In an article published last week (March 12, 2023), global video game publisher Nexon announced that it was releasing a blockchain-based iteration of MapleStory, one of its flagship games.
MapleStory was first released in 2003 in South Korea and currently has more than 180 million registered players worldwide. Thanks to this massive user base, Nexon’s move could increase the speed of blockchain gaming development and the widespread adoption of NFTs.
The new release will be titled MapleStory Universe, and Nexon has chosen Polygon, an Ethereum-scaling network, to support its Web3 expansion and provide technical and business support for the game
Web3 gaming remains one of the most prospective NFT use cases in existence. With the global gaming market size reaching over $200 billion in 2022, the industry is ripe with potential. And it seems that Nexon is hoping to capitalize on some of that potential with one of its most beloved titles.
MapleStory is a cherished and storied name in the gaming community. One of Nexon’s primary IP offerings, the game has generated over $4 billion in revenue and secured 180 million registered players, according to a recent earnings report.
The blockchain-based iteration, MapleStory Universe, will be built on Polygon Supernets, a blockchain development platform aimed at helping Web3 developers create their own blockchain protocols. Polygon Supernets perform a similar function to that of Avalanche Subnets, to which they’re often compared. These networks allow developers to build and utilize a blockchain sub-network for individual projects, protecting them from sluggish performance issues on the main networks they’re a part of.
Polygon Labs, which is a development and growth team for the Polygon protocol, is set to provide technical and business support for the MapleStory Universe.
“We are looking forward to expanding the NFT ecosystem envisioned by MapleStory Universe by building on Polygon, the top protocol for web3 gaming. It is the perfect choice to power the ecosystem,” MapleStory Universe group leader Sun-young Hwang said in the press release. “We will work closely with the team at Polygon Labs to develop and market the game.”
What this means for players
In an article explaining why Nexon decided to turn to blockchain technology, the company noted that its goal is to create an NFT-centered ecosystem that allows players to have a full view of the decision-making, participate in IP development, and have actual ownership of their assets.
“While there are many benefits of blockchain technology, Nexon has focused on three in particular: (1) Transparency, with all information recorded on-chain for anyone to see. (2) An open ecosystem, where anyone can contribute to the project and earn rewards for their contributions. (3) Extended utility, through the free movement of in-game assets,” they wrote.
To this end, the team noted that users will have a clearer view of the decisions and changes that are made, as the developers’ design and decision-making processes will now be fully visible on-chain. And since the entire process is recorded on-chain, it will be more difficult for developers to change the rules on a whim, as they are fully visible to all users. “The transparent governance of the blockchain and the decentralization of power that it provides makes developers’ design and decision-making processes fully visible and trustworthy. In this way, users can immerse themselves more easily in the virtual world,” the team explained.
What’s more, Nexon will no longer be acting as an administrator with complete control of the server. Instead, it will be a developer participating in an open ecosystem. As a result, other contributors will be on more equal footing, and it will be easier to identify these other contributors. The company explains that this “allows for more proactive contributions and ensures that contributors are fairly rewarded for their work.”
This increase in transparency and decentralization certainly sounds like a good thing. But unfortunately, would-be players will have to wait a bit to see exactly how this all plays out, as the game currently has no release date.
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