Notable South Korean developer and publisher NCSoft is turning more of its attention to Web3 gaming. Today, the firm revealed that it contributed to the recent $300 million Series B funding round for Mysten Labs, creator of the nascent Sui blockchain, and said that the companies will collaborate on future projects.
NCSoft—the company behind hit online game franchises like Lineage, Guild Wars, and Blade & Soul—invested $15 million in the round, which was originally announced in September without its participation disclosed. The round, which was led by FTX Ventures, valued Mysten Labs at over $2 billion.
In addition to backing Mysten financially, NCSoft also plans to work with the firm on potential Web3-powered games. In a release, the companies said that they would "explore future collaborations to create digital entertainment experiences that are more engaging and player-centric, leveraging Sui."
Last November, NCSoft announced that it was exploring the release of NFT-driven games in 2022, as well as exploring the creation of its own crypto token. The firm also said that it was testing how to create massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) using the Web3 gaming play-to-earn business model.
"Blockchain technology has the potential to create novel and innovative player experiences," said Dr. Songyee Yoon, president and chief strategy officer of NCSoft, in a statement.
"We are excited to partner with Mysten," she continued, "who shares our vision for the technology as a platform for truly distributed player centric economy, passion for community building, and trustworthy technology which is crucial for those who desire to build a platform of desired scale and reach."
Other traditional game companies that have started building and investing in Web3 include Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive—collectively, the companies behind such juggernaut franchises as Assassin's Creed, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto.
Sui is a new layer-1 blockchain platform. Layer-1 blockchains are base-level networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana that allow developers to deploy decentralized applications (dapps) and projects on top of the protocol.
As with the recently launched Aptos, Sui's founders emerged from Meta's scrapped Diem cryptocurrency project to create a new layer-1 blockchain utilizes the Move programming language. Mysten Labs co-founder Sam Blackshear first developed Move for Diem while working as a former Facebook engineer; he now serves as Chief Technology Officer at Mysten.
"Bringing gaming to Web3 requires infrastructure that can support millions of players while enabling these players to own and interact with fully on-chain, dynamic, and composable digital assets," said Blackshear, in a release.
As the Diem project was winding down in 2021, members of the social media giant's Novi Research team launched Mysten Labs. Sui is Mysten's first project—a proof-of-stake blockchain platform designed for dapps and other use cases. The project has yet to launch its public mainnet and remains in testing.
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to clarify the Sui founders' connection to Diem.