Shares in an ASX-listed Melbourne video game developer have soared more than thirty per cent this morning, after thousands of people paid A$1,280 for NFTs of its humanoid beans from a public service campaign that went viral nine years ago.

PlaySide Studios (ASX:PLY) launched the “Beans NFTs” on Thursday and over 7,000 of the 10,000-item collection sold over the weekend, with buyers paying 0.3 Ether (A$1,280, or US$900) for each image of a bipedal sentient bean that had been brutalised in some way.

An independent third party commissioned by PlaySide handled the mint and remitted back $8.38 million, after fees, to PlaySide.

The characters come from the 2012 public service campaign “Dumb Ways to Die,” created by McCann Melbourne for Metro Trains, which has attracted 229 million views on YouTube.

PlaySide said it acquired the “Dumb Ways to Die” (DWTD) brand from Metro Trains on 30 September 2021 for A$2.25 million.

“DWTD is an iconic brand and since acquiring the portfolio last year, we felt there was an exciting opportunity to expand the brand into modern technology platforms,” said PlaySide chief executive Gerry Sakkas.

The company noted that Beans has more than 80,000 followers in its Discord chat server, which launched just January 6.

“BEANS has been hugely popular since launching on Discord last month and we’re excited to take it to a wider audience, building on the foundations set by DWTD and the growing interest in Web 3.0 and the Metaverse,” Sakkas said.

Each Bean NFT will act as a 3D avatar in PlaySide’s upcoming metaverse, codenamed “Bean Land,” which is expected to launch on PC in late 2022 and mobile in 2023.

PlaySide also has three casual mobile gaming titles based on the Dumb Ways to Die characters it plans to launch next fiscal year.

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Beans were changing hands this morning for a minimum (floor price) of 0.325 Ether on OpenSea, with 1,300 Ether (US$391,511) in trading volume since Thursday.

Ten had sold in the past 40 minutes when a reporter checked this morning, all changing hands from 0.321 to 0.33 Ether (just under US$1,000).

Melbourne-born Philadelphia 76ers holdout and avid NFT collector Ben Simmons bought nine Beans on Friday for between 0.385 and 0.39 Ether, his wallet shows.

There were a total of 3,565 wallets holding 7,120 different Bean NFTs, according to Rarible, where the collection was also selling.

The Bean characters that users have minted won’t be revealed until Wednesday. They’ll have traits like “body bullet holes,” “blood splat,” or even a “sword in head” – a legendary trait that only one per cent of Beans will possess.

At 12.41pm AEDT, PlaySide shares were up 33.5 per cent to $1.355, and had traded as high as $1.40, its highest level ever.