Peter Molyneux's 22cans studio have sold around £40 million of NFTs for their "blockchain business simulator" Legacy, before it's been released. The town management game has its own cryptocurrency, of course, and this weekend they sold NFTs of virtual land for real money. The hope for crypto land barons is that they would be able to earn money back from other players through in-game business partnerships.
Molyneux first mentioned Legacy in 2017, but it was largely unknown until Saturday, when the land sale was announced. Turns out, it's about business. You design, build, and take care of a company town, whose residents will work in its factories to make the products you invent and sell. And because it's built on NFTs and cryptocurrency (LegacyCoin, a newly minted cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain), you'll be able to become a virtual landlord by buying imaginary land in the hope of making real money.
"Owning a Land NFT allows you to start your own in-game blockchain business association in Legacy. You will be able to play Legacy, while earning and owning your gameplay," explained Gala Games, the "blockchain game" company who 22cans are working with.
"Crucially, as a business association owner, you will have access to Legacy Keys. These items can be lent to other people who want to start an in-game business in Legacy, making them your in-game Business Partners. As part of your association, they will share a portion of their earned LegacyCoin with you."
And though none of the game is even available to players, they've almost sold out of Land NFTs. All the plots of 'Land' sold so far combined went for the equivalent of over 14,000 Ethereum, or around £40.5 million in real money. The most expensive was a London plot, a limited edition of one at Ancient (artificial) rarity, which sold for the equivalent of about £670,000.
The ability to profit from LegacyCoin is reliant on both the game being released in 2022 as planned, and on people actually buying and playing it. Unfortunately 22cans have a legacy of neither of these things. Their first game, Godus, began their efforts to get paid pre-launch by raising over £520,000 on Kickstarter. After a poor reception for that and its spin-off, Godus Wars, they abandoned it to make The Trail, a mobile game filled with microtransactions, glitches, and an inability to carry your purchases over when you buy a new phone. Godus is still sold as an early access game on Steam, and has not received in update in over 5 years.
2022 will likely be a year many developers try their hand at NFTs. This is the latest in a string of disappointments, including Ubisoft putting serial numbers on Ghost Recon Breakpoint cosmetics and The Sims designer Will Wright making an NFT game.
For more on Legacy, The Verge have an interview with Peter Molyneux. He responds to a question about criticisms of company towns by offering an anecdote about being naked in front of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.