South Korean Game Creator Krafton Joins Metaverse, NFT Craze

South Korean online game developer Krafton, founded by billionaire Chang Byung-gyu, is investing 8 billion won (about $6.5 million) in two digital art companies to develop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the metaverse.

The company behind the hit game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds announced on Monday that it paid $4 million for a 12% stake in NFT trading platform Xbyblue and $2.5 million for a 6% stake in online auction service provider Seoul Auction Blue. Both companies are subsidiaries of South Korea’s first auction house, Seoul Auction, founded in 1998.

The three companies have also agreed to develop NFT-related projects, allowing Krafton to create and sell NFT avatars that can be used in the metaverse. NFTs are digital assets stored on the blockchain that certify the authenticity of items such as music, artwork, and game items.

“Krafton has a rich history of developing proprietary technologies, which are part of the foundation of our NFT and metaverse development,” Krafton CEO Kim Chang-han said in a statement. “Through partnerships with innovative companies such as Seoul Action Blue, we are confident that we can combine our research and the expertise of our partners to deliver new experiences that global users will find fun and engaging.”

“This is just the beginning as Krafton will announce additional details related to its collaboration with Seoul Auction Blue and Xbyblue, as well as additional global partnerships positioned to grow our business in the future,” added Kim.

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Separately, Krafton also announced that it has teamed up with Naver Z, a unit of Korean billionaire Lee Hae-jin’s Internet giant Naver, to jointly develop an “AI-powered NFT metaverse platform”. user”. Naver Z operates Zepeto, a SoftBank-backed metaverse platform.

Krafton, which raised $3.8 billion in its IPO in August, making it Korea’s second largest listing, joins a growing list of Korean companies jumping on the metaverse and NFT bandwagon. . Last month, fellow online gaming giant Netmarble, founded by billionaire Bang Jun-hyuk, announced plans to launch a dozen new games using blockchain and metaverse technologies. Kim Beom-su’s Kakao Games, Kim Jung-ju’s Nexon, Kwon Hyuk-bin’s Smilegate, and Park Kwan-ho’s Wemade are also involved in the metaverse and NFTs.

“Since last year, Krafton has established direction to build a scalable Web 3.0 creator ecosystem with global partners with capabilities and experience and conducted internal research,” Krafton said in a statement.

“Using the accumulated capabilities and experiences of Naver Z and Zepeto, and advanced search technology from Krafton, we are implementing a high-quality “UGC Open Metaverse” differentiated from existing metaverse services, and developing a global economy of creators through the NFT plan to activate,” the company added.

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