Following up on its swift acquisition of French gaming studio Eden Games, blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands has announced yet another acquisition in tandem with an industry partnership with Formula DRIFT in North America and Japan.
Originating from the streets of urban Japan and a fierce subculture of street racing in the 1990s, Formula DRIFT is now recognised as the leading international drifting championship.
The sport has rapidly evolved into a commercially successful competitive spectacle that attracts professional “drifters” from around the globe to compete for the Formula DRIFT Champion title.
As the first official drifting series in North America, Formula DRIFT’s founders claim they have “taken competitive motorsports to the extreme” by attracting drift fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life, while cementing its place as the world’s portal into the sport.
With a 20th anniversary on the horizon, the franchise has referred to its development as a “crazy ride that no one expected”.
In a magazine address to fans, the company said: “On every single metric that we track, 2021 was the biggest and best year the sport has ever had. Each round was a sold-out event. For the first time in our history, vehicle car count will be maxed out with 37 drivers competing.”
Unveiling Torque Drift 2
Under the partnership, Animoca Brands’ subsidiary Grease Monkey Games will develop a new Torque Drift game powered by blockchain technology with the two studios planning to broadcast the reveal trailer at Round 2 of Formula DRIFT on 7 May 2022.
The upcoming title has been dubbed the “next generation of motorsports games leveraging blockchain technology”, including “fully functional and playable NFTs” as a core feature.
Animoca Brands and Grease Monkey Games say they intended to “deliver true digital ownership of game assets to players” while providing opportunities such as “play-to-earn and the trading of items on secondary marketplaces”.
Moreover, Animoca Brands confirmed that the new Torque Drift 2 game will offer collectable and utility NFTs that are fully compatible and integrated into the gaming company’s broader REVV Motorsport ecosystem.
“We’re really excited to partner with Animoca Brands on Torque Drift 2 for both the gaming side and the new NFT aspect, which opens up some really interesting opportunities for the sport and fans alike,” Formula DRIFT president Ryan Sage said.
Meanwhile, founder and managing director of Grease Monkey Games Arran Potter welcomed the Formular DRIFT franchise into the open metaverse and REVV Motorsport by confirming Torque Drift 2 as the official and only blockchain game from Formula DRIFT, telling players they can expect a comprehensive and immersive Formula DRIFT experience that has “never been seen before”.
Acquiring Darewise Entertainment
In parallel to its motorsport partnership, Animoca Brands also unveiled yet another acquisition within the gaming industry.
Last week, Animoca Brands announced plans to acquire game developer Darewise Entertainment, first founded by gaming veterans who are currently developing the highly anticipated blockchain game Life Beyond – a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) focusing on social behaviours and technology as well as pioneering, settling and politics.
As a European game studio, Darewise focuses exclusively on AAA games – titles that typically require extensive development that result in titles with a comparatively higher production value than other peers.
The studio developed cult classic hits such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dying Light 2, Black & White, Tom Clancy’s The Division and the Fable series.
According to Darewise, Life Beyond will be free-to-play (F2P) and will have a “low barrier of entry” for new players while boasting additional promotions including “NFT free drops” and play-to-earn features encouraging early adoption and viral sharing.
“Initially, user governance in Life Beyond will be enabled by gameplay-based tools, and later upgraded to a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) when the unique token of the game is made available,” the company said.
Similar to previous acquisitions, Animoca Brands intends to absorb Darewise, while retaining the underlying visionaries first responsible for the company’s early success.
Darewise co-founders Benjamin Charbit and Samuel Kahn will continue to lead the company post-acquisition.
Animoca Brands’ rationale behind the deal is to “facilitate planned growth and accelerate game development” with an overarching ambition of combining popular AAA titles with blockchain functionality, thereby creating a variety of development opportunities including play-to-earn, NFTs and projects in the Web3 space.
“Bringing on board Darewise is incredibly exciting. Its game Life Beyond is an MMO role-playing game of great beauty and scale that will be a strong addition to the open metaverse,” said Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands.
“Benjamin and Samuel have built a world-class team that is creating a play-and-earn game universe that is intricate, sophisticated, and deeply engaging,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Charbit says he foresees a significant shift towards virtual socialisation with blockchain and Web3 serving as key enablers.
“Since late 2017, we’ve firmly believed that virtual existence will become at least as important as the physical one. Over time it became obvious that we’re a Web3 company at our core and that blockchain offers the means to achieve our vision,” Mr Charbit said.
“It took visionary entrepreneurs like Yat [Siu] to leap ahead and build such an impressive ecosystem, paving the way for everyone else.”
“As we watched Animoca Brands set out the blueprint of the open metaverse with projects like The Sandbox, REVV, and Phantom Galaxies, we knew that we would benefit enormously from its Web3 expertise and network,” he added.