Millennials and Gen X adults might have fond memories of childhood in a bygone era – happy days spent racing tiny metal Hot Wheels cars on precarious loops of loops, arranging dolls American Girl at the tea table while lunch cooks on a Fisher-Price polyvinyl cooker. But their children will make different memories.
Today’s 12-year-olds may still own Hot Wheels, but ride them through simulated mountain ranges halfway around the world. Or American Girls, whom they enlist to battle mobs of pixelated jungle creatures on a virtual quest to defeat a final boss.
In our time, this is possible thanks to the power of imagination and a new collaboration between legacy toymaker Mattel and Cryptoys, a platform for playable NFTs.
Through the partnership, to be announced later today, some of Mattel’s most beloved intellectual properties, including legendary Hot Wheels heroes American Girl, Thomas the Tank Engine, Polly Pocket, Barbie and Masters of the Universe, will be transformed into playable avatars on Cryptoys, although it has not been specified which brands will be part of the partnership.
The avatars will be sold as NFTs and will debut on the Cryptoys “metaverse”. Developed by OnChain Studios and funded by Andreessen Horowitz and Dapper Labs, the Cryptoys platform is built on the carbon-efficient Flow blockchain, which allows NFTs to engage in a range of mini-games for phone, tablet or desktop . Think of it as the Zynga of Web3, where you have creator privileges to introduce your own custom skins – and possibly your own rules, by coding original games through an open-source blockchain infrastructure, which the platform strives to reach.
Its metaverse “flavor”, as its founder Will Weinraub tells fast companyis the casual gaming ecosystem, the Bejeweled and doodle jumps world, which together dominate a market of more than 3 billion casual gamers.
“We are not building the Web3 version of Warcrafthe says, noting that these sprawling, immersive games take years to build and can be surrounded by high financial and technological barriers to player entry. Meanwhile, Cryptoys, if it received licensing fees for, say, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, could within months launch a mini-game where you tap the screen to launch disgruntled primates on a Tetris d ‘ obstacles (call it, “Angry Monkeys,” maybe). Another nod to Web 2.0, the games will be launched on browsers to begin with.
But make no mistake: the company, along with Mattel, is on a mission to discover “the future of toys” and what it looks like in our changing world. Last June, Mattel became the first toymaker to make an NFT, and in November it released a Hot Wheels collection that sold out within an hour, followed by a joint drop between Barbie and the fashion house. Balmain luxury. It is now the first toy company to partner with Cryptoys.
“There’s no question the playing field is getting bigger,” said Mattel Chairman Richard Dickson. fast company. “We want to be at the forefront of this evolution of toys in the physical and digital worlds. . . our business takes us to where the consumer is, and that includes the metaverse and NFTs.
In other words, rather than buying a $50 action figure to play in their bedroom, kids could buy a $50 NFT to play as an avatar in a virtual universe.
planet of avatars
Despite the Zynga metaphor, Weinraub describes Cryptoys as the Nintendo native of Web3, where the platform is the console and the avatars are the cartridges, each unlocking a unique set of character-specific games.
And these next-gen avatars are far from static. Cryptoys employs a team of artificial intelligence that will develop your NFT’s brain over time, imbuing it with skills learned as you interact with it, like a Neopet, with which you can have conversations of increasingly sophisticated. In the gaming world, your NFT could go from a combat rookie to a super soldier. Maybe one day there could be a bustling secondary market for NFTs that have been turned into god-tiers.
But for now, Cryptoys is focused on the launch, which will take place at the end of the summer, followed by several other licensing partnerships. It will also remove NFTs for a handful of original characters – a cat, a corgi and a panda – which its website depicts in scenarios requiring a lab coat and goggles, a pair of roller blades, an aviator helmet and a karate gi.
The nature of the games made for Mattel properties has yet to be revealed, but it is suggested that they will be similar to classic web games: arcade style, carnival style, puzzles and infinity runners. And despite Mattel’s toddler-friendly reputation, Cryptoys will start out being limited to 18+ – given the logistics of owning an NFT, opening a digital wallet, and so on. – but will eventually offer parent-controlled wallets for minors.
With the eruption of “profile picture” NFTs being sold in markets since the start of 2021, playable metaverse characters seem like an obvious next step, but it’s still been a step that hasn’t been easy, companies just beginning to experiment in the last half -year.
“Interactive NFTs have a whole new level of complexity – you build on game engines like Unity or Unreal, you need 3D modeling artists, texture artists, you need to conceptualize the experiences around those characters, because they can’t just sit there and do nothing,” Weinraub says. “There are a lot of layers to the process.”
And progress is further hampered by the fact that the serious gaming community has staunchly refused to embrace NFTs, with crypto forays from major studios like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft meeting a fierce backlash from fans.
But now, Weinraub predicts, a new boom is coming that could take the crypto out of its current bear market and into its next bull run. “Next year, I think many of the projects funded in the first bull run two years ago will start to see the light of day, which will spark a wave of entertainment and utility around NFTs,” says- he. . “It just takes a while to build.”