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Kongregate, a 15-year-old free-to-play game platform that MTG owns, has unveiled Kongregate.io, a new web gaming portal featuring games that use nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

Launching in open beta later this year, Kongregate.io is a celebration of Kongregate’s 15 years in the gaming space and redefines what a web gaming platform is for today’s market. The web game publishing business has changed a lot, and so Kongregate is changing with the times, said CEO and chief financial officer Markus Lipp in an interview with GamesBeat.

Kongregate’s goal is to build a selection of the best competitive and .io-style game in one place. Early launch titles will be focused on Kongregate’s internally developed portfolio, sister company offerings through larger parent company MTG (Modern Times Group), and select top titles from Kongregate.com.

“We are now in the next level of starting something special with Kongregate.io,” Lipp said. “When we started this journey, we wanted to learn if the users were enthusiastic at all about NFTs, and we could see that they were. Then we started to follow up with additional products. The focus wasn’t on monetizing, but rather on learning.”

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Above: Kongregate will sell NFTs for Bit Heroes.

Image Credit: Kongregate

NFTs use blockchain, the transparent and secure digital ledger, to uniquely identify digital items. That allows for the authentication of digital collectibles or the auctioning of one-of-a-kind that can be authenticated through blockchain, the transparent and secure digital ledger behind cryptocurrencies. By embracing NFTs, Kongregate is suggesting that they’re more than just a fad.

NFTs have exploded in applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $700 million in sales, just seven months after going public. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Gaming has a couple of new unicorns, or startups valued at $1 billion, in Animoca Brands and Forte. NFTs are now selling at a rate of $62 million a week, though the initial hype around NFTs is dying down from a peak in May of $175 million a week, according to Nonfungible.com.

Kongregate has more than 1.5 million wallets for players in the Kongregate universe, and it hopes to convert those over time to crypto wallets via the alliance with blockchain infrastructure company Forte.

Kongregate has already launched a limited Founders NFT presale on Kongregate.io that commemorates the most pivotal titles in the portfolio.  Players can purchase NFTs for Kongregate.com’s hit dungeon crawler Bit Heroes and the more recently acquired 2D battle royale game, Surviv.io. Future Founders presale NFTs will feature early fantasy CCG Spellstone and other Kongregate developed titles.

“We are shifting our focus away from publishing,” Lipp said. “We have a strong focus on building new intellectual property games. I cannot speak about them right now. But we have secured some some pretty cool licenses going forward.”

Above: Kongregate has NFTs available today.

Image Credit: Kongregate

Kongregate.io uses Forte’s end-to-end blockchain platform, which enables game developers to easily build and scale token-based economies safely, securely, and with full regulatory compliance. (Forte raised $185 million recently at a $1 billion valuation).

Over time, Lipp said that Kongregate hopes to take its learnings and share them with the entire MTG (Modern Times Group) family of game companies, which includes esports firms ESL and DreamHack; gaming companies InnoGames and Ninja Kiwi; as well as digital network company Zoomin.TV.

“We can definitely see integrating more games on the .io side with more Kongregate games, more MTG universe games,” Lipp said.

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