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To Fund NFT Games, Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider and Three Studios

The sale will bring the Final Fantasy publisher $300 million, which will be used to fund new projects such as blockchain-based games.

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Square Enix has long been a vocal supporter of blockchain and NFT-based games in the gaming industry, but now the company is putting its money where its mouth is. Today, the Japanese company revealed that it would sell studios and essential franchises, including Tomb Raider, to help fund new business ventures, including blockchain.

Square Enix has agreed to pay Embracer Group $300 million for Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain, Thief, and game developers Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal. In total, roughly 1,100 people are employed by the three studios.

Square Enix attributed the sale to the necessity to “[adjust] to the changes ongoing in the global business climate by establishing a more efficient allocation of resources,” according to a press release. It also mentioned the “start-up of new firms,” with blockchain featured among technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Square Enix still has its long-running role-playing game franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts and newer IPs like Life is Strange and Just Cause. However, the transaction appears to have resulted in a reduction in the company’s entire game production operations.

Embracer Group will also acquire the rights to more than 50 previous Square Enix games. Nordic Games and THQ Nordic were the earlier names for the Swedish publisher, which was created in 2011. It rose to prominence due to a succession of previous acquisitions, including Borderlands creator Gearbox Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics.

Square Enix first entered the crypto gaming space in 2020, spearheading a $2 million fundraising round for The Sandbox, an Ethereum-based metaverse game. In addition, Square Enix announced intentions to put its legendary Dungeon Siege franchise into The Sandbox’s gaming environment, which allows players to own virtual land plots sold through NFTs, just this past March.

Outside of The Sandbox, though, Square Enix has its vision. Following a successful test run selling NFT trading cards based on the video game and anime franchise Shi-San-Sei Million Arthur in Japan, the publisher announced intentions to offer its own NFT collectibles and NFT-powered games in November.

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda reiterated the company’s growing interest in cryptocurrency in January. He drew a distinction between people who “play to have fun” and those who “play to contribute,” implying that the latter is conceivable in blockchain games, where users own NFT assets and can earn token incentives based on their actions.

“Blockchain games, which have grown out of their infancy and are now entering a growth phase,” he wrote, “are built on the assumption of a token economy and hence possess the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth.”

An NFT is a blockchain-based deed of ownership for a digital item, such as artwork and collectibles, and video game avatars, creatures, weapons, and apparel. The overall NFT industry grew to $25 billion in 2021, with gaming accounting for a large portion of that increase. For example, the Ethereum-based game Axie Infinity alone surpassed $4 billion in NFT trade volume.

Square Enix isn’t the first game publisher to embrace NFTs; Ubisoft, in particular, is heavily committed to the space and has released in-game NFT products on the Tezos network. On the other hand, many gamers have loudly opposed the technology, citing the environmental impact of some blockchain networks, as well as scams and apparent greed on the part of game producers.

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Shopify Expands Online Retailers’ NFT-Gated Options

Brands are able to increase the exclusivity of their shops thanks to the e-commerce platform.

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The future of e-commerce, according to Shopify, is in NFTs.

As a new option for brands wishing to make their stores more exclusive, the online retail behemoth, which enables small businesses to construct customized e-commerce shops, is providing NFT-gated storefronts, Shopify announced on Wednesday.

In the Shopify introduction video, which includes a skating woman who passes through a pastel portal and transforms into a Doodles NFT, a voiceover urges viewers to “invite their communities into a world that acknowledges and rewards devotion.”

The video explains that token holders can access special shopping opportunities by connecting a cryptocurrency wallet, including early access to drops and limited collections as well as one-of-a-kind experiences and other surprises.

Only individuals with existing NFT collections are able to apply for early access to Shopify’s “gm” shop, which is a gated merchandise store and a play on the Crypto Twitter acronym for “good morning.”

However, those that haven’t received approval yet can still integrate NFT token-gating apps like Shopthru or Single into their Shopify sites.

Shopify announced that it has already collaborated with the Adam Bomb Squad, Doodles, World of Women, Invisible Friends, Superplastic, Stapleverse, and Cool Cats NFT collections to develop token-gated shops as part of its token-gated business launch.

Shopify is introducing “IRL” token-gating in brick-and-mortar stores in addition to online token-gating, which restricts access to certain merchandise to authorized NFT holders exclusively.

Why is this important? The future of Web3 commerce will focus on exclusivity, for one thing. NFTs, which are distinctive blockchain tokens that denote ownership over an asset, are increasingly employed as membership cards, tickets to events, and “keys” to open benefits, despite the fact that they are frequently oversimplified as digital art or “jpgs.”

Additionally, this isn’t Shopify’s first venture into NFTs: The business has been involved with Web3 since last year, when it announced the launch of NFT sales on its platform. Brands can mine and sell NFTs on Shopify to clients using the Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, or Flow platforms.

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OpenSea, beware—Uniswap is pushing into NFTs

The NFT aggregation platform Genie is being purchased by Uniswap Labs, the organization that created the Ethereum-based decentralized exchange Uniswap.

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In a Bankless interview on Tuesday, Uniswap founder and CEO Hayden Adams said, “We’re attempting to transfer what we brought to the ERC-20 market to the NFT sector.”

You can buy NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that represent ownership—on a variety of different marketplaces, such as OpenSea, LooksRare, or Coinbase NFT. However, few allow consumers to buy many things at once, and none provide aggregation tools that let traders view listings on competing marketplaces.

According to Uniswap Labs on Twitter, “We see NFTs as another form of value in the burgeoning digital economy, and it’s a no-brainer for us to integrate them.”

The NFT aggregator Gem, which also enables customers to acquire numerous NFTs in a single transaction, was purchased by OpenSea just two months prior to the announcement of its acquisition by Genie. OpenSea intends to incorporate NFT aggregation functions into its primary platform, just like Uniswap.

A new tab dedicated to NFTs will be added to Uniswap’s main website later this year as part of the company’s push into NFTs, according to a statement from the company. Additionally, NFTs will be included in its developers’ APIs and widgets.

Uniswap Labs intends to airdrop an unspecified quantity of the stablecoin USDC to Genie’s early backers as a way to commemorate its acquisition. By April 15th, USDC will be given to everybody who had utilized the platform at least once or owned a Genie Genesis NFT. (The business had earlier tweeted that Genie Gem owners were eligible for the airdrop.)

Uniswap entered the NFT market for the first time in 2019 with Unisocks, an NFT that granted holders access to a real pair of socks.

The largest NFT market, OpenSea, has a floor price for Unisocks of 13 ETH (about $15,300) at the time of writing.

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NFT marketplace in Solana Magic Eden completes a $130M Series B investment with a $1.6B value

Over 90% of NFT trade volume on Solana is accounted for by Magic Eden.

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On Tuesday, Magic Eden, a popular nonfungible tokens (NFTs) platform on the Solana (SOL) blockchain with 112,927 SOL ($4 million) in 24-hour trading volume, announced that it had closed a Series B round for $130 million. The funding round was led by investors such as Electric Capital, Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Paradigm and Sequoia Capital valued the firm at $1.6 billion.

The newly-infused capital will be used to expand the company’s primary and secondary marketplaces, explore multi-chain opportunities, allow new hirings, and for use in research and development. Since its inception in September 2021, the marketplace now receives an average of 22 million unique monthly sessions and sees over 40,000 NFTs traded daily.

Magic Eden’s Launchpad has also onboarded over 250 projects to date. In addition, it offers customization, marketing support, and operational execution to new NFT collections coming onto the primary market. Meanwhile, its secondary market covers over 7,000 listings and sees over 92% of all NFT volume on Solana.

Furthermore, Magic Eden has also launched over 50 games and metaverse projects. In that segment, the firm oversees 90% of all gaming NFTs on Solana traded on its marketplace. Regarding the development, Zhuoxun Yin, chief operating office and co-founder of Magic Eden, commented:

“We’re thrilled to have the continued support of our investors and community and look forward to delivering on Solana and beyond.”

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