Anyone familiar with gaming knows the saying, ‘It’s better if they delay the release than launching a buggy mess.’ However, after gaming studios became corporatized and publicly traded, they answer to shareholders, not gamers. This is why gamers had one unfinished game to deal with after another, with Cyberpunk and Battlefield 2042 being the latest triple-A examples.
Unfortunately, even without shareholders, it appears that the world of blockchain gaming is following the same path. After being hyped for months, Pixelmon’s NFT reveal turned into such a monumental disaster that it became an overnight internet meme. Here is what happened.
What Is Pixelmon?
Pixelmon is a voxelized play-to-earn (P2E) blockchain game, similar to Axie Infinity. In fact, people were expecting that Pixelmon would displace Axie as the king of blockchain gaming and NFTs. After all, the game aims to combine two huge successes into one game — Pokémon and Trove. Pokémon has generated over $110 billion in revenue since its launch in 1996.
Likewise, Trove, as a traditional free-to-play (F2P) voxel MMO, reached over 28 million people across PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. On Steam alone, Trove got a ‘very positive’ review ranking from 85k reviews, which is just a step short from ‘overwhelmingly positive.’ You would think that Pixelmon, by combining Pokémon and Trove, would be a sure success, right?
That supposed in-game footage from Pixelmon sure looks great, even better than Trove, right? Well, the game’s engine may look nice, but not the actual NFTs dropped to secure the funding of the blockchain game.
Pixelmon’s Reality vs. Expectations
The pseudonymous Pixelmon team created such a hype with its promotional art, which was rather good, that it managed to raise $70 million on its NFT sales. However, what people expected to see is a heated battle with actual drops, best exemplified by this tweet.
Although that reality looks like a parody of some kind, it isn’t. These misshapen NFT abortions sold for Ξ3 via Dutch auction, with a twist in which the price lowered by Ξ0.1 every 10 minutes until sold. As you would expect, they sold out within an hour. This speaks massively for the high blockchain P2E demand.
Altogether, Pixelmon raised just over $70 million worth of ETH from the super-hyped blind sale. After the mass online ridicule ensued, Pixelmon’s creator Syber stated the obvious:
“This is unacceptable. We felt pressured to push reveal and the reality is we weren’t ready to push the art work. This does not represent the brand and we will fix this as we have let many people down with this reveal.”
What is strange, though, is that Syber’s previous reveals were in line with other high-quality promotional material.
It appears that Pixelmon, as another 10k generative NFT collection, was botched due to the algorithm that randomizes 3D voxel assets. As you recall, the same happened with HAPEBEAST Prime NFTs, a 3D version of Bored Apes that had all sorts of object clipping issues. However, Pixelmons, with the current floor price at Ξ0.26 ($655), are in need of a complete redo.
The fact that the current Pixelmon floor price is way lower than the initial one, ranging between Ξ2.4–3 ($7.5k), means that Pixelmon’s secondary market collapsed. After all, who is going to buy NFTs that look as if they emerged from a toddler’s art competition?
The story doesn’t end there, though. Pixelmon’s launch was so embarrassing and unexpected that it spawned its own meme-mocking NFT collection.
Lives of Kevin Enters the Mocking Scene
As you can see from the above image, one of the prominent characters Pixelmon’s algorithm-generated was a green zombie with a sprout of pink hair. It is so inherently memeable that people dubbed it Kevin. Soon after, OpenSea hosted Lives of Kevin, consisting of 1,111 items at a floor price of Ξ0.008 ETH, already generating $448k in traffic.
That’s quite amazing since many great indie games were funded with less than half a million dollars. Yet, people are willing to splurge on memes mocking a failed NFT launch. Speaking of which, Pixelmon is not expected to launch until later in the year, which is plenty of time to correct the course of the sinking ship.
Given the disparity between the hand-crafted NFTs the Pixelmon team created, and the algorithmically generated ones, it seems a likely scenario that will happen.
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