With plans to sell thousands of NFT avatars, augmented reality (AR) startup Jadu is betting gamers will want to own and invest in personal video game characters.
At the end of August, the Los Angeles-based company will sell 11,111 robot avatars, called AVAs, which can be used as playable characters on Jadu’s upcoming mobile app. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, will also come with commercial rights, meaning holders could – hypothetically – slap a character’s likeness onto a t-shirt and sell it.
Selling avatars is the latest step in Jadu’s quest to create an AR gaming platform that lets players roam the real world with their NFT avatars. The startup raised a $36 million Series A round in May to work on the concept.
NFTs are digital assets whose ownership and authenticity can be verified using blockchain technology. The much-hyped technology has most often been applied to digital art and collectibles, but game companies have also tried to integrate NFTs into their virtual worlds. This gave gamers unique digital items to play with, while providing gaming companies with a new revenue stream. In the future, avatar accessories may also transfer from game to game.
This idea faced significant backlash. Some gamers and developers call NFTs exploitative and unfair in gaming, and Microsoft’s “Minecraft” recently announced that it will no longer allow NFTs to integrate into the game. Microsoft subsidiary Mojang described NFTs as “a digital property based on scarcity and exclusion”.
In an interview with Venture Beat, Jadu Founder and CEO Asad J. Malik said he “completely agrees[s] with the gaming community’s critique of NFTs.
“We are not a traditional game company,” Malik told the outlet. “We are fundamentally an AR company and our mission is always to bring new forms of AR to people in a very experimental and immersive way. We want to create forms of AR that didn’t exist before. »
Jadu has developed an AR mobile app that connects to players’ Ethereum (ETH) wallets, allowing them to turn 3D animated NFTs into playable avatars. The app can embed avatars from NFT collections such as CyberKongz and FLUF.
Jadu also sold avatar accessories like jetpacks and hoverboards as NFTs. The startup has earned more than $5 million from initial NFT sales, Malik previously told dot.LA, and earns a 5% commission on the roughly $25 million in secondary sales these NFTs have made so far. day on platforms like OpenSea.
The company’s own avatars will go on sale August 30, for 0.222 ETH, or roughly $365 at press time. All proceeds will go to a “community treasury” aimed at expanding Jadu’s intellectual property. The treasury, governed by Jadu AVA holders, will fund members’ events and projects, such as movies or music videos using their NFT characters.
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