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Illuvium controversy, Aurory Prologue review, Fornite CEO salty, Assassin’s Creed NFTs: Web3 Gamer

Illuvium CEO Kieran Warwick has once again been in the thick of a controversy, this time taking aim at applicants seeking to join Illuvium DAO’s marketing sub-council.

Warwick, who is not coincidentally also the game studio’s chief marketing officer, took to Twitter on May 9 to say that the DAO faced a “significant challenge,” with the sub-DAO hopefuls vying for the gig as they “need to possess the requisite marketing experience.” This upset the hopefuls, given the backhander about their lack of experience.

Not one to let an opportunity go to waste, Warwick then issued a media release about the “controversy stirred by its CEO, Kieran Warwick.”

The marketing sub-council is one of four sub-councils within the Illuvium DAO focused on particular tasks related to developing Illuvium’s products and community. The others relate to community, game and strategy, with the idea being to draw on community expertise to develop the project.

Sub-council members are paid in Illuvium tokens.

The vote ultimately went ahead. The CEO and co-founder of game platform Arcade2Earn, Josh Poole, and former Love Island contestant and DJ Sam Withers joined Warwick on the sub-council — despite the media release stating Withers had withdrawn his nomination due to the criticism. Two pseudonymous members of the Illuvium DAO, Fight4ETH and Kingscoriox (they gave their first names as Kenneth and Jason, respectively), were also elected to the sub-council.

The new additions to decision-making on the marketing front may result in a change of strategy from garnering headlines from Warwick’s entertaining but controversial Twitter barneys.

In a discussion on Discord about his sub-council tweet, Warwick sensed an opportunity in the downvoting he was receiving, stating that it warranted contacting “friends at coin telegraph.” That’s us. He also suggested that Withers’ decision to temporarily rescind his nomination could be a media opportunity.

“Maybe this was a big brain marketing move by Sam and it’s going to get picked up by coin telegraph… Kidding (slightly) but I have reached out to Sam and apologized,” he said.

The press release also highlighted a previous controversy in February, when Warwick proposed partnering with Su Zhu, the disgraced founder of Three Arrows Capital, for a crypto gaming session.

He described the Su Zhu incident as a “win/win” situation on Discord at the time due to its potential for multiple articles, DAO coordination and exposure to new audiences.

In actual game news, Illuvium launched its Overworld Beta 2 on May 18, bringing new features and 30 new Illuvials to the game. The number of beta participants will also expand from 30,000 to 75,000. It claims it has two million registered beta users. It is also planning to bring out Illuvium: Zero on mobile this year.

Illuvium’s Overworld Beta 2 blends high tech with dodo birds (Illuvium).

Is ownership in Web3 gaming ‘bullshit’?

The idea of ownership in Web3 games may be hurting adoption more than it is helping, according to a Twitter thread and article by Vader Research, a consultancy company for Web3 gaming economics, that ignited some debate among the Web3 gaming community.

“Our industry is misleading players and investors with the ‘ownership’ narrative,” the company argued on Twitter.

Despite someone holding an NFT in a wallet, game devs retain significant control over the asset, including the ability to change metadata and the ability to blacklist NFTs.

Web3 gaming has certain benefits but also has limitations. Exaggerating the capabilities of the technology will likely increase the polarization between NFT haters and NFT maxis. Acknowledging limitations and weaknesses will help us attract more developers and players from web2 gaming,” Vader Research wrote.

But while there are nuances to be aware of — if a game shuts down, your items shut down with it — Magic Eden Chief Gaming Officer Chris Akhavan still says “ownership” is the right word.

“Just like in real life, there are limitations with what you can do with things you own. You can own a plane, but that doesn’t mean you can use the plane in ways that violate FAA regulations,” he told Cointelegraph.

“What Web3 ownership gives you is the freedom to control your ownership of game items, whether you want to buy, sell, trade or gift an item to a friend is all up to you. That’s absolutely fundamental to the concept of ownership.”

Assassin’s Creed smart collectibles promise customers real-life cubes

Assassin’s Creed, one of gaming giant Ubisoft’s most popular titles, is getting an NFT collection. Like many Web2 crossover projects, it’s using a fancy name that is not “NFT.”

The “smart collectibles,” which will debut on Polygon, are the brainchild of Integral Reality Labs (IRL), a United States-based Web3 company.

Smart collectibles
The smart collectibles are linked to physical objects that will be shipped to holders. (Integral Reality Labs/Twitter)

Those that snag one of the 1,500 passes will gain access to exclusive perks via IRL’s companion app. They will also get a physical 3D cube featuring unique traits and containing an embedded near-field communication (NPC) chip.

Ubisoft is considered one of the more NFT-friendly Web2 gaming behemoths. NFT collections have also been created based on its Rabbids franchise.

The NFTs will not be useable in actual Assassin’s Creed games and IRL noted that “there is no direct link between Assassin’s Creed games or game content and IRL Smart Collectibles.”

Epic Games CEO salty about the ‘death of the Metaverse’

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has taken exception to a Business Insider article by Web3 critic Ed Zitron about the death of the metaverse.

He suggested organizing an online wake “so that we 600,000,000 monthly active users in Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, PUBG Mobile, Sandbox, and VRChat can mourn its passing together in real-time 3D.”

The article in question posits that metaverse hype has been replaced by the “new, more promising trend” of generative AI. If you go by how many self-styled crypto experts have updated their LinkedIn to “AI expert,” it’s an easy concept to get on board with.

And with Mark Zuckerberg as its number one promoter, it is hard to take the metaverse seriously. The word has become synonymous with his badly-animated cartoon avatars that resemble something from a budget children’s TV show as opposed to a groundbreaking technological feat.

Fortnite
Gameplay still from Fortnite. (Fortnite/Epic Games Store)

But both Zitron and Sweeney are talking past each other because they have very different definitions of what the metaverse is. Zitron at one point compares it to platforms like Fortnite, which he describes as “large online games,” while Sweeney thinks they’re the same thing.

Until everyone can agree on a definition, the metaverse continues to be a confusing, nebulous concept. Blockchain companies continue to strive for progress toward the idea, whatever it ends up being.

Game review: Aurory Prologue for Adventures

Aurory launched its highly anticipated Prologue for Adventures last week as a closed alpha offering a sneak peek at its upcoming Adventures game.

Players can explore the village of Blanche in the Solana-based game’s fictional world of Tokane. It’s still quite limited and there’s not much to do except for bet tokens on Speed Blitz, a 1v1 auto-battling game.

Whether it works depends on whether there’s a player available betting the same amount to compete against. It took a couple of attempts for this reviewer to find the time when other players were online (morning UTC+8 bad, evening UTC+8 good).

While you get to choose the Neftie (a Pokemon-esque creature) and the amount you want to bet, that’s pretty much all the control you have over the outcome, and the battle happens so quickly it’s a bit of a mystery what even happened at all.

Part of the lack of players is likely down to the high cost of obtaining an Aurorian to try out the game. The collection’s floor price currently stands at a hefty 20.98 SOL ($423).

A player, one of many, that beat me during Speed Blitz. (Aurory)

Truth be told, there’s minimal gameplay in the alpha, which is expected. The ability to text chat with other players is a nice touch considering how many MMOs aren’t adding it in early versions.

Overall, for an early look at what the team is building, it’s satisfying enough and warrants a return when more features are added.

Adventures is ultimately the game that Aurory believes will have the broadest appeal. It follows the release of turn-based strategy battler Tactics, which came out late last year.

Other Stuff

— My Pet Hooligan’s alpha 1.5 release has been delayed due to uncertainty about how long it will take it to go through Epic Games’ QA process, according to a tweet by the company on May 11.

— Axie Infinity: Origins has finally made it to the Apple app stores in Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Sky Mavis announced on May 17 that it would join the computer-based Sky Mavis Hub and some regional Google Play Stores as a way of accessing the still-popular game.

Callan Quinn

Callan Quinn is a British freelance journalist covering crypto and tech. She has worked as a business journalist in China, the UK, Somaliland and the republic of Georgia. Previously, she was also an NFTs, gaming and metaverse reporter at The Block.

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