Nexon, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, wades into web3 like some of its peers in Asia. MapleStory’s developer is creating a blockchain-powered ecosystem based on the twenty-year-old massively multiplayer online game, where players can trade in-game assets such as outfits, gear, and virtual pets in the form of non-fungible tokens.
About 160,000 people in South Korea still play MapleStory today, the company recently wrote in a blog citing data from KMS.
Blockchain games have been popping up all over the place in the past two years, but few have gone mainstream and even the popular games, such as the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, have been short-lived.
Nexon promises to make more sustainable crypto games. “There was a time when the perception of ‘blockchain = P2E’ was widely accepted, and there was a lot of talk about using blockchain to make games that make money,” Angela Son, Nexon’s blockchain business development and partnership lead, told MinRegion in a text message.
“But since then the market has changed and there are more makers who want to use blockchain to develop games seriously.”
It’s too early to tell if MapleStory N, Nexon’s first blockchain game, and MapleStory Universe, the NFT ecosystem based on the classic game’s IP address, will ever reach the heights of their web2 version. Nexon, of course, looks rosy.
“MapleStory has over 180 million users worldwide, and more people love the MapleStory IP. We expect many players to enjoy MapleStory N and MapleStory Universe,” said Son.
The main criticism of play-to-earn games is their flawed economics, where gamers only buy NFTs to create and sell these digital goods to those who buy after them. Nexon is not going down the pyramid scheme-like path.
In MapleStory N, there is no cash shop and players acquire items through gameplay, such as completing missions and slaying monsters. If people don’t get what they want, they can buy items from others through the ecosystem’s secondary NFT marketplace. Eventually, players will also be able to trade their in-game assets on third-party marketplaces, Son said.
On board the masses
Nexon is working with a handful of partners to enable the transition to web3. The company has already announced that MapleStory Universe digital goods will be traded on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling solution popular with game developers. Today, the South Korean gaming company said it has teamed up with another web3 company, Haechi Labs, a provider of crypto auditing and wallet solutions used by more than 500 companies.
“A large number of gaming companies came to us after seeing the success of Axie Infinity since Haechi Labs has been offering smart contract security controls and wallet solutions for the past 5 years,” the company’s CEO, Geon-gi Moon, said in a written statement. response to MinRegion.
“Nowhere else will you see such a large number of executives at AAA game companies who are so optimistic about integrating their games with blockchain, except in South Korea.”
Most existing decentralized applications require users to log in through their crypto wallet. But what if people have no previous web3 experience? Haechi praises Face Wallet, which allows users to log into crypto games like MapleStory N through their existing accounts with Google, Facebook, Apple, Discord, and Kakao.
Once logged in, users will be able to access their Face Wallet accounts. Anyone who has used a self-contained wallet like MetaMask knows the stress of trying to keep their 16-word seed phrase safe. Losing one’s seed phrase means permanently losing access to the wallet. Custodial solutions are easy to use, but on the other hand, asset owners are exposed to the risk of the platform being hacked or going bankrupt.
Face Wallet attempts to solve the custodian dilemma by offering a self-custodial wallet that allows users to log in with a six-digit password and gives them the ability to recover passcodes.
Here’s how it works: When a user creates a wallet through Face Wallet, the key is split into two encrypted “shares,” Moon explains. Share 1 is stored in a secure infrastructure environment and usually on the user’s device. Share 2 is held in the Face Wallet team repository. The decrypted keys are never shared with Haechi; nor can Haechi decipher any of the encrypted keys, Moon added.
Haechi isn’t alone in trying to make self-hosted wallets easier to use. The Ethereum community itself is addressing this problem through a major technical upgrade called “account abstraction” and developers, such as enterprise-backed Soul Wallet, are rushing to introduce wallets powered by smart contract capabilities.