people on a relatively young internet. You would create your avatar and then engage with other players, adopt virtual pets, and play a number of mini-games.
As of October 2020, Habbo had racked up over 316 million created avatars in its 20-year existence, and as of early 2021, still boasts north of 800,000 monthly active users. It has been an enduring sensation, a part of both the internet and social gaming’s histories, and now it turns its attention to blockchain. I’m always on the lookout for inventive combinations of blockchain technology with older phenomena, and Habbo is exactly that.
Blockchain and Habbo: The Perfect Fit
In all honesty, I wasn’t aware Habbo is still as popular as it is. Once I had seen it was thriving, I knew what form its future ought to take. Thankfully, so has the Habbo team, and their trajectory appears to be aiming squarely at blockchain. Why is it the perfect fit, though?
One trend of NFTs I have particularly enjoyed has been profile pictures (often shortened to PFP.) This is where people on social media and chat applications, particularly Twitter, set their profile picture to their favorite NFT that they own. Twitter even has plans to implement a verification process to prove the user owns the NFT they’re displaying.
As Habbo is centered around avatars, the alignment with NFTs is flawless, particularly NFTs with utility. Habbo hasn’t missed this opportunity.
Habbo’s Integration of Blockchain and Their Roadmap
The Habbo creators are a little secretive on their future plans, but there is a lot already in motion. Firstly, there is Habbo Avatars, “a collection of 11,600 entirely unique, pixellated avatars.” As is familiar in the NFT space, these avatars are programmatically generated from different traits, 284 to be precise, each of varying rarities. The collection is up on OpenSea, but the floor price is already just shy of 0.3 ETH.
I am a little disappointed they opted for the Ethereum blockchain (ERC-721 tokens) as I think WAX would have been a better fit, but I also understand the draw of Ethereum, particularly as the NFT royalty are mostly ETH.
What makes this move by Habbo so impressive is twofold. Firstly, the integration of these avatars into the Habbo game, where you can use the NFT as your avatar (as well as some other cosmetic perks) isn’t a distant pipedream — it’s on the roadmap for December 2021. The second noteworthy move is Habbo’s intentions towards blockchain technology going forward.
One final innovative move by Habbo is the adoption of the NFT ecosystem as a whole and it’s something we’re seeing more often of late. That is, the owners of the most exclusive NFTs gain access to members-only perks. With Habbo, an “NFT Owner” role will give access to a literal members-only area, and is granted to anyone who verifiably owns an NFT from the following collections:
Bored Ape Yacht Club – Bored Ape Kennel Club – Mutant Ape Yacht Club – Bored Mummy Waking Up – BullsOnTheBlock – BearsOnTheBlock – Arabian Camels – Monster Rehab – Cool Cats NFT – The Alien Boy – Galaxy Fight Club – Pudgy Penguins – CryptoPunks – CyberKongz VX – Meebits – VeeFriends – Super Yeti – CyberKongz – DeadHeads – On1 Force – The Sandbox LAND – Decentraland LAND
Why Is This a Genius Move?
There are so many strands to why this is a brilliant transition by Habbo that I find it hard to keep them all in order. So, I’ll opt for a simple list:
- The blending of a teen and young adult social game with the social phenomena of NFTS — which are popular with younger generations — keeps Habbo relevant.
- The launch of NFT avatars is particularly powerfuly given it is in vogue to use NFTs as your profile picture.
- The NFT avatars being instantiated in a popular game as soon as December 2021, and thus giving them utility, pushes the collection ahead of many rivals.
- Habbo is ingratiating itself into the elite NFT community by granting access to a Habbo members area for anybody with an NFT from one of the most sought after collections.
- This sets up the foundations for further blockchain integration, and if their plans materialize, Play to Earn mechanics in Habbo could launch it into the crypto stratosphere.