GamesBeat Summit 2022 returns with its biggest event for gaming leaders April 26-28. Reserve your place here!
Blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands said it has agreed to acquire 70% of Darewise Entertainment, the independent gaming company that is creating the metaverse-like blockchain online game Life Beyond.
The deal shows that Animoca Brands is serious about acquiring high-quality games that can help prove that blockchain gaming can mix well with triple-A content. The deal comes just days after Animoca Brands bought racing game developer Eden Games.
Paris-based Darewise was founded by veterans of companies like Ubisoft, and is creating a blockchain-based massively multiplayer online game called Life Beyond.
“It’s been going on for a while, but it’s really exciting that it’s finally happening,” said Benjamin Charbit, CEO of Darewise, in an interview with GamesBeat. “In essence, what we have been developing from the beginning was a perfect fit for decentralized technology because we wanted to operate a real money economy. At first, we thought that blockchain was perhaps too hard and not developed enough. And then we started to change our minds at the end of the first half of 2021.”
The Darewise team has created games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dying Light 2, Black & White, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and the Fable series. Charbit, a former game director at Ubisoft, started the company with Samuel Kahn, a former technical director at Crytek. Both will continue to operate the company after the acquisition.
The collaboration between Animoca Brands and Darewise Entertainment will facilitate planned growth, accelerate game development and combine expert triple-A game development with blockchain integration, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and play-and-win capabilities, Charbit said.
“What was really fascinating was his humility. And, and for us, it was very important. We were excited about the technology, but at the same time we are very careful and realistic about where it is,” said Charbit. “I met a lot of fans and they were all very upset. And when I started my conversation with Animoca, they were very different. They were extremely realistic and aware of the state of technology. Most critics weren’t arguing. They were trying to target them. And that created a great sense of trust for us.”
Animoca Brands will help Darewise Entertainment accelerate development and publishing in the web space 3. Animoca Brands raised $358.8 million at a $5 billion valuation in January thanks to the strength of its blockchain portfolio. Animoca Brands has made 170 investments in blockchain gaming companies.
Yat Siu, Co-Founder and CEO of Animoca Brands, said in a statement: “Adding Darewise Entertainment is incredibly exciting. Their Life Beyond game is an MMORPG of great beauty and scale that will be a strong addition to the open metaverse. Benjamin and Samuel have built a world-class team that is creating a play-and-win gaming universe that is intricate, sophisticated and deeply engaging.”
(Siu will be a speaker at our GamesBeat Summit 2022 event on April 26-28.)
Darewise Entertainment’s first game, Life Beyond, is currently in development. It is a modern, fast-paced, ever-evolving, persistent, massively multiplayer online game set in Dolos, an alien world where players will create and nurture a new society where social behaviors and technology will determine success.
how the game will work
Life Beyond will be free-to-play (F2P) and will have a low barrier to entry; A series of free deliveries of the NFTs needed to play the game will be announced soon. Initially, the game will be available on PC.
Powered by Web3 and blockchain technologies, Life Beyond hopes to pioneer the emerging genre of play-and-win MMO. Its guiding principles are true ownership of digital assets, a player-driven in-game social economy, and decentralized governance.
Initially, user governance in Life Beyond will be enabled by game-based tools and will later be upgraded to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) when the game’s unique token becomes available.
The Life Beyond game experience will revolve around the three main pillars of Pioneering, Settlement and Politics.
In Pioneering, players will explore the mysteries of the magnificent landscape and engage in combat. They can tame ancient nanotechnology that corrupts the world, collect resources and ancient technology, cleanse ancient ruins to conquer regions.
With Colonization, players can transform conquered regions into lands to be colonized by players. They can build houses and provide economic and leisure activities for the population. They can trade resources and goods, blueprints, and technology to support a new civilization of pioneers. And they can deal with thieves and criminals and organize the defenses of the city against enemy nano attacks.
And with Politics, players can define and enact the rules of society. They can choose between pursuing personal wealth and control of a neighborhood, or developing a more democratic organization. They can hold elections, organize the market, impose taxes, regulate the economy, define policies, and deploy police forces to maintain order.
They can also convince other peoples to follow a model or fight against them to impose supremacy. Life Beyond will allow players to make decisions both individually through their own gameplay choices and collectively by making critical decisions about the future direction of the game. Life Beyond’s society will evolve according to the choices, user-generated creations, and behaviors of its players.
“We are incredibly proud to join Animoca Brands and add our triple-A gaming expertise to the company that has been so instrumental in the development of Web3 games,” said Charbit. “Since the end of 2017, we have firmly believed that virtual existence will be at least as important as physical existence. Over time it became clear that we are a Web3 company at heart and that blockchain provides the means to achieve our vision. It took visionary entrepreneurs like Yat to move forward and build such an impressive ecosystem, paving the way for everyone else.”
He said that as his team watched Animoca Brands establish the open metaverse model with projects like The Sandbox, REVV, Phantom Galaxies, they knew they would benefit greatly from his web 3 experience and
the road ahead
Darewise will release its first free NFTs that players will use to play the game at the end of the month.
“It’s an asset than an item that gives you some privileges in this world,” he said.
The company will also publish its white paper outlining its plan and roadmap for blockchain technology. Darewise has 100 people now and the company wants to hire many more and expand its presence in Europe.
Why Charbit trusts the blockchain
Charbit believes that digital ownership will create greater trust between game companies and gamers, as it will become clear who owns what. After a player buys an NFT, he can understand the scarcity level of it and verify ownership.
“When I started to delve into the technology and understood two pieces of blockchain, which are programmability and composability, of the smart contract,” he said. “And this is for me, it’s like I’ve discovered a new world. As a game developer, programmability means you can start creating these assets with some code inside. Your NFT is a smart contract. You can program the NFT to behave this way.”
Composability is the idea that a smart contract can be a contract of another contract. Then you can call another contract. And again, because it’s a program, so you can embed things inside of it, Charbit said. And Charbit wanted to allow players to become entrepreneurs in the game and start their own companies.
You could, for example, start a car rental service within a game. The player can create a contract that the car is available for rent and someone else can rent it. You can program a car to transfer ownership to a player for a certain amount of time, and then when the contract expires, ownership reverts to the original owner. That kind of transaction in a game could happen quite easily without much effort due to smart contracts, Charbit said.
“It can take so many levels of expertise to truly create a free market economy, which is what I’ve been pursuing for so long as a developer,” Charbit said. “How can we create economies where supply can meet demand?”
Charbit said that the game will have an alpha test in the summer. The team is thinking about how players can make a profit, enjoy liquidity and make a profit on what they are buying.
“The whole beauty of blockchain and web three today is that it is easier to better distribute the value created among all stakeholders,” he said. “If you’re famous and you go to a nightclub, shouldn’t you be rewarded for the value you bring to the place?”
Charbit said he studied the impact blockchain would have on energy use and scam reporting and came to understand how to use the technology correctly without having any negative impact. He sees the need to educate gamers in a community so they can understand the opportunities behind the technology.
Charbit said that he believes that Siu at Animoca Brands is a visionary patiently explaining the reality and promise of blockchain technology.
I’ve already seen the movie. I was there at the beginning of free to play. I was one of the architects of this whole free play strategy at Ubisoft,” Charbit said. “When people threw tomatoes at us, [his cofounder Vincent, then at Ubisoft] he told me that we were trying to evangelize them because he was really met with the same kind of skepticism or even anger at times. And today, some of the games are among the best free games. So I’m not too worried. We are going to arrive. What matters at the end of the day are the really important games. We need to have good games regardless of what they are doing with blockchain or not.”
When those good games are released, players won’t care if they use blockchain technology or not, he said.
The GamesBeat Creed covering the games industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how news matters to you, not only as a decision maker at a game studio, but also as a gamer. Whether you’re reading our articles, listening to our podcasts, or watching our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy being involved. Learn more about membership.