Krafton, the studio behind PUBGannounced that collaboration with blockchain company Solana Labs† Under the deal, the two companies will collaborate on the development, operation, design and marketing of “blockchain- and NFT-based games and services.” Solana Labs is developing the Solana blockchain, an Ethereum competitor designed to provide high transaction speeds at a low cost.
The partnership comes just over a month after Krafton announced his intention to enter the world of blockchain gaming and said it would be working with Naver Z to “build a new Web 3.0 and non-fungible token (NFT) project aimed at building an NFT metaverse platform.”
The important context for these deals is the Krafton share price. The Financial Times notes it has fallen sharply this year in the face of fierce competition from Chinese rivals, pouring into their home market South Korea after a crackdown by regulators in Beijing. In response, Korean developers are reportedly racing to develop “play-to-earn” titles that integrate blockchain technology to boost revenue.
Krafton’s deals come as some Western developers have had to publicly distance themselves from blockchain gaming products after backlash from fans and developers alike. STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl developer GSC Game World publicly backed down on its plans to add NFTs to the upcoming game, while Team17 left its NFT project after Bee least three of its development partners expressed their opposition to the plans.
The South Korean studio has not announced which of its titles will see the addition of blockchain functionality or whether it will be integrated into its flagship PUBG series. The game’s PC title had a strong in popularity earlier this year after free-to-play, while PUBG mobile has been downloaded more than 1 billion times. A second free-to-play PUBG mobile game, PUBG: New Conditioncame out last year.
“Krafton will continue to find ways to work closely with blockchain companies like Solana Labs as we build our Web 3.0 ecosystem,” said Hyungchul Park, the leader of Krafton’s Web 3.0 roundtable. “Solana represents the best of the Web 3.0 ecosystem and its technologies. Through this partnership, Krafton will gain the insight needed to accelerate its investment in and output of blockchain-based experiences.”