Crypto world has attracted a number of gaming industry legends, including famous developers like Will Wright and Peter Molyneux who are now developing NFT-based games, and now there’s another big name on that list: Trip Hawkins, the founder and CEO of video game giant Electronic Arts (EA).
Hawkins was announced today as co-founder and chief strategy officer of Games to make a livinga startup that develops games based on NFT and blockchain-based tokens.
Games for a Living was co-founded by Manel Sort, former Senior Vice President of Candy Crush Saga developer King. The two gaming industry veterans previously worked together at Hawkins’ former mobile games startup, Digital Chocolate.
“I am convinced that blockchain, combined with our vision, can create a new gaming paradigm for the benefit of all,” Hawkins said in a press release. “We plan to do this in a way that helps improve game performance and player value, while keeping things fun.”
The first Games for a Living release, Elemental Raidersis available now on Steam in a traditional free-to-play version without tokenized elements, although the publisher has previously sold Ethereum NFTs linked to the game and the will release an NFT “battle pass” in March with its own GFAL token.
An official Elemental Raiders tournament will be organized at the beginning of March with NFT and token rewards, but not in the Steam version of the game. He also teased a second game called Diamond Dreams, which will be an NFT-powered matching puzzle game.
Interesting way, the publisher’s whitepaper explains that it will use its own private blockchain for gaming rather than an open, permissionless network like Ethereum Or Solana. Games for a Living says it will establish a foundation to oversee the blockchain network and set the rules for other developers, who can deploy their own NFT-based games on the network.
However, private (or authorized) blockchains are considered by many crypto builders to be antithetical to the Web3 ethos, because they are not open, permissionless networks that anyone can freely rely on. In some cases, networks created by a centralized company can be gradually decentralized over time and handed over to the community, but the publisher’s whitepaper does not explicitly state these intentions.
There is also some confusion around the token, which the white paper says will be minted BNB Channel but also cites Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard. It’s possible the document meant BNB Chain’s BEP-20 standard instead. Decrypt asked company representatives for clarification.
Hawkins was an early employee of Apple before leaving in 1982 to found Electronic Arts, which became one of the largest video game publishers in the world. EA’s successful franchises include sports brands FIFA and Madden NFL, as well as series like Battlefield, The Sims, Need for Speed and Mass Effect.
In 1991, he left his management position at EA to found 3DO, a startup that released its own video game console that was not a commercial success. He went on to found Digital Chocolate in 2003 and remained its CEO until 2012, then advised or served on the board of gaming, tech and esports startups in the years that followed.