[Debrief] The NFT/Blockchain Gaming Conference in Korea

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Hyewon Jeong외 1명
Research Associate/
Xangle
Jul 06, 2023

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. NEXON: Looking Back on MapleStory's Past 20 Years and Prepping for the Next 20

2. MARBLEX: Expanding the Ecosystem via Multi-chain and Publishing Business

3. NPIXEL: Aligning NPIXEL and User Interests with Web3

4. Closing: Web2 Game Companies Expected to Accelerate Mass Adoption of Blockchain Games

 

 

 

 

Introduction

On June 27, Korea Game Media Association hosted the NFT/Blockchain Game Conference in Korea. This year’s conference was its second, following last year, and was attended by major Korean game companies with blockchain game projects such as NEXON, MARBLEX, and NPIXEL. In this article, we will share their views on blockchain, their projects and challenges, and their future plans.

 

1. NEXON: Looking Back on MapleStory's Past 20 Years and Prepping for the Next 20

Sunyoung Hwang who heads the MapleStory Universe at NEXON began his talk by introducing the achievements of the MapleStory IP, which is the foundation of the MapleStory Universe project. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, MapleStory is one of NEXON’s largest IP, with 180 million cumulative and 50 million loyal users*, that successfully evolved into a cultural content, going beyond the boundaries of mere game.

Hwang explained that the real fun of MapleStory comes from reward experience (RX)—earning game items. He also added that MapleStory's formula for success in the past two decades has been to continuously provide such RX by 1) securing the utility of items through content updates and 2) controlling the rarity of items via live operations (server checks, monitoring, and follow-up procedures).

The MapleStory Universe is an attempt to take such formula to the next level with blockchain as they head for the next 20 years. Blockchain will expand the utility of items and maximize the RX by issuing NFTs of items that are currently limited to the game server and extending them to spun-off ecosystems (creator-driven secondary creations). In short, if creators share the load of updating content, which so far has entirely been the responsibility of NEXON’s development team, and if their content has the same content power as the game itself, there will be dramatic improvement in item utility expansion.

In addition, blockchain can dramatically improve the issue of which the number of users and activity time greatly affect the number of items. All this needs is to issue items as NFTs, introduce in-game NFT tokenomics to control the total production of each item, and adjust rarity according to their distribution plan. Essentially, the MapleStory Universe wants to maximize RX by improving item utility with NFTs and controlling item rarity with tokenomics.

The MapleStory Universe plans to introduce a sort of contribution system to make this model work. By measuring the contributions of creators and dApps to the reward experience and rewarding them accordingly, they hope to encourage creators to continue their participation in the ecosystem. Finally, Hwang concluded his talk by saying that NEXON's ultimate goal is for the MapleStory Universe to live on even if NEXON ceases to exist.

* Accounts active for over 10 years

 

2. MARBLEX: Expanding the Ecosystem via Multi-chain and Publishing Business

Junki Moon of MARBLEX began his talk by introducing MARBLEX as an ecosystem of blockchain games centered on well-made games. MARBLEX launched four blockchain games—A3: Still Alive (Battle Royale MMORPG), Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds (Casual MMORPG), The King of Fighters ARENA (Action), and Meta World: My City (Casual)—which have successfully attracted more than 16 million users, and are to launch a new AAA game RF Project (Fantasy MMORPG).

MARBLEX's strategy for expanding its ecosystem is 1) multi-chain and 2) publishing. MARBLEX is currently a sidechain based on a single blockchain (Klaytn), which makes it difficult for users on other blockchains to access the MARBLEX ecosystem. MARBLEX recognizes this and aims to further improve user accessibility by connecting to various blockchains using its own bridge service, the WARP Project. As part of this effort, BNB Chain and Near Protocol have recently joined the MARBLEX ecosystem.

Netmarble, MARBLEX's parent company, is the first and largest publisher in Korea, and has a history of leading the mass adoption of mobile games when the Korean game industry was shifting from online to mobile games. This time, MARBLEX plans to lead the mass adoption of blockchain games by providing auxiliary services such as NFT minting, token management, dApp service integration, and wallet integration on the MBX Station. And it seems this is to provide infrastructure for external game developers to allow sole focus on development as they join the MARBLEX ecosystem. The beta version of MBX Station will debut on July 5 via Meta World: My City.

Lastly, MARBLEX is preparing for a major overhaul of $MBX tokenomics in three phases to build a sustainable ecosystem. Phase 1 will involve burning of all unplanned supply, which will result in burning 670 million $MBX, or 67% of the total 1 billion supply. Phase 2 involves a stricter burn policy, and Phase 3 involves a reorganization of the game tokenomics that ties the utility of $MBX more directly to the game. Then finally, Moon wrapped up by saying that the goal is to minimize the impact of the exogeneous variables.

 

3. NPIXEL: Aligning NPIXEL and User Interests with Web3

METAPIXEL, the blockchain division of NPIXEL, will launch Gran Saga: Unlimited (“Gran Saga”), a blockchain game based off the Gran Saga IP, on Aptos. Speaking at the event, METAPIXEL's Jeonghwan Ko announced that Gran Saga aims to be a fully on-chain Web3 MMORPG and emphasized that Web3 gaming isn’t just a combination of coins, NFTS, and games, but an open vision that aims to provide better ecosystems and product experience to benefit both users and businesses.

So, what value can Web3 games offer to users? Ko said that, unlike Web2 games, Web3 games can quickly reflect user needs in the development process, making it easier to gain loyal users. In the case of Gran Saga, for example, they were able to get good user metrics during the first community test because they shared the development process with the community and actively reflected users’ needs in the development process.