By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The mobile developer Firefly Games has created a new metaverse development studio called Metaworld Entertainment.
The company’s belief in the future of the metaverse is underlined by the fact the Metaworld studio will be headed by Michael Zhang, who is the current CEO at Firefly Games.
“We’re providing high-quality content on top of the metaverse platforms. We want to be part of it and want to provide the highest-quality content,” said Zhang in a recent interview with Venture Beat.
The move comes after Firefly landed $10 million in funding in August, and already Metaworld is working on its first project.
The studio is collaborating with gaming giant Atari and metaverse virtual world developer The Sandbox to recreate Atari’s classic Crystal Castles game within The Sandbox metaverse. Atari says Crystal Castles is the first of nine games it will be developing to promote its focus on metaverse gaming and experiences.
Metaworld is also working on a new game called SailCraft, described as “a new vision for the classic board game Battleship, where players build a fleet from a vast selection of ships to combat opponents using real-time strategy gameplay.”
Zhang said MetaWorld Entertainment will initially focus less on creating games based on original IP, and more on collaborating with other companies to develop licensed metaverse content. The company will also focus on more than just games, looking to become a general entertainment company by hosting events and concerts in The Sandbox metaverse.
“We are creating high-quality games, DJ concert experiences, celebrity content, and we’re partnering with other companies on their platforms,” Zhang says.
Zhang also says he decided to pivot into metaverse development after hearing VentureBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney talking about their belief in the metaverse as the next major direction for gaming and online technologies.
“I started to learn and then I started talking to The Sandbox. They hired us to do a theme park project. They all feel like this is the right time,” said Zhang.
Zhang says one of the things that convinced him to make the switch is what he sees as the poor quality of games that are currently available on most metaverse platforms, creating a high barrier to entry.
By creating high-quality gaming experiences that are easily accessed through metaverse worlds, Zhang believes more players will migrate to the metaverse and blockchain gaming
“We try to remove the entry barrier to the general public and encourage more people to play first, and later on, if they feel like it, they can trade things like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as well,” Zhang explained. “We want to use some of our experience from Web2 games as we move to Web3.”