September 26th, 2018
Tencent launches new blockchain game merging concepts behind Pokémon Go and CryptoKitties
South China Morning Post | Zheping Huang | Apr 13, 2019
The world’s biggest gaming market is finally getting a taste of Pokémon Go and CryptoKitties.
Not the original versions but a new title that merges concepts underlying the two games into one, produced by Chinese gaming giant Tencent.
The Shenzhen-based company on Thursday launched its long anticipated augmented reality (AR) game called Let’s Hunt Monsters, where users can cruise around streets and catch hundreds of virtual monsters, while rearing and trading millions of digital kittens stored on a blockchain. That essentially combines what Pokémon Go and CryptoKitties are known for.
Launched about three years ago, Pokémon Go is the most successful mobile title in the Pokémon franchise, with an estimated US$2.5 billion in total revenue, according to data from Sensor Tower. CryptoKitties, meanwhile, is the first viral blockchain game, which upon its release in late 2017 jammed up the ethereum network where it is based with players spending millions of US dollars trading cartoon kittens.
Both titles have had little or no exposure in China. Pokémon Go’s location-based gameplay is dependent on Google Maps, which is banned in the country. As for CryptoKitties, players essentially need to get ether – the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin – to trade those digital cats, and there is no easy way to do that in China after the government banned cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017.
As of Friday, Let’s Hunt Monsters ranked as the most downloaded free game on China’s iOS App Store, beating in-demand titles like PUBG Mobile and Honour of Kings.
Much like in Pokémon Go, players of Tencent’s new game can flick a ball on their screens to capture virtual creatures while exploring real-world locations – only the monsters in this case are not Pikachus but mythological beasts like dragons and phoenixes. In a separate feature, players will get to summon digital kittens that they can trade with other players on Tencent’s own blockchain platform – in return for in-game credits rather than real money.
Tencent could use Let’s Hunt Monsters as a much needed helping hand to boost its gaming revenue while the company is still waiting for government approvals to monetise two smash-hit shooter games, PUBG and Fortnite.
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