S.Korean game producers chase NFTs in real-money boost for players and firms

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  • Korean game makers embrace the NFT trend, bringing real money into the game
  • Shares of gaming firms jump as investors bet on big profits
  • Regulators Ban NFT Games in S.Korea Over Gambling Concerns
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Seoul, Nov 25 (Businesshala) – South Korea’s mobile and online game makers are wooing players with services using non-fungible tokens (NFTs), jumping on a trend firms see as the future of the sector and A sharp rally begins in their stocks. in recent weeks.

NFTs are digital assets that include everything from images, videos to text, whose ownership records are tracked on the blockchain and typically purchased with cryptocurrencies.

In the gaming world, the various characters, weapons, vehicles, and other items that players use to complete their special tasks can be NFTs.

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The advantage is that these NFTs can be traded for digital currency, namely cryptocurrencies.

However, South Korean regulators have banned NFT-enforced games in the country, as these new services may promote gambling addiction among teenagers and very young. For now, these games are only available offshore.

“It is not blockchain technology that we are banning,” an official from South Korea’s Game Rating and Administration Committee told Businesshala on condition of anonymity. Because she was not authorized to talk to the media.

“What we are saying ‘no’ is the application of NFTs which can be linked to real assets,” the official said.

That didn’t stop South Korean game maker Wemade Co Ltd (112040.KQ) from going ahead with the global release of its NFT-enforced game, MIR4, in late August.

The game has attracted over 1.3 million players overseas, causing the firm’s share price to skyrocket by more than 600% since launch. Its market value has also increased 11-fold to ₹6.6 trillion ($5.55 billion) during the same period.

Around the world, the popularity of NFT games is also increasing rapidly.

According to the company, Axi Infinity, an NFT game developed by Vietnamese unicorn Sky Mavis, has attracted 1.8 million players worldwide, generating $33 million in daily transactions as of August.

In Wemade’s MIR4 game, currently, players can only earn money by mining ‘Dark Steel’ – the main game resource that helps boost weapons and characters’ strengths – which will eventually be converted into WEMIX, a listed-cryptocurrency. could.

Items acquired through gameplay and characters – weapons, outfits and jewelry pieces – will soon be available through the company’s platform. XDRACOAnn Young, head of WeMed’s public relations team, told Businesshala.

Another NFT-implemented game ‘Rise of Stars’ is slated for release next year, Ann said.

According to CoinMarketCap, WEMIX is trading in a range of $17.50 to $21.64 over the past 24 hours, compared to $0.21 at the beginning of the year.

game changer?

Despite local regulatory hurdles, other South Korean game developers are also trying to capitalize on the NFT boom.

Earlier this month, NCSoft Corp (036570.KS) said it is ready to release a game next year that includes NFT and blockchain elements. Its shares hit a daily limit of 30% on November 11 when the firm made the announcement.

(259960.ks), makers of the blockbuster “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” also reported an increase of 22% since November 11, when the company said it was reviewing the integration of NFTs into games.

KOSDAQ-listed Gamevil Inc (063080.KQ) and its affiliate Com2uS Corp (078340.KQ) rallied sharply in November.

Analysts say that the NFT trend is a step change for the gaming industry and is likely to boost their profits.

Lee Sang-hun, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, said, “Winning used to be the main goal of playing the game … .

“This will, ultimately, provide an opportunity for gaming companies to re-rating of valuations as well as an upward move in shares.”

($1 = 1,189.8000 won)

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Reporting by Juri Roh, Additional reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Sri Navaratnam

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