Right now, there is widespread skepticism about the real value of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Indeed, while most NFTs are 2D images, it can be difficult to see why some hold them as so promising. However, many people in the emerging technology space believe that NFTs will really shine in spaces like AR/VR, and the metaverse.
These blockchain-based virtual assets have already found a home in some VR environments, including Spatial and Ready Player Me. The tokens’ use in augmented reality applications has yet to be realized but one of the companies planning to bring about this convergence is the AR game Izumi World. We talked with CEO Grant Stanley to learn more about this vision.
AR Game Izumi World
Izumi World started to emerge late last year with a published whitepaper and the launch of their website. Early this year, the company began outreach programs, partnerships, and filling more strategic roles within the company.
The first NFTs are scheduled to release in April and will grant benefits to early adopters as well as fund the AR game’s ongoing development. It is important to note that these “Trainer Passes” will not be required to play the game. The game will be entirely free-to-play for players that aren’t interested in putting real-world money into the game.
“We wanted to make [the game] more accessible to the mainstream and pay-to-play is really an obstacle in the industry,” said Stanley.
Later this summer, Izumi World plans to launch an in-game marketplace where investors/players will be able to buy, sell, and trade Izumi assets as NFTs. Later this year, the AR game is scheduled to have its own coin which, although not yet listed, already has a name reserved on platforms like CoinMarketCap.
Some of the first NFTs that players will encounter are the Izumi themselves. The Izumi are the mythical creatures that players will catch and battle throughout the game. Other tokenized items throughout the game will also include customization items for avatars and other in-game items. Finally, players will be able to purchase virtual real estate to store extra items and assets.
While players have the option to purchase the Izumi from the platform or from other players, Izumi can also be captured in the wild. The Izumi can then battle to earn the tokens used to purchase other in-game assets – or sold themselves.
Building a New World
Izumi World is being built on Ethereum, though transactions will be enabled through a Layer 2 protocol like Polygon or Immutable X. While Izumi World is not currently in talks with cross-platform organizations like MetaMask, building on Ethereum may mean that the AR game’s assets will one day be compatible with other immersive experiences and platforms.
All blockchain elements of the game will be accessible through a browser portal. This will streamline the play experience for gamers who aren’t interested in NFTs and will make the game more compliant with mobile app marketplaces. In keeping with the goal of accessibility, Izumi World will be launched as a mobile AR game.
“Augmented reality is very easy to adopt compared to virtual reality. We saw that with Pokémon Go,” said Stanley. “I say Pokémon Go because that’s the AR-standard game that a lot of people know but there have been a lot of AR games since then.”
While mobile means accessibility right now, it also has a lot of promise in terms of hardware options down the road. Many XR experts believe that AR glasses in the near future will be reliant on current-day mobile devices for their computing power.
“Apple is working on AR glasses and we really want to be first-movers in this space,” said Stanley. “We really are excited to be innovating like this for AR.”
AR, NFTs, and Gaming All in One App?
In some ways, the promise of Izumi World is the metaverse/Web3 space in microcosm. The convergence of spatial information, augmented reality, ownership of assets, and optimizing for a hardware environment that is largely in flux itself can make promises seem too good to be true.
The current roadmap calls for a beta version of the NFT-driven AR game by the end of the year with a full launch early next year. You can keep an eye on Izumi World by checking out their website linked above, but you can be sure that ARPost will be following them as well.