Blockchain game studio cuts 10% of staff amid downturn

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MYTHICAL Games, a blockchain video game company that has raised more than US$270 million in venture capital, laid off 10 per cent of its staff and lost three top executives this week.

The layoffs at a company once valued at US$1.25 billion are reflective of widespread disinterest in so-called pay-to-earn video games, which promise players the opportunity to buy and sell in-game goods for real-life cash using blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Spokesman Nate Nesbitt said the company was "affected by the economic downturn" and has "had to reevaluate and restructure some areas of our business accordingly". Co-founder Rudy Koch, chief operating officer Matt Nutt and senior vice-president Chris Ko announced their departures on LinkedIn this week. The company, based in Sherman Oaks, California, had about 320 employees according to its LinkedIn profile.

Mythical's flagship game is Blankos Block Party, a cartoonish take on Roblox. The game launched on the Epic Game Store in mid-September and has received a tepid reception so far, with about 30,000 players in October and a daily active user count in the thousands, the company said. Several messages in the Blankos Block Party Discord server complain of low player counts, which makes it more difficult for people to find games.

Investors have poured billions of dollars into blockchain gaming in recent years but haven't found much success. The biggest game, Axie Infinity, crumbled earlier this year after a massive hack. And video game companies such as Ubisoft Entertainment have pulled back their investments in NFT games after widespread criticism and low interest. BLOOMBERG

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