Is Activision Blizzard Interested in NFT Gaming?

UpOnly | Research #7: Warcraft maker blows “hot and cold” on blockchain gaming amid increased funding for ecosystem projects

Blockchain gaming continues its meteoric rise to prominence and can no longer be ignored by the biggest players in the traditional gaming world. This week’s headline story hints at a possible play-to-earn debut for Activision Blizzard, the gaming studio behind renowned action games Warcraft and Diablo.

In an amazing series of events, the game developer signaled intent and also denied any potential involvement with the industry. Meanwhile, new multi-million funds are being set-up to back blockchain gaming startups while established companies seek to raise funding at a significantly higher valuation.

This week’s UpOnly | Research brings you a roundup of these developments. We specifically consider why potential Activision Blizzard involvement could boost mainstream adoption of play-to-earn gaming platforms.

Activision Blizzard polls gamers on play-to-earn and NFTs

In a recent survey reportedly sent to a selected audience of gamers, Activision Blizzard quizzed users about a potential introduction of play-to-earn and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into its existing game offerings. The survey was hosted by British market research firm YouGov and specifically asked if users were interested in emerging gaming trends including play-to-earn and NFTs.

(Source: @OTadaka on Twitter)

The survey sparked controversy within the gaming community on Twitter, with players taking either side of the debate. A discussion of the potential integration of play-to-earn dynamics into some of the world’s most famous gaming titles arguably promotes mainstream education around the emerging trend.

To be clear, the survey is not an indication that the developer is diving into blockchain gaming. President Mike Ybarra was quick to deny the rumors by tweeting, “No one is doing NFTs,” to a post referring to the recent poll. Given the company’s ongoing legal lawsuits, it cannot risk losing further public confidence by introducing a technology that most gamers are still learning to live with.

The Activision Blizzard poll does provide a unique insight, namely, that the company is keeping tabs on blockchain gaming and even considers it worthy enough to put on a public survey. The gaming studio has an estimated playerbase of 400 million players, many of whom will probably get their first taste of play-to-earn gaming if the company chooses to tap into the field. Given that major competitors such as Ubisoft, Konami and Square Enix are already experimenting with NFT gaming, a turnaround by Blizzards is definitely not off the cards.

Frameworks Ventures launches $400M fund with large cut for blockchain gaming

Frameworks Ventures, a crypto-focused venture capital firm, recently announced the launch of a new $400 million fund. Per the firm, approximately half of the fund, or some $200 million, would be invested into the burgeoning blockchain gaming industry.

Frameworks anticipates an “explosion of growth” over the next year as blockchain games finally begin to have the same level of thrill and experience synonymous with traditional gaming environments. Frameworks is notable for early funding of decentralized finance (DeFi) projects including Chainlink, Aave and The Graph. Hence, a focus on blockchain gaming provides a clear signal to other large-scale investors and could lead to an influx of funding required to onboard more gamers to play-to-earn.

The Sandbox seeks funding at $4 billion valuation

Metaverse gaming startup The Sandbox is seeking to raise fresh funding at a $4 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported this week. The deal, which is likely to go through given growing interest in established Metaverse environments, could see The Sandbox raise as much as $400 million.

The Sandbox, an Animoca Brands portfolio company, already scored a big win when it became the first mainstream crypto project backed by SoftBank in a $93 million Series B round back in November. The Sandbox has also welcomed world-class corporations such as JP Morgan, HSBC, Adidas and Gucci to its Metaverse in the past year. The Metaverse platform recently crossed the 2 million user milestone and remains one of the most valuable crypto gaming projects with a $3.3 billion market capitalization.

The growing level of interest in blockchain gaming from traditional companies is as remarkable as the increased injection of funds into the industry. Both factors suggest that barring any unforeseen developments, it is only a matter of time until play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming becomes a global standard. Hence, new and existing investors must continue to embrace a data-driven approach when building a portfolio to tap into possible future growth.

UpOnly’s week in brief

About UpOnly

UpOnly is a first-of-its kind data directory dedicated to providing insightful and actionable data on the play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming fields. Our solution addresses a market that is left largely uncovered by other data providers and we aim to become a one-stop-shop for gamers worldwide to identify the most lucrative play-to-earn and optimize their performance within these gamers. Alongside our data directory, we will launch a decentralized predictions platform that will allow anyone globally to bet on the outcome of play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming events.

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