The metaverse is one of the hottest topics in tech this year. The term stands for virtual worlds in which people meet. Major parties like Microsoft, Google, Facebook parent company Meta, and Fortnite maker Epic Games are pouring billions into it. But the phenomenon is not new. In the year 2000 there was already a metaverse that still exists: Habbo. It’s a 3D world where you can chat with others with your own avatar, design hotel rooms, take care of virtual pets, and play games.
Habbo currently has 600,000 monthly active users. Since last fall, they can also display unique digital items purchased as NFTs. NFTs are property titles that are used to buy and sell virtual objects, such as works of art. More and more metaverses and games want to support NFTs, in part because the sale can make a lot of money.
“We see a new model in NFT. But we do it our way. Because we have been around for over 20 years, we are less sensitive to trends,” says Jurriaan van Teunenbroek, Azerion’s vice president of gaming and content. . Some 12,000 Habbo NFTs have already been sold to more than 4,500 people. The average price of a Habbo-NFT is 0.19 ether, more than 200 euros. “The most expensive was sold for 30 ether,” says Van Teunenbroek.
Integration of NFT from other parties
Habbo will now also integrate NFTs from well-known third-party providers CyberKongz and Metaverse HQ, Azerion announced this week. Habbo users link their crypto wallets, then as NFT holders they can unlock unique in-game items such as clothing, furniture, and badges. Speech bubbles and special effects will follow later.
“They are unique elements and that’s important in a virtual world: As a user, you want to have your own unique identity,” says Van Teunenbroek. NFTs are visible in Habbo with a logo above the avatar. NFT owners also get exclusive access to certain virtual rooms and receive credits that can be used to purchase other virtual items.
From one metaverse to another
Following the success of NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, a large number of NFTs have been released, but they are mostly images that have no other use. Van Teunenbroek: “There are few NFT collections that can be used in a game. We want to make that possible. Partly due to our experience, we are ahead of almost everyone in the market. We are constantly building a company and therefore, can play an important role in the NFT world, and we are used to the necessary competition.”
Ultimately, Azerion wants to make it possible to trade virtual items between different games and metaverses, and NFTs can help with that. “Moving game items from one platform to another is now not possible. For example, your Warcraft sword won’t work in another game. All the technicalities aside, other metaverses and games often have a different model and economy. Always It will be custom made.”
Clothing brands and football clubs
NFTs can also be economically interesting for parties working with Habbo, but according to Van Teunenbroek, this differs depending on the collaboration. “We don’t always pay money for NFTs sold. It can also be a deal where both parties just want attention. Or that companies pay us in advance, as a form of advertising. We also talk to several well-known clothing brands. about this. collaborations.”
Azerion is also toying with more ideas about NFTs, for example to implement them in the football clubs it already works with. “For example, he can link NFTs to match tickets.”
‘Be economical with the community’
NFTs also have many critics, who view transactions that sometimes involve large amounts of money with suspicion. “A lot of attention is paid to parties who want to make as much money as possible from them. That doesn’t benefit the consumer. We hope that the value of NFTs remains realistic. And we listen carefully to criticism, because we are very careful with our community.” “.
The social aspect of NFTs often remains underexposed, says Van Teunenbroek. “It’s an intense community. And everyone talks to everyone. Thanks to NFTs, you can see, for example, a bus driver and a well-known artist talking to each other. That’s what I like.”
Tony van Ringelestine