Aptos partners with South Korea’s Npixel on Web3 games

Aptos partners with South Korea’s Npixel on Web3 games

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Aptos, a heavily supported Layer 1 blockchain, will partner with South Korean game studio Npixel to bring Web3 technology to its gaming initiative platform.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Aptos said Npixel’s millions of players already engaged in its games will be able to securely own and share assets on Aptos’ scalable and easy-to-use network.

This strategic ecosystem partnership with one of South Korea’s fastest growing game developers signals Aptos’ building blockchain-based game projects. It’s interesting because the South Korean gaming companies seem to be all-in on blockchain gaming.

“It’s no surprise to us that the market in South Korea, which is a digital native, is really excited about the technology and what Web3 can add to the consumer experience,” Mo Shaikh, CEO of Aptos, said in an interview with GamesBeat.

And Palo Alto, Calif.-based Aptos has raised more than $400 million to build out its Web3 technology, Shaikh said.

Shaikh said Aptos Network is now live on the market, launched a few weeks ago.

“We are not only the builders of this protocol, but we are now focused on building user-facing applications and tools that will help support Web3 companies where they are today and also help Web2 companies enter this space ,” Shaikh said. “Within Web2, when you look across different industries, gaming has been one of the industries that has been most excited about the potential of Web3. But it has sat on the sidelines. And obviously, with our partnership with Npixel, we’re going to help accelerate that adoption.”

Founded in 2017, Npixel achieved unicorn status with its Series B round in August 2021. The firm is best known for its first massively multiplayer online role-playing game titled Gran Saga, which became a top-grossing game on the Apple App Store with four million downloads since the first launch in Korea and Japan. Npixel aims to expand its user base with the upcoming Gran Saga’s global release this year.

“Our team chose Aptos because of their vision to bring the masses into Web3 through better user experience, outstanding technology, and easy developer onboarding. We couldn’t be more excited about this strategic partnership, not only with Aptos, but also with the Aptos community, ” added Jeonghwan Ko, Head of Blockchain Department of Npixel.

Npixel’s GranSaga game.

This partnership comes at a time when the Web3 gaming industry is in dire need of a makeover, Aptos said. Npixel has top expertise in triple-A quality and engaging gameplay, while Aptos provides a fast-growing ecosystem, scalable network and focus on user and developer experience, the company said.

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“We are excited to partner with one of the world’s largest gaming companies to build the next generation of games on Aptos. This is an amazing opportunity to bring quality gaming and open user ownership together for the first time,” said Shaikh. “The Aptos network was built for the enjoyable development of projects that share a vision of an open and accessible Web3 ecosystem. Working with Npixel has been a dream, and we look forward to optimizing the use cases of the Aptos ecosystem even more when we join these top-level strategic ecosystem partners.”

Origin of Aptos

Aptos founders Mo Shaikh (left) and Avery Ching.

Ching has a PhD in high performance computing and works on things like finite element analysis and protein folding simulations for some of the biggest supercomputers. He also worked on search and data infrastructure to support web search, indexing and analytics.

He then worked for Facebook for 10 years, working on the analytics infrastructure stack across the company. In the last three years at the company, now Meta, he worked on the Libra cryptocurrency project and the Novi wallet. He became technical lead for the cryptocurrency platform team, but Meta chose not to launch it due to opposition.

There he worked with Avery Ching, who became co-founder and CTO at Aptos.

“With every product there along the way, I was building systems that scaled to millions of machines,” he said. “When the project was wound up in Novi, we decided that we weren’t done yet. We had a lot of excitement about the technology and the societal problems we were trying to solve. Many of our team joined us to start Aptos. This company is only about 11 months old, but the passion behind the project has been going on for years.”

Chin said it turned out to be a good thing that the crypto technology — across many different companies — now exists outside of Meta. He said it should not be owned by just one big company. Instead, it should be owned by the people who run it, he said. And Aptos is an Ohlone word for “people.”

“We are obviously happy to be able to realize these ambitions, with Web3 and blockchain. And crypto has often tried to give value back to people, give value back to creators where big platforms have taken advantage and extract that value along the way with middle parties,” Shaikh said. “And we believe in that Web3 mission of bringing that proximity and value creation back to the original creators. Web3 and good architecture allows us to do that. And when you think about, you know, who are not only the creators, but people who consumer, whether it’s art or music, or in-game assets, those people should also be able to benefit from more efficient technology.”

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FTX fallout?

Due to the background of the founders, the company has had good results in raising money. The company raised $400 million from investors such as a16z, FTX Ventures, Jump Crypto, Binance Labs, Katie Haun, Multicoin Capital, PayPal Ventures and Coinbase Ventures. Shaikh noted that the company has received its money from FTX (which is filing for bankruptcy) and took the cash upfront and is therefore not affected.

Regarding the current crypto crisis triggered by the collapse of FTX, Shaikh said he came from a world where managing billions of dollars and trust was very important.

“With the unfortunate circumstances of FTX, we’re seeing how that’s played out. I think it’s impacting the entire space. But overall, we think it’s pretty healthy that bad actors are no longer going to be in the space,” Shaikh said. “And it actually provides an opportunity for people who are very serious about this technology that we talked about, who operate with the best ethics, with fantastic investors to actually step up and take advantage of this opportunity. And that is where our focus is today. Our heads are down and we keep building.”

“We launched our mainnet just a couple of weeks ago, and I’m very excited to see how the ecosystem is building quickly around it,” Ching said in an interview.

On to the metaverse

Npixel builds the metapixel.

Npixels Metapixel is a next-generation Web3 gaming ecosystem that will introduce a metaverse of triple-A gaming IPs, through collaboration with Aptos. By offering quality games with original IPs, true ownership of game assets and pioneering game models, such as free-to-own, to open up a new open economy for players, Metapixel will shape how real Web3 games are perceived, Aptos said.

Ching said the goal was to create a battle-hardened infrastructure that could operate at scale. The company has partnered with Google, which tests and runs validators for the network.
“We get a lot of trust from these large enterprises and gaming companies that rely on our infrastructure versus all the infrastructure that has been out there in the past.”

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Aptos tries to make its technology friendly to users, who don’t have to worry about being hacked and losing everything. You should be able to transfer your assets from one account to another if necessary. You should be able to customize the recovery form if you lose a crypto key. Those kinds of things are very important to a non-technical audience, Ching said. The network must also be robust enough to handle billions of users and transactions.

“It’s designed in a way to protect players, who have spent hours collecting assets or building their identity in different games,” Ching said.

These players should be able to travel through the metaverse and bring their possessions from one place to another in an open manner with true portability.

Aptos is helping Npixel with its metavere plans.

“It’s very exciting to see these game companies with hundreds of millions of users and an awareness of how to build games come into this,” Ching said.

The company has more than 90 people and there are developers in the ecosystem working on more than 200 projects.

As for the backlash from players against scams in blockchain games, Shaikh said they are aware of those concerns, and there are good reasons for them, given “the events of last week.” But Shaikh said those who invest a lot of time in the subject see this as the future.

“[The companies in this space are] looking for the right technology partners who are very long-term thinkers in the space,” Shaikh said. “They want to build for not just one or two games, but for a period of five or ten years, and they want technology partners they can trust.”

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