Nexon has announced that its MapleStory Universe virtual world ecosystem will allow players and creators to develop and manage non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And for this, it works with the Polygon blockchain protocol.
Today at the Game Developers Conference, the company announced that NFTs will have both tangible and intangible value. This is yet another example of South Korean gaming companies going all-in on NFTs, which can be used to establish player ownership and resell assets. The South Koreans are in business, although many hardcore gamers in the West resist NFT.
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MapleStory is a massively multiplayer game with over 180 million registered players and a strong presence on social media and community forums. But the MapleStory universe also includes creators of third-party games and user-generated content.
Starting with MapleStory N, new content and characters based on the IP of MapleStory and tracked through decentralized applications (DApps) will be developed by content creators and introduced into the MapleStory universe.
Because all items in Maplestory N are NFTs, players will have digital ownership of the items they purchase. The use of DApps allows NFTs to be recognized and appreciated in the MapleStory universe outside of MapleStory N.
MapleStory N will not include a checkout store. Players will acquire items as they play, such as completing quests and defeating monsters. Each region in the game has a limited number of NFT rewards, adding value and enjoyment to ownership. Nexon intends to make its already beloved franchise a delight that most other blockchain games do not yet have.
Nexon is South Korea’s largest game developer and publisher, so the deal with Polygon is significant for the nascent Web3 gaming space.
Polygon will power the blockchain ecosystem for one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world, the MapleStory Universe, using Polygon Supernets technology to expand its thriving in-game economy.
Polygon Labs, the Polygon protocol design and development team, will provide both technology and business support for the game. The announcement was made today by Nexon’s MapleStory Universe Production Director, Project Manager 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 go on quests, fight monsters, and interact with other players in the virtual world. The game features 2D side-scrolling graphics and many different classes to choose from, each with their own unique skills and abilities. MapleStory Universe is a virtual world blockchain ecosystem based on the MapleStory IP address.
MapleStory has been around for 20 years and has a very, very large following, Urwit Goel, VP of Global Games and Platform Development at Polygon Labs, told GamesBeat.
“It’s one of the biggest gaming companies in the world,” he said. “This technology is real. And what he offers to the 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 try to build next-generation virtual worlds with the NFT-based MapleStory Universe ecosystem.
Nexon will use Polygon Supernets to take the thriving in-game economy to the next level. Currently, players buy and sell items to each other using in-game currency. Players will purchase NFTs as they play (i.e. hunt monsters, complete quests, etc.) to unlock many benefits and utilities across various games and apps in the ecosystem.
“We look forward to expanding the NFT ecosystem provided by the MapleStory Universe with Polygon, the core protocol for Web3 games. It’s the perfect choice to support the ecosystem,” MapleStory Universe team leader Sung-Yong-hwan said in a statement. “We will work closely with the Polygon Labs team to develop and promote the game.”
Polygon Supernets is the most advanced application chain solution for gaming industry leaders that can scale on Web3 using dedicated blockchains. Polygon Supernets offers high-performance, custom application chains with low or zero transaction costs and access to best-in-class premium tools and implementation services to empower any game or metaverse use case.
“Nexon’s selection of Polygon Supernets for its global hit MapleStory Universe sends a strong signal 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 for bringing web gaming to the masses, and Polygon Labs is committed to offering a variety of solutions to bring its vision to the market.”
Polygon Labs, the Polygon decentralized protocol design and development team, has built one of the world’s largest ecosystems for Web3 gaming decentralized applications in less than two years, working with studios and publishers such as Square Enix, Neowiz, Midnight Society, Jam City, and Tilting Point. , as well as esports teams and streamers like Cloud9 and Dr Disrespect.
The network has gained massive acceptance and use, thanks in part to close ties to Ethereum. The Ethereum network has long been a popular ecosystem for developers looking for high liquidity, solid security, and a broad user base. This narrative has been a key factor in the exodus of projects from other blockchains to Polygon, such as the recent integration of Magic Eden and the migration of the hugely popular DeGods and y00ts. Polygon Labs’ commitment to improving Ethereum is evidenced by their $1 billion wallet.
Polygon believes it has the infrastructure in place to grow users to millions and increase transaction volume, Goel said.
Goel said there is a kind of chicken-and-egg problem where naysayers want to see more players and more interesting blockchain games before diving into them. But it’s hard to get developers to invest more in big games without big audiences. He hopes deals like the Nexon deal will break that cycle.