November 28, 2022

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Kyu Lee interview — Why Com2Us Holdings pivoted into blockchain video games

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Kyu Lee, president of Com2Us USA, has been making cellular video games like Summoners Conflict for a few years. However a couple of years in the past, the entire corporate began exploring making video games the usage of blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

In 2020, the Seoul-based corporate invested in Coinone, a large cryptocurrency change in South Korea, and it invested in Wysiwyg Studio. It appeared for companions and invested in Animoca Manufacturers, Sandbox, Upland, and Legendary Video games. It additionally rebranded itself globally from Gamevil to Com2Us Holdings.

And now the corporate is pivoting in a significant method, going past free-to-play cellular video games that experience introduced it nice prosperity and partnerships with manufacturers just like the NBA. Its whole group of workers is diving into NFT video games and different blockchain generation, and it’s going to focal point on them in the similar method that it centered at the transition to free-to-play mobiel video games a few years in the past.

This makes Com2Us probably the most largest cellular recreation firms to transport into NFT video games. Established in 1998 and headquartered in South Korea, Com2uS become a subsidiary of cellular recreation writer Gamevil in 2013 (and now the entire corporate is Com2Us Holdings). Com2Us’ Summoners Conflict has greater than 100 million downloads and $2 billion in gross sales.

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Com2Us video games coming quickly come with Chromatic Soul: AFK, Kritika: the White Knights, Mission MR , and Summoners Conflict: Chronicles. Blockchain video games coming quickly come with Baseball Superstars, Global of Zenonia, and The Nice Service provider.

I caughter up with Lee about this pivot and quizzed him about it. Right here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

Above: Kyu Lee is president of Com2Us.

Symbol Credit score: Com2Us

GamesBeat: It seems like a large pivot for Gamevil and Com2Us. Are you able to communicate concerning the context and the background?

Kyu Lee: In 2020 we began making an investment in Coinone. Coinone is the 3rd biggest crypto change in South Korea. We have been all the time normally within the blockchain house, however we didn’t have any motion pieces, with the intention to discuss. We knew that there was once a large number of traction there. We knew we had to learn about it somewhat extra. We made up our minds to spend money on an change. That will be one of the best ways to begin studying.

After that, NBA Most sensible Shot came visiting. As a result of we’re additionally very concerned within the sports activities collectible marketplace in many ways – we’ve 4 video games with Primary League Baseball, and we even have a recreation with the NBA – we have been making an attempt to determine NFTs. We have been considering this was once going to be mass marketplace. It’s a large sign {that a} most sensible logo just like the NBA was once getting on most sensible of that.

After we noticed the numbers arising from Axie Infinity, we performed the sport. We noticed that there’s such a lot alternative. There are such a lot of hurdles within the recreation that it was once implausible, however it was once additionally implausible that it was once producing that a lot benefit, and such a lot of other people have been enjoying. That’s what were given us into it. We began chatting with our inside manufacturing groups to make this factor actual. We began making ready, researching the video games. Our CEO, Yong Kuk Lee, has a large number of passion on this house. He’s all the time been interested by the metaverse and all of that.

What took place within the interim, we bought an organization referred to as Wysiwyg Studios. Wysiwyg Studios is a publicly indexed South Korean corporate. They’re at the start a VFX studio. They’ve executed a large number of issues within the metaverse preparation house, with the intention to discuss. But if we bought them, we did it as a result of we idea Netflix was once the brand new app retailer for the entire TV manufacturing firms in South Korea. There’s such a lot nice ability in South Korea, however they have been solely distributing their content material throughout the native TV provider suppliers. With Netflix, there’s more space for–there’s a large corporate referred to as Studio Dragon that does a large number of distribution thru Netflix. We idea there was once a lot more play to be executed, so we idea we will have to gain Wysiwyg and roll up a large number of TV manufacturing studios beneath it.

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There’s a large number of synergies between the leisure trade, the webtoons, the IP introduction that they’re doing. They all the time sought after to spouse with a gaming corporate and we all the time sought after to enlarge our IP. We’ve executed that thru our partnership with Skybound, however how are we able to do extra of this? That was once the imaginative and prescient we had. All of these items pointed in a path the place we needed to cross Web3. We needed to do metaverse. We needed to do blockchain gaming. We needed to do NFTs. That’s how we ended up making an investment in Sweet.com. Sweet.com has the unique rights for Primary League Baseball NFTs. We went in with Perception and Softbank. We installed $10 million of funding there.

Above: Com2Us Holdings is transferring into blockchain video games.

Symbol Credit score: Com2Us

Whilst our corporate was once transferring its manufacturing groups over, in search of the fitting blockchain and the fitting companions, we idea that cash may just transfer quicker. We began chatting with the entire most sensible avid gamers within the blockchain gaming and metaverse house. That’s how we ended up making an investment in Animoca Manufacturers, Sandbox, Upland, and Legendary Video games. The ones have been the 4 investments that we additionally did. Those have been all beautiful late-stage, already established firms, however it was once a good way to get our foot in and perceive what’s happening, construct relationships throughout the ecosystem, and in addition advertise that we don’t seem to be solely only a gaming corporate, however we’ve ambitions to change into a blockchain gaming corporate too.

I believe it labored out beautiful smartly. When we began doing the ones investments–all of those have been oversubscribed rounds, however I believe everybody was once satisfied to have a gaming corporate. We’re now not the largest gaming corporate on this planet, however we’re a longtime gaming corporate approaching their cap desk. They have been very welcoming of our access into the gap. All of them made room for us to take a position. We’re more than pleased about that. Now we’re browsing at much more firms to spend money on, even at previous levels. We wish to change into like what Animoca is doing. That appears in point of fact cool.

Our method within–we considered a large number of other chains. There are such a lot of nice chains and answers that we can have followed. In my view, I like what Solana is doing and the way they’re build up an ecosystem that’s going to be superior to run video games, as a result of the rate and all that. However we made up our minds to paintings with Terra. Terra being a South Korean corporate and such a longtime corporate within the crypto house–they’ve a great ecosystem. I used to be beautiful stunned that they weren’t as well known within the west. It sort of feels like even throughout the previous few months, even though, they’ve been gaining such a lot traction.

While you’re solely doing a stablecoin play or a DeFi play, it doesn’t achieve a large number of traction a number of the app builders or the leisure house, the place we’re. When they introduced their sensible contracts I’m seeing such a lot of initiatives being constructed on Terra. Simply studying throughout the masses of pages of paperwork in English is a tricky one to swallow for our construction crew. Having a South Korean crew–Do Kwan, the CEO, is fantastic. Having his crew to lend a hand us was once an ideal are compatible. We’re more than pleased with the connection that we’ve got with Terra. We’re development an NFT market that’s going to have Ok-pop stars and the entire leisure manufacturers we’ve. It’s going to be about gaming too. We’re additionally going to make use of them as our blockchain spouse. We’re going to construct wallets in combination and the whole thing else we wish to provider our video games.

Above: Com2Us is operating on a couple of blockchain video games.

Symbol Credit score: Com2Us

GamesBeat: It sort of feels like about as complete a pivot as you want to do. Are you making plans to nonetheless do non-NFT, non-blockchain cellular video games?

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Lee: There are nonetheless a large number of restrictions on the place we will be able to provider our video games and the place we will be able to’t. The very fascinating factor that I discovered, even though, is that while you step into this facet of the arena, the opposite facet appears to be like so stale and uninteresting. I’ve been telling my buddies–all of those other people, after they step into this new global, everyone talks about the similar factor. This seems like the way it felt when cellular was once beginning. Simply having that really feel of pleasure and studying the whole thing that you’ll be able to. Ensuring that you just’re at the beat at all times. That during itself is so rewarding.

We nonetheless have a large number of merchandise which can be going to release as scheduled. However I believe a large number of our manufacturing heads are changing into a lot more open-minded about transferring over. They’ve been launching recreation after recreation. They most certainly wanted one thing new like this.

GamesBeat: The builders themselves are taken with going this path, then?

Lee: Sure, sure. This empowers you in a large number of tactics. I solely spotted how–when the App Retailer first came visiting, I believed, “Oh, let’s have a digital forex that may run throughout all of our video games. Let’s make a marketplace the place the customers should purchase and promote.” We had those concepts. However by way of following the principles, we contained ourselves into a set state of mind. With all of those blockchain applied sciences enabling recreation builders, you understand, “Oh, I forgot that lets do this!” We run into such a lot of of the ones moments. It’s any other useful gizmo for recreation builders to precise themselves. If you wish to use that instrument, we wish to inspire that.

Clearly there are going to be a large number of video games that paintings higher within the Web2 global. However there are going to be lots of latest sorts of video games that we’ll see within the Web3 global.

GamesBeat: Is there a definite proportion of the corporate that’s devoted to operating in this, or is principally everybody operating on it?

Lee: At this level, it’s everybody. The order is coming from the highest in our corporate. Everybody goes to move throughout the tutorial curve. We began out having a small crew, however now that there are such a large amount of other initiatives concerned–it’s now not the rest secret, and it’s now not only one or two initiatives. We’ve already introduced round 10 initiatives for the brand new yr. We pivoted a large number of the video games we have been making plans to release this yr or early subsequent yr, and we’re repositioning them so that they have got a play-to-earn or NFT facet.

For those who take into account when in-app purchases first got here out at the App Retailer, I don’t suppose each and every recreation unexpectedly went over to free-to-play, following the real spirit of free-to-play. There have been some restricted adoption efforts. I believe we’ll undergo that very same procedure. Now not the whole thing could also be absolutely baked in. We’ll be informed so much. We’ll fail so much, however no less than from a gaming standpoint, I believe we’re bringing within the best-looking video games. The entire video games I’ve checked out up to now, they’re excellent, however they’re tremendous prime manufacturing high quality. Numerous the video games we’re freeing even within the subsequent yr were in construction for 4 or 5 years.

Com2Us started in 1998.

Above: Com2Us began in 1998 and merged with Gamevil in 2013.

Symbol Credit score: Com2Us

GamesBeat: Did you notice the Ubisoft announcement about NFTs in Ghost Recon Breakpoint?

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Lee: I noticed the hyperlink.

GamesBeat: It’s the tiniest of steps. I believe it’s intended to coach the marketplace and get other people to simply accept it. It’s an excessively strictly managed distribution to those who performed a large number of the Ghost Recon recreation. Or even those that purchase in at the secondary marketplace must have performed the sport as smartly. They’re now not promoting the NFTs. They’re being as cautious as you’ll be able to going into this. [Ubisoft pulled down a video due to lots of negative feedback].

Lee: There’s going to be a large number of child steps. However the ones video games are going to appear a lot better. Numerous the more moderen initiatives which can be ranging from the bottom up in our studios, they’ll most certainly attempt to consider how they are able to undertake the generation up to imaginable. However the ones video games will take any other two, 3, 4, then again a few years. Who is aware of? There will likely be such a lot of new tendencies.

At this time we noticed Axie Infinity. Everyone’s considering in that mentality. In South Korea there was once a recreation referred to as Mir4, made by way of Wemade. That recreation was once utterly the other. They switched a free-to-play recreation and simply added a small quantity of play-to-earn sides. Now unexpectedly persons are knowing you’ll be able to do that. There’s going to be a large number of swings, even inside of our manufacturing groups, round how they’re going to design those new sorts of economies. That’s how I see it.

GamesBeat: Have you ever noticed any resistance from players? I do know Ubisoft has run into a few of that these days. It sort of feels just like the extra hardcore players, they affiliate this with such things as loot containers and scams and competitive monetization.

Lee: We haven’t noticed that a lot from our customers but. I’ve noticed it round different video games. Even Cookie Run, at certainly one of our sister recreation firms, they introduced they have been going to do Cookie Run NFTs and so they confronted an enormous backlash. We’ll have to look. The similar factor took place as everybody was once transferring over to free-to-play and the usage of such things as loot containers. It’s going to require a large number of schooling. We’re filling in an opening, I believe, and we’re going to supply a lot more worth to our customers on the identical time.

Even crypto itself nonetheless has a large number of unfavourable associations round it, whether or not it’s environmental affect or cash laundering and all of that. However it’s this type of robust instrument. We simply have to check out to make use of it the fitting method.

Com2Us

Above: Kritika: the White Knights is coming in Q1 2022.

Symbol Credit score: Com2Us

GamesBeat: How quickly are a few of these issues going to reach? Are you browsing at 2022?

Lee: I don’t know what’s going to come back first. Our schedules all the time exchange. Many of the video games are going to come back across the heart of subsequent yr, even though.

GamesBeat: The rest you’d like to say these days?

Lee: Numerous the time we really feel like we’re transferring in speedy ahead. We wish to be in a number one place. That can imply we take the bullets. However we wish to pave the best way. We’re very thinking about this new alternative. It’s going to be amusing.

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