Super Mario: Crypto Thief, SEGA blockchain game, AI games rights fight — Web3 Gamer

Valve allows AI content on Steam

Game developers can use AI-generated content in games listed on Steam. But only if it isn’t generated using copyright-infringing content.

That’s the official line from Valve, the creators of game publishing platform Steam, which it made in response to a June Reddit post that’s been making the rounds about a developer who had his game rejected by Steam for using AI.

Developer Artoonu, who specializes in creating NSFW games (think furries and hentai), said the company asked him to “affirmatively confirm that you own the rights to all of the IP used in the data set that trained the AI to create the assets in your game” for it to be accepted, which is an impossible ask.

Valve, it seems, is worried about the legal implications of hosting AI-generated content. And perhaps they should be. Artists are furious about the fact that AI image generators are trained on their work. ChatGPT pulls massive amounts of data from the web, much of which is copyrighted. Recordings of voice artists from years ago have been dug up and are being used by companies to train AI voice models without their explicit consent.

Valve spokesperson Kaci Boyle told Gizmodo this week that the introduction of AI was making it harder to show that a developer has sufficient IP rights when they use AI to create assets, including images, text, and music.

“In particular, there is some legal uncertainty relating to data used to train AI models. It is the developer’s responsibility to make sure they have the appropriate rights to ship their game,” Boyle said.

AI is a double-edged sword. For its detractors, it is robbing artists of rights and work. For its proponents, it is bringing them a whole new suite of creative tools. Artoonu said AI brought his “creativity was at an all-time high.”

“There were almost no limits to what kind of story I can write. I could generate almost every background I imagined and its wobbliness added a charm to it which I loved. Additionally, my efficiency doubled or was even better. I could focus on characters and dialogue instead of drawing,” he said.

Gods Unchained, My Pet Hooligan launch on Epic Games Store

Immutable’s trading card game Gods Unchained and AMGI’s My Pet Hooligan are the latest Web3 games to join the Epic Games Store.

Gods Unchained gameplay. (Epic Games/Gods Unchained)

Launched in 2019, Gods Unchained is a Magic: The Gathering-esque card game where each card is an NFT. Its executive producer Daniel Paez said in a statement that it was hard to overestimate the significance of the game launching on one of the largest PC gaming platforms in the world. Epic Games has over 230 million users.

“We are extremely excited to present our game to a completely new and truly massive audience of traditional PC gamers and TCG enthusiasts. It is a natural continuation of our journey and makes good on our promise to our community to continue to bring Gods Unchained to a new and diverse player base,” he said.

Gamer 2

Meanwhile in the rabbit-themed metaverse where the big bad is basically Mark Zuckerberg… My Pet Hooligan finally announced it had been approved by Epic on June 28. It had pushed back its original launch date as it went through the approval process for shipping through the store.

The two games will join other Web3 games that have put content on Epic that include Star Atlas and Gala Games’ Grit.

Ubisoft’s first Web3 game

A little-known Japanese blockchain company is mopping up when it comes to collaborations with gaming giants.

Oasys, a gaming-focused chain whose founders include higher-ups from the likes of Bandai Namco and PlayStation, is working on Web3 games based on IP from Ubisoft and Sega.

Ubisoft is planning to launch its first Web3 game built on the chain. Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles will be a player-versus-player tactical role-playing game.

The announcement comes after Ubisoft has found some success in the NFT space with its Rabbids NFTs and collaborations with The Sandbox. However, it also canceled a rumored NFT arena battler dubbed Project Q in January this year.

An old Sega arcade game, Sangokushi Taisen will also be getting a makeover on Oasys courtesy of blockchain gaming company Double Jump Tokyo. It’s currently under development and is expected to come out by the end of this year.

Super Mario crypto-stealing malware

A popular fan-made Super Mario game installer wants to steal your crypto, warns a report from Cyble Research & Intelligence Labs.

Cyber criminals are distributing a modified version of the installer for Super Mario 3: Mario Forever containing malicious software through social media and forums.

The installer includes XMR Miner, a program that mines privacy-focused coin Monero and Umbral Stealer, which steals information from a victim’s machine including browser-stored logins and credentials, cryptocurrency wallet keys and session tokens.

Umbral Stealer is particularly good at allowing criminals to compromise social media and gaming accounts such as Telegram, Discord, Roblox and Minecraft. It can also screenshot and access webcam footage.

First launched in 2004, Mario Forever is an unofficial game based on the Nintendo franchise with nearly 17 million downloads through CNET alone. Fan-made versions of Super Mario are popular on PC as almost all of the official 24 original Super Mario games, as well as its spinoffs, remakes and remasters, are only available on Nintendo’s own platforms.

Mario came to PCs via fan-made versions of the Nintendo classic. (Mario Forever)

Games are an ideal method for getting users to unwittingly install malware on their computers. The large file size and general trust of game installers make it less likely for malware to be detected, while the large number of gamers provide ample targets. But there are ways to protect yourself by only downloading games from official sources, being careful when downloading mods and using a password manager instead of saving passwords in your browser.

And if some dodgy site is offering something too good to be true such as a game that hasn’t been released yet, maybe don’t believe it.

Hot Take: Paradise Tycoon

My initial plan for this fortnight’s hot take was Yuga Labs’ HV-MTL (see below in “Other Stuff”) but the limited access version doesn’t seem to be available yet and for some bizarre reason I just couldn’t bring myself to pay more than $1,000 for a game. Shocker, I know.

So instead I’ve taken a look at a cute little island game from Finland called Paradise Tycoon.

As the team behind it notes on Medium, “Finland is not only known for being the Happiest Country In The World, for its saunas, Santa Claus and Nokia, but also for the thriving games industry.” The home of Angry Birds and Clash of Clans, the country generates around $3 billion in gaming revenue a year.

Making things at the forge in Paradise Tycoon. (Empires Not Vampires)

Paradise Tycoon’s maker, Empires Not Vampires was founded in 2017 and focused on idle tycoon games before pivoting to blockchain with this newest release. It may be Web3, but Paradise Tycoon will still be familiar and not intimidating to those more familiar with Web2 games.

Set on a tropical island – beware the sharks in the water that will eat and kill you – its white paper dubs it a “balanced interplay between collecting resources, crafting, trading, building, questing and social interaction.”

Gamer 3

The company claims the game has seen more than 200,000 downloads since Paradise Tycoon launched on Android and browsers.

Part of why it may have fared well compared to other launches is that the onboarding is easy. You can set up without connecting a wallet – you don’t even need an email address – but the option is there if you want to. This beats many NFT games out there that demand not just your wallet and email but quite often the rights to your first child and an itemized list of everything you had for dinner last month.

Combine the ease of onboarding with adorable artwork – the characters are extremely cute – and it makes for a nice introduction to what the team has to offer. Sure, the crafting process could be less laborious and it’d be nice to have more character customization but it’s a small price to pay for a playable game, which is still a rarity in Web3.

Other Stuff

— Yuga Labs has launched another game that isn’t the long-awaited Otherside metaverse. HV-MTL (pronounced “heavy metal) Forge is a token-gated competitive crafting game. A limited version will be available to non-NFT holders. “Think of it like Tamagotchi meets Homescapes meets some kind of popularity contest,” said Spencer Tucker, the chief gaming officer at Yuga Labs.

— Heroes of Mavia launched its beta on July 1. The MMO strategy game by Skrice Studios is based on the fantasy island of Mavia and players can build bases and engage in battles.

— Web3 gaming studio Mythical Games raised $37 million in a series C extension round following a raise of $150 million in November 2021. Participants in the latest raise include Animoca Brands, a16z and ARK Invest. It plans to raise an additional $20-30 million later this year.

The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a


Subscribe to Magazine by Cointelegraph Newsletter.

The post Super Mario: Crypto Thief, SEGA blockchain game, AI games rights fight — Web3 Gamer appeared first on Cointelegraph Magazine.

Web3 Gamer: Apple to fix gaming? SEC hates Metaverse, Logan Paul trolled on Steam

Gaming on Macs to suck less

Is Apple’s reign as the worst platform for gaming coming to an end?

Amidst all the hype about their long-rumored VR/AR headset, slated for release in early 2024 (queueing outside the Apple Store starts in October), it’s not the only signal that Apple might finally be sorting out its subpar gaming offering. It’s also releasing software that will make it easier to play Windows games on Mac.

Gaming on a Mac really sucks. Lots of games – particularly indie and early release ones – are not compatible. Keyboard mapping can be funky. To this day I have been unable to attach special tackles to my fishing rod (no, that is not innuendo) on the Mac edition of Stardew Valley.

With VR games, it’s even worse. If you want to spend hours watching YouTube videos, you can get most VR headsets to somewhat work with a Mac. But right now the only one that is really officially compatible seems to be the HTC Vive.

Are headsets the future of surfing the web? (Apple)

The downside of an Apple-native product is it comes with an Apple price tag: a hefty $3,499. It’s hard to justify that much money for exploring the empty, laggy metaverse when you could spend a few months travelling and seeing some of the coolest places in the actual world for the same price.

The endless legal wrangling over in-game virtual assets

The Sandbox, Decentraland and Axie Infinity’s tokens – SAND, MANA and AXS, respectively – made cameo appearances in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint against crypto exchange Binance, which was filed on June 5.

The complaint against the crypto exchange contains 13 charges, including that Binance sold unregistered securities. The SEC counted SAND, MANA and AXS among such securities – meaning it considers them to be types of investments, not currencies.

Speaking at the Non Fungible Conference (NFC) in Lisbon, Portugal on June 7, The Sandbox COO Sebastien Borget said that his team were aware of the litigation but that they are not themselves subject to any.

“We do not necessarily agree with the characterization that’s been put in that litigation, including the qualification of SAND as a security there,” he said, adding that it would not change the company’s day-to-day business.

Since the announcement, eToro has said it will delist several tokens, including MANA, for US-based customers.

Making in-game currencies securities is a new twist in the mess that is bridging the gap between virtual gaming currencies and real life money.

It’s not a new thing. The debate over the legal status of in-game currencies precedes even the invention of Bitcoin. Second Life got its first millionaire in 2006 and the question of who owes what to who has continued, exacerbated by the fact that many developers and creators already feel they pay large “taxes” to platforms.

Yet previous conversations have mostly been centered around making sure those that sell virtual assets or developer games on platforms are taxed correctly, not about investment and likely because Web2 virtual currencies act more like, well, currencies.

At last check, the US’s IRS doesn’t seem to be too concerned with virtual currencies if they don’t leave a game.

Avalanche wants to help Web2 gaming leaders go Web3

The quest by blockchains to convert gaming companies to the dark side continues with Ava Labs’ launch of Arcad3, a program to help Web2 gaming giants “launch powerful blockchain deployments.”

Ava Labs, which has supported gaming companies in building out more than ten gaming subnets on Avalanche and over 100 Web3 games, will work with teams on game monetisation, marketing, user acquisition, and risk management.

Among the first companies taking part are Tokyo-based firms Gumi and GREE (not to be confused with the Chinese aircon giant, GREE Electrics), as well as Shrapnel, DeFi Kingdoms and Gunz Chain by Gunzilla.

The team behind Shrapnel is among those taking part in the program. (Shrapnel/Avalanche)

GREE’s Board of Director and SVP, Metaverse, Eiji Araki said that he believed the program would help the company stay ahead on Web3 gaming and develop relationships with the studios who are experimenting in and building the space. It’s currently working on its first Web3 game, Project INCURSION.

“I can’t share any details other than the project code yet, but it will be a breakthrough title that successfully combines our nearly 20 years of mobile game development knowledge with the new essence of Web3,” he added in a statement.

GameStop’s CEO replaced by memestock trading billionaire

So long, Matt Furlong.

The GameStop CEO and former Amazon exec was axed on June 7 following the end of his 24 month contract with the gaming retailer. During that time, he oversaw GameStop’s transition from a primarily brick and mortar retailer into a more internet-focused firm.

Ryan Cohen will replace Furlong. Cohen made his fortune founding online pet supplies retailer Chewy but is perhaps better known for his involvement with memestocks. He successfully rallied people to invest in companies like Bed, Bath and Beyond, and GameStop itself, causing the prices to skyrocket. Critics say he’s pumping and dumping.

He joined the board of GameStop in January 2021, became chairman of the board that same year and owns around 12% of the company.

Ryan Cohen is the new CEO of GameStop (Ryan Cohen/Twitter)

It seems much of GameStop’s subsequent forays into crypto came from Cohen. In February this year, it inked a deal with Immutable to build out GameStop’s NFT marketplace. It’s due to debut later this year.

Hot take: Crypto-themed games on Steam

Given a lack of interesting Web3 games that have landed on my desk over the past few weeks, let’s talk about non-blockchain based games that are about crypto.

Steam may not allow crypto games but it can do little about trading simulators and Bitcoin mining tycoon RPGs. None are hits. Most seem tongue in cheek.

Take Coin Invaders, for instance, which tells players it must save Bitcoin by destroying altcoins. It’s basically Space Invaders with extra steps, notes one reviewer.

A promotional still from the game Coin Invaders on Steam.
Coin Invaders is one of several crypto-themed games on Steam. (Steam)

Or perhaps you’ll enjoy Crypto is Dead, in which an attack has crippled the world economy and physical currency has returned. It’s up to you to determine which bills are genuine and which are fake. Gripping stuff.

Then you can choose from the half a dozen-odd mining tycoon simulators which require you to build mining rigs and businesses to cash in on cryptocurrency to varying degrees of complexity. One version even has a simplified edition for kids.

But perhaps the award for most amusing crypto-themed non-crypto game goes to CryptoZoo, which came out this February. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no: Logan Paul hasn’t yet made good on his promise of reviving the zombie project that earned him a whole series on crypto sleuth Coffeezilla’s YouTube channel.

Instead the task of creating a CryptoZoo game was taken up by Rye Bread Games, who describes him or herself on Steam as a trader who makes games for fun.

A promotional still of the game CryptoZoo
Logan Paul getting trolled on Steam is an adage to the old saying “if you want something done, do it yourself”. (Steam)

According to its deck, CryptoZoo is “…the best CryptoZoo on the market… the best of its kind… the best there ever will be…”

It may not involve NFTs, but at least players are getting their long-awaited chance to breed animals in scientifically impossible pairings.

Other Stuff

– Heroes of Mavia will release the first phase of its Beta game for Land NFT owners on June 30. The larger community will be able to play the game in the second phase from Sept 1 to Oct 31.

– Amazon’s Prime Gaming partnerships with Web3 companies continue. It’s gearing up for another deal with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party whereby Prime members will be able to claim exclusive bundles for use in the game.

– Ahead of the expected launch of Otherside: Legends of the Mara this summer, Yuga Labs is ramping up the merch machine with KodaPendants for holders of Otherside Kodas and Vessels. The pendants are the first “relic” in the Otherside Relics by Gucci collection.

The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a


Subscribe to Magazine by Cointelegraph Newsletter.

The post Web3 Gamer: Apple to fix gaming? SEC hates Metaverse, Logan Paul trolled on Steam appeared first on Cointelegraph Magazine.

Web3 Gamer: GTA 6 crypto rumors, Dr Who/Sandbox, Thai tourist NFTs review

Grand Theft Auto VI crypto rumors

Rumors that the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI (GTA 6) will incorporate cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have once again surfaced, sparking speculation among fans.

Posts shared on Twitter suggest that GTA 6 will be a play-to-earn game and that in-game items such as cars and weapons will be NFTs.

GTA creators Rockstar Games are yet to weigh in on whether there’s any truth to these claims, but there seems to be little solid evidence backing the rumors.

The company cracked down on the use of crypto in GTA in November last year and sent cease and desist letters to companies running public servers with blockchain integrations — a blow to several game makers that had built their games on the platform.

A lambo from GTA 5. (Steam/Rockstar Games)

Given that GTA 5, released in 2015, has sold over 180 million copies and generated a staggering $8 billion in revenue, it seems unlikely that Rockstar would drastically alter the successful formula of the franchise, the latest instalment of which is expected next year or in 2025.

Of course, there could be a crypto element but not necessarily the one crypto bros want. Game Rant suggests that it is more likely for Rockstar Games to use crypto as the butt of its in-game jokes.

Doctor Who, Top Gear join The Sandbox

Sci-fi series Doctor Who and British motoring show Top Gear, both popular BBC franchises, will enter the metaverse via The Sandbox after announcing a collaboration with the virtual world platform.

In partnership with Web3 company Reality+, is set to launch the space later this year.

Nicki Sheard, President Brands & Licensing, BBC Studios believes that while the metaverse is still in its infancy, it may shape how we consume and experience entertainment in the future.

Dr Who
Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in hit sci-fi series Doctor Who. (BBC)

“I’m looking forward to seeing how fans interact with our brands in this space. This project forms part of BBC Studios broader ambitious plans to grow our brands into new categories, with innovative technology and platforms forming an integral part of this,” she said.

BBC Studios, which is a commercial production company under the BBC umbrella, will join 400 other entertainment brands that The Sandbox has worked with including Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, Gucci, The Walking Dead and Adidas.

STEPN integrates Apple Pay for its NFTs

Move-to-earn app STEPN is making it easier to buy NFTs for its game by adding an in-app Apple Pay payment option.

Users will be able to buy SPARK credits using fiat, with ten spark credits being equivalent to 1 USDC, which can then be used to purchase the NFTs.

“It eliminates the need to connect a separate crypto wallet and streamlines the payment process, making it easier than ever for our community to access our offerings,” said STEPN on Medium.

STEPN users will be able to pay with Apple Pay. (STEPN)

The catch is that purchasing sneakers with fiat will be more costly, which STEPN attributes to the “taxation” on each in-app purchase.

Onboarding has long been a challenge for wider adoption of Web3 games, and STEPN is not an exception. Its onboarding process is cumbersome and users have to buy the sneaker NFTs — working out which one is best for you is a task and a half itself — from a third-party marketplace and transfer it into the in-wallet app.

But the company could have more in the works when it comes to making onboarding easier.

“Our integration with Apple Pay is just the beginning of our vision to make Web3 technology accessible to all,” it added.

Battle of Titans dev competition back for second season

MatchboxDAO is bringing back its Battle of Titans Web3 racing game back for a second season this week.

Launched on Sunday, dev teams from over 60 Web3 companies including Immutable, Starknet and Fantom will compete in a fully on-chain Mario Kart-Style game.

Polygon car
The Polygon dev team’s car. (MatchboxDAO)

Each car is a smart contract that must be programmed to get to the end of the track while factoring in attacking and defending against other players using bananas, shells and shields.

The first edition of the game in January included teams from Ledger, Polygon, NEAR, Yield Guild Games and more, with a dev team from Uniswap emerging as the winners.

The new season will also add a community component where viewers will be able to vote for their favourite team.

Captain Tsubasa Web3 game debuts governance token

Captain Tsubasa — Rivals, a football game based on the popular manga Captain Tsubasa, has launched a governance token.

Web3 companies Thirdverse Group and BLOCKSMITH&Co debuted the game in January 2023. Players can train characters from the manga and play against each other in matches.

Game producer Shun Fujiyoshi, who currently heads BLOCKSMITH&Co, said that various mechanisms are in place to maintain the value of utility tokens.

“These measures include in-game consumption points and mechanisms to control price fluctuations caused by speculative trading,” he said in a statement.

Created in 1981 by Yoichi Takahashi, 70 million copies of the original Captain Tsubasa manga have been sold in Japan alone. It has been translated into over 20 languages.

Illuvium raises additional $10M in funding

Crypto venture firm Framework Ventures has invested $10 million in gaming studio Illuvium, which will be used to accelerate the development of the Illuvium Universe.

Australia-based Illuvium said that the new funding would give them a comfortable runway through the launch of the open beta and beyond.

It is planning an upcoming open beta featuring its city builder Zero, open-world monster hunter Overworld and autobattler Arena.

The company previously raised $5m in a Framework Ventures-backed seed round in March 2021. It also made $72 million during an NFT land sale in June last year.

Hot take: Collecting NFTs for a tiny bit of Thai chicken

This edition I caught a Web3 project in the wild.

Queueing for tickets to go up the MahaNakhon, Thailand’s tallest skyscraper, a poster off to one side next to a coffee advert and emergency defibrillator caught my attention: Amazing Thailand NFTs season 2. Travel to earn amazing expat NFTs.

NFT advert in Bangkok, Thailand. Source: Callan Quinn

Easily persuaded, I downloaded the app.

In mid-April this year the Tourism Administration of Thailand (TAT) launched the second round of NFTs for an NFT tourism project it’s piloting. Using an app called YAK, tourists can check in at various locations around the country and in return receive a travel NFT.

PokemonGo for backpackers and passport stamp addicts sounds appealing. The reality is a bit more frustrating.

Crypto folk won’t like how much personal info you have to put in to get set up. Not just an email, but also your phone number and a one time passcode.

The app and I disagreed several times as to whether I was within the required radius of the sites I visited. While the MahaNakhon NFT was obtained without fuss, I somehow acquired an NFT for Pattaya City and Phuket, even though I didn’t go to either.

Amazing Thailand NFT. Source: Amazing Thailand/YAK App

The idea is that you “earn” while travelling by getting discounts depending on how many NFTs you get. In many cases, getting the offer seems to require buying something else such as getting two free pieces of chicken if you spend over 1,000 Thai baht ($29) in a restaurant — a tall order in a country where you can have a nice meal for a fifth of that.

In fact, many of the offers didn’t seem to be exclusive to the NFT app at all and were applicable without the app.

Now, apparently — though it didn’t say so on the poster — the game was only supposed to run until the end of April so maybe all the good offers were gone, I can’t be sure.

But for me the biggest question was how to get the NFTs out of the app. They seem to be on a native chain of Thailand-based cryptocurrency platform Bitkub. As far as I could tell, it required creating Bitkub account to move them, which in turn required a Thai phone number to receive the one time passcode.

Overall it needed a bit of tweaking but I liked the concept of being able to collect POAPs for places I’ve visited as a tourist. The discounts were lousy but not really necessary: if you actually got the NFT corresponding to the place you visited, collecting for the sake of collecting would have been enough.

A revamped, global version would be nice please.

Other stuff

— Gods Unchained unveiled a new roadmap on May 23. Among its plans are some for new game modes, a creator program, a soft launch for mobile and new card sets.

— Blockchain gaming platform Gala Games will launch a Web3 poker platform with PokerGO, with a beta slated for release in June 2023.

— Game retailer GameStop will distribute Telos-based games on its upcoming Web3 gaming launchpad GameStop Playr.

— Gaming metaverse Star Atlas launched the latest version of its showroom on June 1 with new flyable ships, single-player ground racing and an updated dogfighting arena.

— Web3 game publisher Fenix Games is teaming up with platform Immutable to help game studios by “curating, advising and publishing best-in-class live services to Immutable’s ecosystem of games.”

— Nike’s NFTs will start being incorporated into EA Sports games, according to a June 1 statement from the company. No word yet on which titles.

The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a


Subscribe to Magazine by Cointelegraph Newsletter.

The post Web3 Gamer: GTA 6 crypto rumors, Dr Who/Sandbox, Thai tourist NFTs review appeared first on Cointelegraph Magazine.

Shrapnel wows at GDC, Undead Blocks hot take, Second Trip: Web3 Gamer

Shrapnel: The game at GDC everyone’s talking about

As the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco came to a close last week, there was one game that stood out from the rest. Shrapnel, a highly anticipated first-person shooter in the Web3 space, was the talk of the conference thanks to its stunning graphics and immersive gameplay. 

Select invitees got a first look at Shrapnel at GDC. (Shrapnel/Twitter)

Select visitors were treated to a hands-on experience with the pre-alpha version of the game. Set in the year 2044, Shrapnel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Players must navigate the “sacrifice zone,” where they collect NFT gear and a compound named Sigma. They can win by reaching an extraction point where they can escape with their loot. If they die, they lose their loot. 

Shrapnel founder Mark Long told Cointelegraph at GDC that for his team, it’s all about the gameplay first. He added that while the demo took place behind closed doors this time, more people would be able to play Shrapnel next month.

“Anyone at ConsenSys will be able to play it on the show floor,” he says, referring to the conference in Austin, Texas, in late April.

EVE Online, MapleStory to get Web3 treatment

While Shrapnel was hogging the limelight, EVE Online creators CCP Games announced they raised $40 million in a round led by a16z to develop a new AAA title set in the EVE universe.

EVE Online is a space-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Launched in 2003, its game includes over 7,000 solar systems and two decades of player-created history. Players can choose their own paths and professions in the game, focusing on battles, mining, exploration and industry, as they interact with its complex in-game economy and hierarchy. 

It’s not a game for the faint-hearted: some describe playing the game as having a second job. In addition, the increasing cost of playing EVE Online has long been a point of contention between players and CCP Games. 

EVE Online
The complex MMO takes place across thousands of solar systems. (Steam)

As with every time a Web2 game studio expresses an interest in Web3 — think Neopets metaverse, for instance — the worry among players is that it’s little more than a cynical cash grab. 

The details of what the blockchain EVE game will look like are still under wraps but the company has made clear it’s not going to impact EVE’s global server, known as Tranquility. Last year, the company came out and said that they had no plans to add blockchain technology to Tranquility.

“While we remain intrigued by the technology, for us, NFT stands for ‘Not for Tranquility,’” company CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson said at the time. 

Related: What are Web3 games, and how do they work?

The website for this project, which suggests the name is “Project Awakening,” states the game is “separate from current and previously disclosed projects, including EVE Online.”

It’s not the only traditional gaming brand that’s recently announced its jumping on the Web3 bandwagon. Gaming company Nexon is bringing its popular game, MapleStory, to the blockchain. 

MapleStory is a 2D MMO. (Steam)

Claiming over 260 million players, the game allows players to explore deserts, tundras, underwater kingdoms, lost civilizations and more. The South Korean firm follows other players in the region, such as Square Enix and Bandai Namco, who have previously dabbled in Web3. 

Related: Justin Sun vs. SEC, Do Kwon arrested, 180M player game taps Polygon: Asia Express

Bazooka Tango wants to revive indie card game Shardbound

Indie game Shardbound is also getting a Web3 revival, from gaming studio Bazooka Tango. A tactics card game, Shardbound initially launched through Kickstarter. But it never made a full release, and interest faded.

That’s when Bazooka Tango came in and decided to give it a new lease of life, according to the company’s co-founder, Stephan Sherman. 

“The developers at SpiritWalk had been very close friends of ours and we had always been a fan of the product,” Sherman tells Cointelegraph.

Once we had the opportunity, we talked to them about picking up where it left off and bringing it the final mile, so it had a chance to reach a worldwide audience.”

The Shardbound beta will be open to the public around mid-year 2023 and available on mobile in 2024.

Shardbound concept art
Shardbound concept art. (Shardbound/Twitter)

Otherside’s Second Trip to Fortnite

Yuga Labs’ Otherside returned for its Second Trip on March 25. The event saw over 7,200 concurrent players on the platform, with Improbable, the company behind the tech, once again showcasing its impressive capabilities.

Unlike the First Trip in the summer of last year, the newest iteration had a bit more gameplay beyond avatars running around doing backflips. Participants in the Second Trip teamed up to collect blobs. The winning team, Team Glacia, earned virtual winged helmets.

Second Trip players
Thousands of players joined the Second Trip on Saturday. (OtherGuild/Twitter)

On Crypto Twitter, it wasn’t long before the Fortnite comparisons started rolling in, both positive and negative. The company garnered praise for how much it has managed to achieve in such a short space of time – this time last year, Otherside was but a rumor, officially launching at the end of April – but others quickly fired back that the comparisons were inaccurate and unhelpful. 

It’s not yet clear what Yuga Labs has planned for gameplay. But then again, there are only so many ways one can collect virtual objects before it all starts to feel the same. Game Fund Partner Jonah Blake tweeted:

The otherside is not competing with Fortnite creative. They are 2 different things. They both compete for attention, and attention will be whatever is on a deed or a fortnite island. The creators will drive that attention. Brands will post on all of them.

Following the Second Trip, Yuga Labs announced several new updates. First, it looks like the company will be teaming up with Gucci for something related to the Otherside.

It’s also rolled out Legends of the Mara, which Yuga Labs said is a collection-based 2D strategy game that picks up where the events of Second Trip leave off.

“With it, we’re going to learn more about Kodas, including their origins and their primal relationship with Otherside, encounter some new apprentices in the form of the Mara, and learn more about the story of Otherside throughout LOTM,” Otherside tweeted.

Related: Otherside Metaverse demo kicks off with 4,500 participants: highlights

Magic Eden gaming hub

NFT marketplace Magic Eden started pivoting to gaming last year, and this month it finally rolled out its gaming hub. 

The idea, according to its gaming CEO Chris Arkhavan, is to turn the platform into a hub for Web3 gaming where users can find new games, buy NFTs and view leaderboards. It’s not hosting games on its platform but has plans for more community-focused integrations in the future.

Magic Eden
Magic Eden is pivoting to gaming.

Hot Take — Undead Blocks

“So, Bitcoin up today?”

It’s not the first thing you expect to hear as you walk nervously around the neighborhood of Sanborn, New York, waiting for the zombies to inevitably descend on you, but it helps release a bit of the tension. Your character shouting “to the moon” as the hordes descend is as good a war cry as any, I suppose. 

zombie hordes
Undead Blocks is described as a “kill to earn” game.

The beta of Undead Blocks, by Wagyu Games and Kevuru and released on ImmutableX, launched last month. Dubbed a “kill-to-earn” game, Wagyu Games executive director Grant Haseley is a former Goldman Sachs analyst who set out with the aim of making an easy-to-learn and addictive game that is playable with friends. 

Easy for everyone except me. I have the hand-eye coordination of a drunk three-year-old and am much more at ease pottering around Stardew Valley planting potatoes than trying to survive the apocalypse. 

Being able to control the unwieldy pistol improves slightly when I turn down the mouse sensitivity by about 90%. At least, I stop dying after killing just one zombie.

That said, I can still appreciate that it looks cool. And I’ve heard positive reviews from people who have used a game controller — you can use the ones for your Xbox or Playstation — as opposed to a Mac.

Overall, the look and general playability of blockchain games are so much better than they were a year ago, and Undead Blocks is no exception. It has crisp graphics, a cool soundtrack in the intro and cringe-in-a-mildly-amusing-way musings from the avatar about crypto.

What’s Coming Up

Amazon NFT and Gaming platform — In January, it was revealed that Amazon was building an NFT and gaming platform. The e-commerce giant has remained tight-lipped about the plans but unconfirmed reports suggest something could be launched on April 24. 

Imposters — This Among Us-esque social deduction game will launch a beta for verified holders on March 31. It was delayed from the original date of March 24 due to issues with migrating the game to Unreal Engine 5.1. 

CGC Online — The Crypto Gamers Conference is back for another year from April 17-18. Tickets for the virtual event are available free online and the deadline for speaker applications closes April 10. 

Eternal Dragons — Blockchain game Eternal Dragons will hold its first official PvP tournament from March 31 to April 2. There’s a prize pool of over $15,000 USDC up for grabs. 

The Glimmering — Blockchain-based Dungeons and Dragons game The Glimmering will launch its play platform on March 30. NFT holders will be able to sign up to play games virtually. 

Immutable Passport — Immutable is set to roll out its gaming passport in April. The noncustodial wallet and authentication solution aims to streamline user onboarding to its games.

Got tips, questions or comments? Please direct all vitriol, abuse and declarations of love to me on Twitter @quinnishvili.

The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a


Subscribe to Magazine by Cointelegraph Newsletter.

The post Shrapnel wows at GDC, Undead Blocks hot take, Second Trip: Web3 Gamer appeared first on Cointelegraph Magazine.

D&D nukes NFT ban, ‘Kill-to-Earn’ zombie shooter, Illuvium: Zero hot take — Web3 Gamer

In this inaugural edition of Cointelegraph’s monthly Web3 gaming column, we highlight some of the top stories and events in the blockchain gaming space over the past few weeks, as well as upcoming releases.

Fortnite player sells Dookey Dash prize

It has been a little over a month since NFT behemoth Yuga Labs, the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and other top NFT collections, rolled out the skill-based game and NFT mint, Dookey Dash. 

Sent on a quest by a dog called Gary, players have to navigate through the sewers, dodging obstacles and collecting power-ups in pursuit of a golden key.

For three weeks, holders of Sewer Pass NFTs competed for the top spot on the leaderboard and different prizes. Though BAYC and sister collection Mutant Ape Yacht Club holders could claim a free pass, buying one wasn’t cheap. The floor price currently stands at 2.4 Ether (ETH) ($3,888)

That’s a lot to play Temple Run in a toilet.

Yuga Labs reported the game was played more than 7.5 million times, equivalent to 80 years of game time and an average of about 28 hours per pass. Over 9,000 pass holders used $APE to purchase boosts, about one-third of active players. That said, it is not clear how many individual people played the game. Only 51% of the Sewer Passes have unique owners, meaning a whole lot of people are hoarding multiple passes. 

A bonus round of the game, Dookey Dash: Toad Mode, closed its leaderboard on March 1. 

The top prize, “The Key,” went to Kyle Jackson, better known as “Mongraal” on Twitch and YouTube. The 18-year-old professional Fortnite player, no doubt treasuring the very important loot he had just acquired, promptly listed The Key for sale on OpenSea.

Though he wanted 2,222 ETH ($3.6 million) for it, he ultimately sold it this week for 1,000 ETH ($1.6 million) to American scrap metal CEO Adam Weitsman.

According to Spencer Tucker, Yuga Labs’ new chief gamer officer, the game is just the beginning of how the company is thinking of connecting the dots between NFTs, gaming and community engagement. 

“We want these things to be fun and weird, while also continuing to push the boundaries of what people perceive of the NFT industry,” he said.

“More than a jpeg, it’s all about utility, innovation, creating interactive experiences and hopefully onboarding new players to the web3 space.” 

Dookey Dash
Dookey Dash gameplay. Source: Yuga Labs

Dungeons & Dragons reverses NFT ban

Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), was forced to walk back proposed changes to its Open Game License (OGL) in January. For more than two decades, its OGL has allowed people to make D&D derivative projects, like graphic novels and plays.

Among the now-dropped changes was a ban on NFTs and other blockchain integrations. Ironic, considering Wizards of the Coast is owned by Hasbro, which itself debuted a Power Rangers NFT collection on the Wax blockchain last year.

The company also sought to introduce royalties payable by content creators of a certain size and new powers for Wizards to terminate the license of projects.

The drama impacted U.S. company Gripnr, which is building a D&D game with NFT integrations called The Glimmering. Its CEO and co-founder, Brent McCrossen, said he was  “thrilled” that the updates had been reversed and that the published rules and lore of D&D had been moved to a Creative Commons license, making it freely available for use in perpetuity.  

“We were not going to simply pack up our belongings and head home,” he said.

“NFTs and other potential emerging technologies are not a valid reason for revoking the OGL. We will object in a similar manner to any potential future attempts to restrict blockchain use; it is fundamental to GRIPNR’s core business,” he added.

While the Wizards of the Coast’s ban hasn’t ultimately panned out, it follows similar moves to ban NFT mods from Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto servers. 

Yet whereas Grand Theft Auto makers Rockstar Games sent out cease and desist letters to builders shortly after the ban was announced, Mojang Studios — which is owned by Microsoft — doesn’t seem to be enforcing it, as NFT games still exist on Minecraft servers.

Cover art from the D&D Player’s Handbook. Source: Wizards of the Coast

Square Enix to Launch NFT-based game Symbiogenesis

Elsewhere on the dark and violent crossroads between traditional and Web3 gaming, Square Enix has released more details about its upcoming NFT game. Symbiogenesis was first announced in November as an Ethereum-based game. It’s since switched to Polygon and plans to launch in Spring this year. 

Among traditional game makers, Square Enix has been one of the most bullish on Web3. Its president, Yosuke Matsuda, doubled down on that position in his New Year’s letter in January where he predicted the growth of a more mature blockchain gaming market over the coming year.

The game will be set on a fantasy floating continent and players will have to unlock storylines through NFTs, which can be bought, traded or earned through completing missions. 

Other AAA gaming studios in East Asia are also getting involved in Web3 projects. But while they’ve generally been more willing to experiment than their U.S. counterparts, there are still some holdouts. 

The rumor in Kyoto is that the powers that be at Nintendo HQ aren’t keen on NFTs, despite some vague public statements of “interest” — so don’t expect Pokemon NFTs any time soon.

And even the crypto-curious firms remain cautious. Nobody is risking their most valuable IP just yet, preferring to test out the response with lesser-known titles.

Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy XVI, one of Square Enix’s flagship titles, is set to come out later this year. Source: Square Enix

Wagyu Games rolls out ‘kill-to-earn’ zombie shooter

One of the most highly anticipated Web3 games of the past few months, Wagyu Games rolled out its first-person shooter zombie game, Undead Blocks, at the end of February.

With all the hallmarks of a classic zombie shooter – including a multiplayer mode – Undead Blocks claimed around 2,500 active daily players during its beta. 

But the full launch now includes “kill-to-earn” features for NFT holders. Players can earn in-game token ZBUX for slaying the living dead, which can be traded or used to buy NFT weapons and upgrade. The game also has a second token, UNDEAD, for governance that can be staked for rewards.

The company has been hyping up the rewards for players at a time when other games are becoming more cautious in their approach to rewards and tokenomics. There are plenty of contenders out there vying to become the project that proves there’s a sustainable way to share rewards with players, but nobody’s done it yet.
Play-to-earn has also fallen out of favor as a driver of growth. A Blockchain Games Alliance survey in 2021 found 67.9% of gaming professionals predicted play-to-earn would be a significant growth driver. A similar survey in January saw that number drop to just 22.5%.

Undead Blocks
Undead Blocks gameplay. Source: Twitter/Immutable

Hot take — Illuvium: Zero

In January, Illuvium rolled out the private alpha for Illuvium: Zero, a building sim based around collecting and processing natural resources on Illuvium land NFTs. The Aussie company’s third game followed quickly on the heels of the December private beta release of Overworld.

Think SimCity BuildIt but more… purple. 

Reviewing an alpha is arguably a grossly unfair thing to do. Alpha versions of games are still in their early days. They’re supposed to have glitches and lack full gameplay. The fact that it’s almost as good as BuildIt (not to be confused with non-mobile versions of SimCity) says far more about BuildIt than it does about Illuvium.

Read More: Better than Axie Infinity: Kieran Warwick’s 2032 plan for Illuvium

But it follows similar principles. There’s a select set of buildings you can add to your land, some of which require unlocking by building other buildings. You can then use these buildings to extract resources and store them. I’m curious to see what these resources will ultimately be used for. 

Despite numbers being capped at 6,500 players, Illuvium says that the game has been the most popular of the three it has released, potentially due to its availability on mobile devices and the use of NFTs that players have already invested in.

“Regarding future versions of Illuvium, the team has several plans to enhance graphics and gameplay,” said co-founder Kieran Warwick.

Illuvium: Zero
Illuvium: Zero gameplay. Source: Illuvium

What’s coming up

Gods Unchained mobile version — Gods Unchained announced plans for a mobile version in February. It’s currently rolling out the pre-alpha to active community members and requesting feedback. The test period will end on March 22.

Chain Monsters — Looking a little bit Pokémon-esque, the early access version of Chain Monsters will hit the Epic Games Store on March 6. Also available on iOS and Android, players can explore the open world of Ancora, catching and battling monsters.

Illuvium: Beyond — Illuvium’s fourth game will be a card-collecting game where players earn points based on how their cards are customized and by completing milestones within their collections. 

Otherside Second Trip — Yuga Labs will launch a Second Trip to the Otherside at some point in late March, featuring updates to avatars and other new features. It will be followed by a second experience, Legends of the Mara, which will be a “stand-alone 2D experience powered by Apecoin.”

Got tips, questions or comments? Please direct all vitriol, abuse and declarations of love to me on Twitter @quinnishvili. 

The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a


Subscribe to Magazine by Cointelegraph Newsletter.

The post D&D nukes NFT ban, ‘Kill-to-Earn’ zombie shooter, Illuvium: Zero hot take — Web3 Gamer appeared first on Cointelegraph Magazine.