Jason Fung, the former head of the TikToks gaming division, is the first co-founder of a blockchain gaming business as the buzz surrounding blockchain games intensifies, while industry leaders remain wary.
The 34-year-old left TikTok last month after two years with the company, and his departure comes as TikTok and its Chinese parent ByteDance have been aggressively expanding into the $300 billion (nearly Rs. 23,700 crore) global gaming market in an effort to challenge Tencent Holdingsan, which has had mixed results so far.
It also reflects an increasing interest among entrepreneurs and investors in blockchain games, a new generation of online games built on blockchains that allow players to trade items in the form of non-fungible tokens.
Fung, whose new business is Meta0, said he left TikTok after seeing an opportunity to offer a solution to the current dichotomy of infrastructure solutions available to developers who want to create blockchain games.
If you look at any developer who wants to use NFTs or blockchain in their games, they must choose a single blockchain, be it Polygon, Solana, or Binance Smart Chain, but imagine a more interoperable option, he told Reuters in Hong Kong, referring to popular existing blockchains.
So we've decided, let's get together and start a new business, according to Fung, who was based in Shenzhen and had reported to TikToks' chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas.
Meta0s' founding team consists of six members in addition to the two co-founders, and the company has completed a first round of investment, according to Fung.
He declined to reveal the identities of the other co-founder, the rest of the team, or the extent of the investment. The company was attempting to raise funds through issuing tokens, as well as from venture capitalists and strategic investors.
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Blockchain games are said to be disrupting the gaming industry as cryptocurrencies may make virtual items more transferable and even transfer game ownership to players. However, some games are also linked with scams, and the virtual economies of some games have collapsed shortly after users bought in.
Tencent, Sony, and Microsoft are among the most well-known gaming companies that have yet to make any significant investments in blockchain games.
Fung, TikTok's global head of strategy and operations for gaming, was charged with expanding gaming content and testing new features such as hosting mini-games on the app.
During Fung's tenure, TikTok and ByteDance both expanded heavily into gaming, with ByteDances acquiring Moonton, a gaming company that was worth $4 billion (nearly Rs. 31,700 crore). TikTok is testing mini-game features on its app.
The ByteDances mobile game business had reported more over $1 billion (nearly Rs. 7,900 crore) in revenue over the previous twelve months.
101 Studio, located in Shanghai, was dismantled last month, killing half of the company's 300-plus employees. 101 Studio was the first development unit ByteDance has closed due to its poor performance.
When asked who might take his place at TikTok, Fung, who headed Alibaba Group Holding and Electronic Arts in Asia, declined to respond.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Blockchain games have become one of the most popular investments discussed by crypto tycoons from Silicon Valley to Dubai, despite some in the industry's prudence.
According to a study by investment banking firm Drake Star Partners in April, the blockchain gaming industry raised a record $1.2 billion (nearly Rs. 9,500 crore) in the first quarter.
Fung said, "We have a protocol for game developers," and we take a flexible, blockchain-agnostic approach to their game development. Looking ahead for blockchain gaming,"
Developers may easily customize their game-based on the strengths of various blockchains, and they may transfer their NFTs across the network.
2022 Thomson Reuters