DazzleShip has launched its $Bones rewards program for its Broadside intellectual property to keep fans engaged in DazzleShip’s entertainment community.
The company has also named Matt Mason as its CEO and Vector Meldrew as its chief creative officer. DazzleShip is position itself as a builder of native Web3 intellectual properties — including games and a variety of other things — as well as communities and a pop culture platform. They think of DazzleShip as a “metaverse studio.”
DazzleShip’s IP is called Broadside. In the story, a group of kids hack a game called Broadside and remix it. The company sold NFT tokens for 7,290 Broadside characters back in December, raising nearly $750,000, Mason said in an interview with GamesBeat.
The community has since used Broadside avatars to create a metaverse rave warehouse with weekly gatherings, new avatars, characters, stories, music, clothing, merch, AI art, thousands of memes, and even a coffee company. Some community members are creating a Broadside-based game on Roblox. In another project, an indie game by Cryptoartist Eclectic Method is in development. In that sense, the community is running with the ideas seeded by Broadside, Mason said.
But the $Bones are not exactly what I thought they were. The $Bones tokens are offered as rewards, but they’re not cryptocurrency. The $Bones are given to community members as rewards, but it’s like an in-game currency, like V-Bucks in Fortnite. The in-game currency has no value outside the game. So you can’t take the $Bones and sell them to someone else in a marketplace.
One day, $Bones — built with partner Top Dog Studios — might be converted into a cryptocurrency or an asset that could be bought and sold with real money, but then the $Bones would have to pass muster with cryptocurrency and gambling regulations. So for now, it’s like getting virtual poker chips in Zynga Poker. You can’t cash them out.
But the community is enthusiastic anyway. They’re creating a kind of virtual nightclub, or metaverse, where members regularly have online parties. And DazzleShip is building a game set inside its metaverse Rave Bunker, or party space, on what it calls the Monaverse. Overall, the community is a few thousand people.
Game-like activities are happening in the weekly raves. People race each other around the edge of the warehouse during the raves. So speed-up strips were added to the floor.
The company wants to be a good steward of its Broadside franchise, but it also wants the community members to share in the direction and rewards as it gets bigger.
Mason said that the metaverse won’t scale without small rooms with the right social and game mechanics along with hyper-engaged communities. That’s what DazzleShip is building.
“When we started, we thought we were building the most comprehensive storytelling project in Web3,” said Mason. “Then the Broadside community showed up, and took things to a different level. We weren’t ready for this community. Then again, nobody is.”
There are competitors out there like Scuti and others, especially in other territories of the world where the competition isn’t bound by location regulations.
Mason thinks of Broadside as mutating into something part rave, part game, part story and all community. He thinks it’s something unique in the metaverse, and he wants to foster it.
He said that $BONES rewards will be given to Broadside holders for a number of things, such as holding on to an NFT or participating in parties and sharing on social media. In turn, the $Bones will earn some status symbols in the community, such as shirts, raffle tickets and more.
Mason, cofounder of Broadside, has been working in decentralized technology for almost two decades, holding C-level positions at BitTorrent, Kraken, and most recently at Palm NFT Studio, as well as serving as studio head at a Sony Pictures innovation lab focused on gaming.
He started out as founding editor-in-chief of RWD, which he helped grow into the United Kingdom’s largest music publication, working alongside Broadside cofounder Meldrew.
After creating the RWD digital platform, Vector launched DazzleShip as a creative production studio in London over a decade ago, working for clients including Activision Blizzard, Nike, adidas, Sony Music and the James Bond game franchise. As a crypto artist, Vector has auctioned work at Bonhams, and minted out collections on Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, Foundation among others.
Together, Meldrew and Mason have repurposed DazzleShip as an innovation lab headquartered in the U.S. It has five full-timers and a number of contractors, all focused on building the cultural connective tissue the metaverse needs. They see that as a conduit between music, storytelling, gaming, culture and Web3.
Broadside was first conceived as a sci-fi novel and drafted in 2015. It has since evolved to embrace blockchain storytelling where Mason and Meldrew collaborate.
“We built it as a sort of storytelling NFT project that was about a game and we knew that we always wanted to expand it in a number of different directions,” Mason said. “And we knew that by giving the community full commercial rights to their characters, that they would also take it in directions that we weren’t thinking about.”
“I think the metaverse trend will continue,” Mason said. “Obviously, there are large investments from companies putting in tens of billions of dollars. Then there are the companies building in Web3 where they believe in the decentralized metaverse. We’ll see more large companies come into this space, and I believe there will be gamified experiences and games within the metaverse. But we haven’t seen a true and impactful metaverse just yet. It’s going to take time.”
Mason said the company is focused on being hyper-compliant with regulations.
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