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In the burgeoning field of online gaming, the new metaverse game Avalon, introduced by the online gaming startup of the same name, is making waves with its recent trailer release, showcasing the game’s virtual universe. This innovative game is driven by a team of esteemed industry veterans, using advanced blockchain technology and AI tools to create a cutting-edge gaming experience.

Avalon was launched in 2022 by a team well-known for their contributions to iconic games such as EverQuest, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and World of Warcraft. In early 2022, the startup announced a successful funding round of $13 million led by Bitkraft Ventures, with participation from investors like Delphi Digital, Hashed and Coinbase Ventures. Avalon’s chief product officer and ex-creative director of EverQuest, Jeffrey Butler, shared that Avalon originated as a toolset for developers to easily craft games without deep technical knowledge, offering modular, template-based solutions for rapid game creation.

For the creation of its virtual world, Avalon partnered with Didimo and Inworld AI. This collaboration involved using Didimo’s Popul8 platform for character development and Inworld AI’s sophisticated AI-driven engine for designing both characters and NPCs, enhancing the depth and interactivity of the game’s characters.

The gameplay of Avalon involves navigating through a virtual universe via portals, which transport players between diverse realms, from medieval to cyberpunk settings. Butler emphasized the game’s emphasis on intellectual property rights and fairness, explaining that Avalon incorporates filters to prevent incongruous in-game items, like certain vehicles or weapons, from being used in mismatched worlds. For instance, he mentioned that the game wouldn’t allow a DMC DeLorean from Back to the Future to appear in a Star Trek-based game.

Blockchain Games: Past and Future

We have recently reported that the blockchain gaming sector, still in its early stages, has been going through many transformations and challenges in the last few years. Many games in this industry have either ceased development or have been put on hold by their creators. Additionally, there has a trend of these games switching to different blockchain networks.

This has been due, in part, to the bitcoin bear cycle, which has affected interest in crypto games as well.

However, the changes and upheavals also had to do with the rapidly advanced technology. The blockchain gaming landscape has also becoming more competitive because of the increase in the number of gaming-focused blockchain networks.

Avalon’s Monetization Models

Avalon’s initial release will offer a comprehensive content creation package for players, particularly for those interested in dungeon and quest creation. According to Butler, this package is designed for massively multiplayer-style gameplay and enables players to create game content directly within Avalon, without the need for external tools like Maya or Blender.

Butler revealed plans for a playable beta of Avalon in 2024, followed by a full release in 2025. Additionally, Avalon will introduce a monetization model for developers, allowing them to create and publish their content within the game’s framework and earn revenue.

Highlighting Avalon’s commitment to inclusivity, Butler discussed the use of generative AI to represent a wide range of ethnicities, mirroring real-world communities. He stressed the importance of players seeing themselves represented in the game.

Using Blockchain for In-Game Acquisitions and Player-Owned Collectibles

Avalon also integrates blockchain technology to grant players ownership of their in-game acquisitions, a concept Butler has advocated since his days working on EverQuest. This approach allows players to truly own their in-game items, drawing parallels to real-world ownership.

The gaming industry has seen a gradual integration of blockchain and player-owned collectibles, though the adoption has been slow due to community pushback. Butler advocates for player ownership of in-game items and opposes the requirement of real-money expenditures in games, emphasizing the importance of fair and enjoyable gaming experiences.

With Avalon’s announcement, the startup joins a competitive field of AI-powered gaming, alongside major players like Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix, Roblox, and Ubisoft. Microsoft, too, recently announced its collaboration with Inworld AI to develop AI tools for Xbox game developers, although this has raised concerns among game developers and performers about job security.

Despite of this, Butler expressed optimism about the metaverse’s future but cautioned against the idea of a single company dominating this space. He believes the metaverse will emerge from collaborative efforts in the current tech landscape, particularly with the potential offered by generative AI in content creation.

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