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South Korean mobile-first game developer 4:33 Creative Lab, which has amassed more than 250 million downloads across its games globally, announced Delabs, a new Web3-focused venture.
Delabs will focus on developing and publishing blockchain-native games in the Polygon blockchain ecosystem. It’s another sign that the South Korean game companies — which were the first to dive into free-to-play games — are going all-in with Web3 games.
“By becoming a flagship partner of Polygon, Delabs is poised to make significant strides in advancing the web3 gaming industry, providing numerous benefits and opportunities for the sector as a whole,” said Joonmo Kwon, chairman of 4:33 Creative Lab and CEO of Delabs, in a statement. “Delabs’ mission is to shake up the decentralized space with its refreshing emphasis on fostering a sense of community and enjoyment, propelling the industry towards the next generation of gaming — Game 3.0.”
To achieve these goals, Delabs has teamed up with Polygon Labs, the Web3 development company behind the leading Ethereum Layer-2 scaling protocol, Polygon. As a flagship partner, Delabs will be able to leverage Polygon’s fast and cost-efficient transactions combined with Ethereum’s robust security and decentralization to seamlessly onboard new players.
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Urvit Goel, head of global business development at Polygon Labs, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the talented team at Delabs, with the aim of elevating the standards of Web3 gaming. By leveraging the cutting-edge technology of Polygon, Delabs is poised to attract and engage millions of new players and cultivate a thriving community that can relish secure, seamless, and immersive gaming experiences..”
Led by Joonmo Kwon (aka JMK) — a prominent South Korean businessman and former CEO of gaming giant Nexon with six top-rated blockbuster games under his belt — Delabs will concentrate on innovation, superb user experience, and blockchain-native features to reimagine the future of decentralized gaming.
A gaming industry veteran, Kwon was one of the first to recognize the potential of free-to-play mobile gaming under his purview as CEO at Nexon, where he oversaw the launch of the vastly popular game Crazyracing Kartrider. KartRider accumulated over 300 million downloads and became renowned for attracting more than a third of the Korean population.
Kwon’s previous record-breaking games include Romance of Three Kingdoms (No. 1 in all telecom stores for a year, 30 million downloads), Kart Rider (over 300 million downloads), Bow Master (No. 2 grossing game, 10 million battles per day), Blade (No. 1 on Play Store and App Store Korea, $100 million in revenue), Heroes (No. 1 on Play Store and AppStore Korea, $100+ million in revenue), and Boxing Star (No. 1 boxing game for four years, $100+ million in revenue).
Leveraging Kwon’s unique talent for predicting big shifts in the gaming industry and his track record of successfully launching groundbreaking titles, Delabs is committed to creating fun, engaging, and inclusive games for all players, tapping into the full power of blockchain at the same time.
Delabs currently have three games under development — a racing game, an RPG survival game, and an anime-style game. Delabs have assigned dedicated genre-specific specialists to develop each project, ensuring fans a compelling and familiar experience.
The aim is to offer exceptional graphics and immersive gameplay experiences to all players, regardless of their knowledge about NFTs, wallets, or cryptocurrencies.
Delabs has 100 people and it is hiring. The parent company, 4:33, has raised more than $100 million from investors such as Tencent and Line.
The company will start minting NFTs in April this year.
“Our first mint is the Delabs Adventure Pass that will unite all Delabs games. Our Adventure Pass will enhance player experience across all of our games with great benefits,” said Kwon in an email to GamesBeat. “Web3 games are an answer to the problems in traditional games. The average player spends a lot of time and money on the games they play. What if the game goes out of service or I stop playing? What do I have now? Sure, I still had fun, but nothing else.”
Kwon added, “But what if players could own digital assets that last forever? That sounds like a fantasy, but that’s possible in web3. With Web3, players don’t just get to have a fun gaming experience, they also get to own digital assets that are valuable and tradable.”
And Kwon said, “The psychology of ownership is incredible. If you partly own a restaurant, you’ll likely visit the restaurant more often and become a marketing evangelist for it. The same thing will happen in games. When players own their in-game assets, they become loyal customers, enthusiastic marketing agents, and active community members who participate by giving feedback on the direction of the game.”
Kwon said that game companies make billions of dollars a year by monetizing their users.
“Web3 offers a different experience for the player. In web3, players get more value,” Kwon said. “If the player gets more value, so does the company. In the end, money spent on games is not a sunk cost, but an investment in fun experiences. In web3 games, the company’s interests and the player’s interests are aligned. I believe this model is a much more sustainable relationship. It will be so disruptive. Once the player experiences more value through web3 games, they won’t go back to the old model. This is exactly why I founded Delabs games.”
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