Izumi World, a developing game built on Ethereum that merges augmented reality (AR) tech with NFTs and GameFi, has hired a former Xbox executive to head up its marketing.

Jamie Davies, a former exec with Xbox, Samsung, Gatorade and most recently NFT marketplace Rarible, has joined the project as its new chief marketing officer, and he believes AR and NFT integration will become a powerful gaming narrative.

“Izumi World has the potential to revolutionise the gaming industry and I can’t wait to launch this game for everyone to enjoy, play, and earn,” said its new CMO.

Apart from spending more than 20 years as director of marketing for Gatorade and Samsung, as well as head of brand and innovation marketing at Verizon, Davies also served as a senior advertising manager at Xbox.

It was at the mainstream gaming titan where he led the development of major campaigns for franchises including Halo, Gears of War, and Fable.

Stockhead caught up with him for a quick chat about Izumi World, his new role, and blockchain gaming in general…

 

‘The most unique game concept I’ve seen’

Hi Jamie. What is it about Izumi World that made you spy an opportunity?

“I’m a big believer in blockchain gaming and Izumi World is the most unique game concept I’ve seen in the space.”

What makes it unique?

“AR + P2E [play-to-earn] has enormous potential. I think Izumi World can add an entirely new dimension to blockchain gaming because it’s a P2E AR game that people play outside in the real world through their smartphone.”

How will Izumi World aim to emulate the success of, say, Pokémon GO?
“Community. Because we’re a Web3 gaming company, we’re looking to build our success through our community.”

Having worked for Xbox, can you give us any sense of what the mainstream gaming sector thinks of the blockchain gaming space?

“I think they definitely see an opportunity and they’re working to figure out the right way to execute. The benefits that blockchain and NFTs can offer gamers are too significant for traditional gaming companies to ignore.”

 

‘The benefits that blockchain and NFTs can offer gamers are too significant for traditional gaming companies to ignore.’

 

Do you see excitement across both the mainstream and blockchain gaming sectors for AR tech?

“Definitely in the mainstream sector. You don’t need to look any further than all of the investment by big tech companies into the space. Blockchain gaming isn’t there yet. We’re going to change that.”

What sort of experience and/or connections do you think you’ll be able to leverage to help make Izumi World a success?

“I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to build my career marketing to passionate communities – whether it’s gamers, sports fans or tech enthusiasts.

“And because building and engaging community is so central to web3 marketing, I believe my experience connecting brands to these communities will help make Izumi World a success.”

Where do you see the blockchain gaming industry going this year and in coming years?

“I think we’re going to see a tipping point in terms of game concepts leading the way very soon. Right now many P2E games are earn first and play second.

“We’re going to get more people into the space when we optimise for play first and earn second. Because at the end of the day, gamers get most excited to play fun games.”

I’ve heard some gaming influencers (not you, Scoriox) suggest that blockchain gaming/GameFi will “eat” traditional gaming. Do you think it’s inevitable that the two will merge as one?

“Not at all. The gaming market is so large there will always be space for both blockchain and traditional games.”

What’s the main thing that’ll make Izumi World a GameFi success story?

“Gameplay. That’ll be the most important factor – it’s going to be an amazingly fun game to play.”

Izumi World’s new CMO, Jamie Davies

 

What’s Izumi World – Pokémon GO meets Illuvium?

Kinda. Izumi World aims to integrate NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and AR technology with real world geo-location and play-to-earn mechanics in a sort of Pokémon GO/RPG/GameFi metaverse mash-up.

The project, which has “a decentralised global team” (although many are  based in Los Angeles according to Davies) self describes as “the first AR metaverse… revolutionizing pop culture through NFT gaming”.

Players aim to capture and train magical beasts, known as Izumis, from live-tracked locations in the real world. They then can use them to fight other players within the game, which is developing an in-game economic structure including different types of NFTs, and two ERC-20 tokens for trading, lending, staking, and governance.

Examples of “Izumis”, which will have varied traits for in-game battling (Source: izumiworld.com/nft)

According to Izumi World, it aims to provide players with an “engaging gaming experience that encourages them to get outside and socialize with others in the physical and digital worlds”.

Izumi World’s exact launch dates are still under wraps, but it plans to launch an initial NFT “Trainer Pass” collection in late April or early May, with full gameplay rolling out in Q1 2023. In other words… this is still very early stages for the project.

 

NFT gaming and AR tech – both growing in popularity

NFT gaming and GameFi in general has become one of blockchain’s strongest use cases, with developers enabling players to take ownership of their in-game items.

Never mind the massive Axie Infinity hack that’s made crypto news this week, the play-to-earn (many now prefer the term play-and-earn) space is still a booming crypto sector.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how much of the US$600 million+ of stolen funds Axie can recover and what sort of hit to its reputation it needs to absorb, but the project alone generated more than US$1.3B in revenue in 2021, according to a recent Nansen research report.

That’s a huge number for a fairly simplistic auto battler/strategy game, which points to a strengthening trend as more and more P2E games develop. (See Stockhead‘s recent P2E picks for 2022, for example. A list that might need updating before too long, as other great-looking games seem to be emerging every other week.)

In parallel to the growing P2E sector, gamers and non-gamers alike have been adopting AR technology. A recent Ericsson study, for instance, shows that approximately 35 per cent of non-gamers have expressed an interest in AR gaming.

According to an Izumi World blog, “Augmented Reality remains a missing piece within a market increasingly oversaturated by VR metaverses competing for superiority”.

 

Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.

At the time of writing, the author holds several crypto assets including BTC and ETH, among others.