South Korean gaming company NEOWIZ has raised $12 million for its web3 platform IntellaX, with funding from Polygon and Animoca Brands, amongst others. NEOWIZ is listed in Korea with a market capitalization of $723 million. It produces several casual games and is best known for “Skul: The Hero Slayer” and “Black Squad”.
Launching in the first quarter of 2023, IntellaX will provide a Web3 wallet, an NFT marketplace, a decentralized exchange, and games. The key differentiator of IntellaX over other web3 gaming solutions is its push towards a “Proof of Contribution Protocol” which aims to redistribute a share of its revenue to contributors.
The platform will be released on Polygon, the Ethereum Layer-2 scaling network.
Typically, web3 games are not well received by the wider gaming community. The biggest game review platforms, including IGN, GameSpot, and Kotaku, are either tight-lipped or uncharitable about reviewing blockchain games. This skepticism stems from the idea that inherently play-to-earn or contribute-to-earn platforms are rife with microtransactions – making them a pay-to-win platform. For gamers, this does not provide a good experience in terms of both gameplay and graphics.
In April 2022, the International Game Developers Association pushed back against blockchain gaming and NFTs over social issues and the prevalence of scams. Steam, a popular video game distribution service, banned all blockchain games from its platform, with concerns over fraudulent activity in cryptocurrency and utilization of the blockchain.
The overwhelming negative opinions have decelerated the adoption of web3 by most gaming companies. In fact, following fan outcry, the highly anticipated shooter sequel Stalker 2 published by GSC Game World, decided to scrap NFTs in its game.
In contrast, gaming companies like Asia’s Square Enix, best known for Final Fantasy, consciously invest in blockchain. The company believes that when it comes to blockchain gaming, a self-sustaining game economy will be created by passionate players who create in-game content, making it different from speculation-driven investment in these platforms. With NEOWIZ, it looks like there’s another mainstream Asian gaming firm with similar ideas.