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Jadu announces that he will release thousands of avatars built on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as he prepares for the augmented reality metaverse.
By the end of August, the Los Angeles-based company plans to sell 11,111 avatars, or AVAs, that can be uniquely owned through blockchain authentication, Jadu CEO Asad J. Malik said in an interview with GamesBeat. .
The NFT sale is part of a larger ambition to create a real-world AR gaming experience and ecosystem with a continuous narrative that keeps players coming back to a place that blends animations and physical reality in a kind of storytelling about mixed reality.
Jadu has raised a lot of money to date — $45 million to date, including a $36 million round led by Bain Capital Crypto — and he’s also sold a variety of AR items in the past, like virtual hoverboards and jetbacks. New avatars will be able to use these items to maneuver around the game world.
The 3D playable avatars are called Jadu AVA and they will be the focus of the gameplay. In the story, the Avatars are robots that crashed on Earth through a mysterious portal from another world. Each AVA belongs to one of the 5 types Blink, Rukus, Disc, Yve & Aura.
When minting NFTs, partners will provide collections. These partners include FLUF, Meebits, VOIDs, Chibi Apes, CyberKongz and CryptoWalkers. These partners have helped the company accelerate its AR items in the past.
Previously, the company partnered with Elton John to auction a one-of-a-kind Rocket Man Jadu Hoverboard NFT for 75 ETH (Ethereum’s cryptocurrency), the largest NFT hoverboard sale to date. , with all proceeds donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). He also teamed up with seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton; grimace; Snoop Dogg; visual artist, Mimi Onuoha and NFT curator, Trippy on her NFT hoverboards.
Malik said the company will use the proceeds from the NFT sale later this month to set up the AVA Community Treasury, which will use the funds on behalf of the community.
Avatars are designed to work with augmented reality because they are designed for augmented reality. The game will have multiple chapters in a story. Avatars will be able to perform parkour maneuvers. And this is how the company will gradually launch its ecosystem.
“The community element is really key,” Malik said. “It’s like treating our members and our players as citizens.”
Around $5 million can come from the sale of NFT avatars, and the company will use them to create a community treasury where the community can discuss how to use the resources. Instead of focusing on a game with millions of people, the company is now focusing on getting 10,000 or 20,000 hardcore players in the first place.
Malik immigrated to the US at the age of 18 to study, and he started an AR project at the Tribeca Film Festival and founded Jadu about seven years ago. Malik’s mission is to reverse the trend of digital experiences that disconnect us from the physical world.
The company has a full team of people in Pakistan (they are paid in US dollars and are doing well despite the instability there) working on blockchain technology. Jadu has also hired people who have been laid off at other tech companies amid the current downturn. The company employs around 50 employees.
“We’re attracting people who want to create proper AR gameplay,” Malik said. “The basic type of AR we’re doing is gameplay-driven. AR has always been a first-person medium where you play with things. What we’re doing is making it a third-person game. So instead of being the player, you have an avatar and see that avatar in your room and you control it with a joystick on the screen.
He added: “And the avatar goes and does all the interactions on your behalf. The avatar can ride a hoverboard and ride a jetpack and do a wallflip. A lot of the AR that we build is focused on the avatar going through different interactions. And our first step is to launch a lot of gameplay ourselves, so we are currently building the first season of our world.
Early on, Malik worked on AR experiences for film festivals, and some of his work is taught in AR and hologram courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. He released a project for Magic Leap in 2019, building holograms for musicians.
“We were playing around with AR storytelling,” Malik said.
And now it’s building an AR gaming platform. Over the past 2.5 years, the team has founded Jadu with the goal of bringing a richer form of AR technology and narrative storytelling to mobile games.
“Over the last year we’ve switched to Web 3,” he said. “We released our own collection of jetpacks in AR, and then we released these hoverboards that worked in AR. Nothing ever made sense. When we started seeing the NFTshop, we thought it was a new way to capture value.
As NFTs started to take off last year, the company started focusing on AR games in the Web3 space. Players will be able to play in AR with their own 3D avatars. Jadu raised about $5 million from NFT sales, and he also saw about $30 million in secondary trades for his jump bikes and hoverboards.
“We’ve been working on it for the last six months or so,” Malik said. “We have a lot of resources behind this.”
Prepared for tough times
I asked if the company had encountered resistance to its NFT sale. Malik said he agrees with criticism of NFT companies that have not behaved well by launching sloppy articles or engaging in fraudulent behavior.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the gaming community’s criticism of NFTs,” he said. “We are not a traditional gaming company. We are fundamentally an AR company, and our mission is always to bring new forms of AR to people in a highly experimental and immersive way. We want to create forms of AR that did not exist before. »
As for the crypto winter, Malik said the company has a track record for the next three years or so. This assures the company that it has time to properly develop its products and wait for players to embrace the AR multiplayer market.
Mostly, the company’s target audience is people who are already part of the crypto and NFT ecosystem. They are familiar with crypto wallets and are early adopters of the technology.
“We’re going to hit a tipping point where it will feel really good, it will feel ready for a wider mainstream audience. And then we move on to them,” said Malik.
Over the next 30 days, the company will roll out tools that players can use to make posts that others can vote on and more. And once the NFT avatars are released, the company will launch new chapters of its stories to players.
Malik said he hopes the movement to create interoperable NFTs and an open metaverse will evolve so that the company’s own avatars can be used across multiple platforms and apps. But it may be further in the future for now.
“In theory, that’s also what we’re aiming for,” he said. “At the same time, I would say that it is not a huge priority. It is something we are aligned with ideologically. But if another virtual world has 600 users, we’re not going to spend our time creating assets for that world right now.
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