NHN will develop blockchain-based activities on Sui despite a local restriction


On Friday, South Korean entertainment giant NHN Corporation announced a partnership with Mysten Labs, the creators of the Sui blockchain, to release an on-chain game in 2024.

NHN Corporation has total assets of more than US$2.4 billion. The collaboration occurs in spite of a restriction on blockchain-related games in South Korea.

“What excites me about building with NHN is what we’re beginning to refer to as stickiness for users,” Evan Cheng, CEO and co-founder of Mysten Labs, stated in an emailed news release. Web3 as a whole has not cracked this code yet, with the most popular chains having less than 300,000 DAUs. Our goal at Mysten Labs is to make the advantages of Web3 accessible to billions of people.

Beginning as a game developer back in 1999, NHN Corporation now boasts more than 37 million players across its many mobile games, including Friends Pop and social casino game Hangame Poker.

Mysten Labs, situated in Palo Alto, was created by technologists that had previously worked on Meta’s Diem stablecoin project, and they have developed a layer-1 blockchain network called Sui. According to a press statement published by Mysten Labs on Friday, the Sui blockchain’s cheap costs, rapid transactions, and high degree of scalability make it ideal for hosting games.

The gaming industry in South Korea is the fourth biggest in the world. According to a study from the Korea Creative Content Agency in January, its annual income in 2021 was approximately 21 trillion Korean won (US$15.72 billion).

South Korean law prohibits the sale of games that use virtual currency or NFTs. The Game Rating and Administration Committee is in charge of enforcing the legislation, which states that businesses cannot offer players monetary prizes for engaging in speculative activity. Before being released in South Korea, video games must first be given an age rating by the country’s official game rating committee.

During his campaign for president last year, Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea pledged to lift the country’s prohibition on “play-to-earn” (P2E) gambling. He said he would do it, but thus far he hasn’t delivered. Developers of P2E games in South Korea have been releasing their games built on the blockchain outside in the hopes that the prohibition would be removed at home.

Forkast emailed Mysten Labs and NHN on Monday am (Asian time) for further comment, but neither company replied.

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