Would you trade Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for a barrel full of monkey pictures?
Daniel Alegre, the now-former president and chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard, just did. Alegre shared on Friday that he was leaving Activison Blizzard after 3 years with the company at the end of Q1 next year in order to “pursue a new opportunity.”
We now know that this new opportunity is heading up Yuga Labs, the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs.
On Monday, Yuga Labs announced that Alegre was joining the company as its new CEO, stepping in for Nicole Muniz. Muniz, who has been involved with the BAYC founders during the initial launch phase in April 2021, will continue to work with the company as a partner and strategic advisor.
BAYC is by far the biggest and most successful of the non-fungible token projects that blew up during last year’s cryptocurrency boom.
NFTs are basically unique tokens connected to a piece of digital media, in this case an image of a cartoon ape, in order to show ownership over the piece. BAYC owners are able to trade their NFTs on the aftermarket, where some have sold for millions of dollars. Other BAYC owners, such as actor Seth Green, have created their own intellectual property around their Bored Ape NFT, something Yuga Labs allows BAYC NFT holders to do.
So, what would the former president of a video game conglomerate be doing at a company like Yuga Labs? Well, video games, of course.
Yuga Labs has been building their NFT portfolio, acquiring other major NFT projects like CryptoPunks, in hopes of building a blockchain-based metaverse. The company launched a “virtual land” NFT project in May called “Otherside,” which was Yuga Labs’ first official foray into the metaverse. The company aims to turn Otherside into a MMORPG that integrates with BAYC and its other NFT projects.
“Nicole, Greg, and I have been on the hunt for someone with Daniel’s skill set for some time,” Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have him join the team to help with our vision of a truly interoperable metaverse. Daniel has held one of the highest level roles at one of the largest gaming companies in the world. He brings valuable experience across entertainment, e-commerce, and global strategic partnerships — all of which are critical aspects of an immersive web3 world built by creators and for creators.”
And Alegre isn’t their first big gaming hire either. In September, the company hired mobile gaming executive Spencer Tucker as its Chief Gaming Officer
However, Yuga Labs will have its work cut out for it if it wants to enter the gaming industry.
Blockchain-based Web3 games have struggled to take off. Online game Axie Infinity, for example, was once a breakout in the field…until it was hacked and half a billion dollars were stolen from the ecosystem. Outside the blockchain space, the broader video gaming community has outright rejected NFTs to the point where other video game companies have had to assure fans that it would not integrate NFTs into its games.