South Korean gaming developer NCSoft has announced plans to launch non-fungible token (NFT)-based games in 2022. Hong Won-jun, NCSoft’s chief financial officer, made this known during the company’s Q3 earnings call on November 11.
According to Hong, the planned NFT gaming titles will be in the form of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) with release dates scheduled for Q2 2022.
NCSoft’s NFT-based gaming titles will also follow the play-to-earn (P2E) model where players are rewarded for playing the games, in this case with cryptocurrencies. NCSoft plans to create its own crypto tokens to use as rewards for playing the games.
The game maker may also extend the P2E format beyond its upcoming catalog of NFT-based games with Hong stating: “We are also considering applying the play-to-earn game model to all games developed and distributed by NCSoft.”
As part of the announcement, Hong also stated that the emerging NFT gaming space will provide an opportunity for new business growth for the $13.67 billion company.
The move to blockchain-based gaming comes after the company lost over $3.7 billion in market value between August and September following the failure of its martial arts role-playing game “Blade & Soul 2.”
NCSoft’s NFT gaming announcement met with a favorable investor response as the company’s stock price rose 30%, from 592,000 Korean won ($501.57) to 786,000 Korean won ($665.94), on Thursday to match its daily limit for the first time since January 2015. The company’s share price is still down almost 20% year-to-date on the Korean Stock Exchange following a nearly 50% decline between February and October.
Today’s announcement also offers another indication of the growing appeal of blockchain-based P2E games in South Korea. Mir4, an MMORPG with a crypto component, produced by fellow South Korean gaming studio WeMade Co, has become popular on the Steam platform.
Outside South Korea, NFT gaming also appears to be gaining in popularity especially as companies look to develop expansive metaverse ecosystems. This rise in prominence is evidenced by the growing volume of venture capital backing for NFT-based startups as seen in recent months.