I know, I know, another one of these metaverse-blockchain-Web3 startups, but this one is one that MMORPG fans will want to at least take note of because of who precisely is involved. The company is called Avalon Corp., and it’s being funded by a whole slew of crypto and capital investment firms as well as notables like Twitch’s Kevin Lin and former Pearl Abyss CEO Robin Jung. The bosses here are CEO Sean Pinnock and Chief Product Officer Jeffrey Butler, the latter of whom, of course, had a long track record in the MMORPG genre at SOE (particularly on EverQuest and EverQuest Next) and Sigil Games (on Vanguard); indeed, Butler left SOE as “Director of Development/Creative Director” when the company was spun off from Sony back in 2015.
Avalon has apparently raised $13M in its latest investment round for a “flagship product” that sounds like a mash-up of an MMO and a typical metaverse pitch, though the studio doesn’t really want anybody using that word.
“We tried to avoid the usage of the word metaverse because it’s been beaten up quite a bit lately,” Butler says. “Interoperability” seems to be the buzz-word the team prefers for describing how big brands could set up shop in the Avalon universe, but they mean the same thing in context here, and the project actually sounds quite a bit like Raph Koster’s Playable Worlds, (though we’re not sure Koster would find it “hilarious if Gandalf had a lightsaber and was fighting Captain Picard, who was wearing the One Ring”).
Whatever Avalon’s gamified metaverse platform is called in the end, it will be blockchain-based, though apparently the company hasn’t selected one yet, so yes, this company has crypto all over it. The founders are also gung-ho on the uses of AI: “We want a young person, an inexperienced game developer, or an experienced developer to be able to easily create a triple-A quality experience in weekend with their friends,” Pinnock told VentureBeat.