Presented by Emergent Entertainment

This week the creation of new gaming entity Emergent Entertainment PLC was announced, officially merging London-based video game studio Maze Theory with blockchain developers Pluto Digital PLC.

Promising significant innovation across both XR and Web3 gaming, the company plans to bring audiences and storytellers closer together through better use of technology. At the helm is CEO Ian Hambleton, an entrepreneur of 20 years and Maze Theory’s CEO. He’s joined by Chairman Simon Rutter, former EVP of Sony PlayStation.

Ian and Simon tell us more.

Why have you launched Emergent Entertainment?

Ian: The potential of Web3 and XR is unbelievable, but it will fail if we don’t build amazing entertainment experiences, and make that the focus.

The technology offers so much, but so many developers have forgotten why players are there in the first place.

It’s like going to a restaurant and only focusing on the bill, not enjoying the meal. Crypto is often fixated on the financial upside; reasons to play are an afterthought. There’s been a backlash and it’s easy to see why. Quality should always be the biggest consideration. We see this across all media. Audiences are discerning and they will only become more so. Technology must be used cleverly to enhance this.

Emergent Entertainment has a game-first philosophy, putting the players’ experience above all else. It will be the main reason any player, crypto enthusiast or not, will enjoy our games.

That’s our intention and that’s why we’re here!

Can you tell us a bit about the company and its vision?

Simon: The new business benefits from the combined legacy of the two merged companies. Prowess in the gaming and VR space, combined with forensic understanding of blockchain and advanced technology.

This gives us a fairly unique offer and means we have a great opportunity to deliver brilliant experiences in mixed reality gaming, Web3 gaming and Web3 token services across a range of entertainment media.

We’ve also inked deals with several global entertainment properties, drawing on our VR experience with Peaky Blinders and Doctor Who, with some exciting news to share soon.

We’ve got more than 60 developers and execs with extensive experience building AAA games. Actually four centuries’ worth of knowledge! Our CV includes: FIFA, NBA Online, The Sims, Need for Speed, Gran Turismo, Lord of the Rings, Horizon Zero Dawn, Blood and Truth and many more.

And a passionate leadership team with decades’ worth of experience building and scaling entertainment and technology businesses.

The vision is clear; Emergent Entertainment is passionate about the creative opportunities offered by groundbreaking technological innovation. We believe that developing games and other forms of entertainment on the latest technology will enable new forms of creative expression and unite creators and players — empowering both to love, live and literally own their experiences.  

What are your ambitions for the business?

Simon: The new company will balance the traditional and the new; storytelling craft with technical innovation; and established revenue sources with new forms of monetization.

We’ve got one foot firmly planted in the now and one in the future, conscious of how audiences and business models will evolve.

Ian: We want to create seminal products, the ‘killer app’ or games that deliver AAA into Web3 that bring in millions of players. At the same time, we’re very bullish on VR/XR, since we’ve been developing games since 2018. There’ll be huge growth over the coming decade as headsets become more portable and user friendly.

In both areas, what will set us apart is the quality of the games and the seamless integration of tech that delivers real value for players.

Why is it important to evolve beyond just traditional or XR gaming?

Simon: XR gaming has its own growth path. Web3 games and tokenization of content has another growth path. There is a scenario where these coalesce and Emergent Entertainment will be primed to take advantage of each and be among the first in this space.

Ian: I agree there is a likely future where VR/XR (the embodied metaverse) and Web3 gaming come together. It’s a mind blowing concept! And this could be incredible for gamers and fans of TV and film. So long as the technology is delivered in a compelling way. Whether it’s deeply immersive player experiences or shared ownership.

What sort of opportunities do you think Web3 offers audiences of the future?

Ian: So firstly, players can choose to own aspects of the game. It’s never something we’ll push or insist on. Why is ownership important? If you go into a bookshop and buy a book, you own it, it has provenance.  In most current AAA games, you buy an asset but it’s not really yours. To be honest that’s one of the big issues with the internet in general. Players should have the right to own assets and trade them if they want, and these items can now all have digital history. The creative potential of this is immense. Imagine being the first player to wield a certain sword, or complete a boss level. Now this information is publicly available. It’s not just about money, blockchain can help us take ‘play’ to another level.

Through shared ownership, players can better determine the game’s future. Publishers are often canning games that have a huge fanbase based on their strategic priorities. With Web3, that fanbase can have a say in whether to keep that game going.

They can also have a say in the game’s development. The ultimate superfans and their connection to the game will guide its evolution.

How will you do this differently and implement your game-first philosophy?

Ian: We are making the player experience the number one priority. Astonishing creativity, powerful storytelling; and we have decades of experience delivering this. The integration of blockchain technology will be subtle and unobtrusive. Our games will be jargon-free and accessible to all.

What should VentureBeat readers be most excited about with Emergent Entertainment?

Ian: High-quality, thrilling and compelling AAA games, including some globally renowned TV and film games (with more announcements to follow). Being part of an active, passionate and engaged community. A new era for Web3 gaming and for XR!

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