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Krafton, the South Korean studio behind breakout battle royale shooter PUBG: Battlegrounds (originally PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), hasn’t forgotten about the metaverse. In fact, its planned Web3 metaverse game platform—tentatively called Migaloo—is still in the works and now slated to launch sometime this year.
Krafton and South Korean augmented reality firm Naver Z have created a joint venture company based in North America and poured $36.8 million into Migaloo’s development, according to a release this week. Under the arrangement, Krafton will own an 85% stake in the venture, and Naver Z will hold the remaining 15%.
But this isn’t a Zuckerbergian metaverse. Migaloo is being developed by a AAA game studio and aims to offer a “create-to-earn” system in which users can create, buy, and sell in-game assets as NFTs. While little else is known about the project, it sounds like the world of Migaloo could resemble something like Roblox, but with NFTs.
Japan-based Final Fantasy creator Square Enix has announced its own Web3 game, while Japan and South Korea-based Nexon is developing MapleStory Universe in Web3. Singapore-based Razer has launched a Web3 incubator, as well, while South Korean firm WeMade plans to release some of its biggest titles abroad with Web3 integrations.
While some in the West may be unfamiliar with Naver Z, it’s a large tech firm with over $172 million in funding. Naver boasts over 49 million monthly active users across three of its products, while Krafton’s PUBG currently sees a substantial 289 million monthly active players. PUBG Mobile for iOS and Android is also enormously popular.
That said, Krafton’s Migaloo isn't the studio’s only Web3 initiative. In March 2022, Krafton announced it had partnered with Solana Labs to develop games on the Solana network. Neither Krafton nor Solana Labs appear to have made public updates on the plans since the initial announcement.
Krafton did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment. Decrypt also inquired with Solana Labs about the status of its Krafton partnership, but did not immediately receive clarification.