Why Firefly Games returned to the metaverse with MetaWorld Entertainment

Metaverse and Web3 will not build themselves. That’s why Firefly Games CEO Michael Zhang decided to move into the new space from mobile games and start a new studio called MetaWorld Entertainment.

Earlier this summer, MetaWorld Entertainment raised several million dollars in seed funding from The Sandbox, Com2uS, Crit Ventures and Formless Capital.

While Firefly will focus on Web2 games like mobile games, Zhang has moved to become CEO of MetaWorld Entertainment. Last Friday, The Sandbox and Atari announced that MetaWorld Entertainment had remade Crystal Castles, a classic Atari game that is one of nine to be introduced with Atari’s new experience within The Sandbox metaverse.

“We’re delivering high-quality content on top of the metaverse platforms,” ​​Zhang said, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We want to be a part of it and we want to provide the highest quality content.”

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Key partners in this new metaverse company include The Sandbox, a decentralized virtual gaming world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, and Com2uS, a global multi-content platform leading the way in the blockchain gaming space.

Michael Zhang, CEO of MetaWorld Entertainment.

Over the years at Firefly Games, Zhang’s company made games such as DreamWorks’ Universe of Legends, Skydance’s Terminator: Dark Fate and LoL Surprise with MGA Entertainment’s third game! Room creator.

At first, Zhang, a 15-year gaming veteran, was skeptical of the poor quality of blockchain games. As the industry progressed, Zhang started thinking about forming MetaWorld Entertainment in 2020. He became more serious last year, when he was listening to me (of all people) talking about the metaverse at the Clubhouse. The concept of the metaverse was new to him, and he started looking into blockchain at the same time. The more he had the concepts behind the ideas, the more excited he got. He decided that Web3 and the metaverse were becoming essential in the digital age. And so he raised a new round of funding.

Zhang sees the metaverse as a place of entertainment where audiences will play, engage and interact with new levels of immersion unlike anything we’ve seen before. When he first tried, it took him a few days to create a cryptocurrency wallet. Now it can be done in five seconds, he said.

Instead of making its own titles, MetaWorld Entertainment will begin by creating content for others, such as with the Atari/The Sandbox project. He said MetaWorld Entertainment will be an all-in-one entertainment company, bringing concerts, events and games to the global market through metaverse platforms, including The Sandbox.

MetaWorld worked on Crystal Castles.

“It all started with you. The first time I heard about metaverse was in March 2020, right before the pandemic, when you (and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney) started mentioning it,” Zhang said. “I started learning and then I started talking to The Sandbox. We hired to do a theme park project. They all feel like this is the right time.”

Zhang noted that many companies in the metaverse and blockchain space are providing technology infrastructure. But he didn’t see studios producing high-quality content that could keep fans engaged for a long time with online virtual spaces.

“We are creating high-quality games, DJ concert experiences, celebrity content and partnering with other companies on their platforms,” ​​Zhang said.

There are about a dozen people from Firefly who are now working on content at MetaWorld Entertainment in Los Angeles. And Zhang is hiring more senior people, while Firefly still has under 10 people.

MetaWorld Entertainment is working on high quality content.

Over time, Zhang will share more about the roadmap, including the company’s first Web3 game and which blockchain partner it will support. No one seems perfect on this front yet. He is excited about providing entertaining content for Kpo fans and others who engage with celebrities.

He noted that MetaWorld Entertainment is just a gaming company. It focuses on the broader idea of ​​entertainment. Zhang is talking to several big brands about doing games and metaverse work for them.

MetaWorld will serve as a developer and publisher of multiple experiences and games, empowering audiences around the world to interact with the metaverse like never before. MetaWorld will maximize the immersive experience by leveraging the support of key partners such as Agora and their real-time audio technology.

MetaWorld will also use its partners’ Web2 game publishing experience to target a massive gaming audience using the “play and win” model that offers high-quality and engaging games through which players can also earn virtual currencies . By combining and leveraging its unique gaming resources, platform advantages and business collaboration in technology and entertainment, MetaWorld plans to bring new fun experiences to play and win in the Web3 era to drive wider adoption. Sebastien Borget, COO of The Sandbox and Com2uS president Kyu Lee are optimistic about Zhang’s company and his team’s experience as builders.

Zhang admits that players need to overcome their objections to blockchain games, and he thinks that this will happen when games become more fun and the process of entering Web3 becomes even easier.

“We try to remove the entry barrier for the general public and encourage more people to play first and later, if they like, they can also trade things like non-fungible tokens (NFTs),” Zhang said. “We want to use some of our experience from Web2 games as we move to Web3.”

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