Yuga Labs CEO, CTO Hires May Point to ‘Mass Adoption’ of ‘Web 2.5’ Games

Yuga Lab’s appointment of an Epic Games and EA veteran has crypto industry participants bullish again on the future of Web3 gaming

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Yuga Labs and mundissima/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Yuga Labs hired Epic Games veteran Mike Seavers as the company’s chief technology officer on Friday.

The consensus from a number of crypto industry participants? Blockchain-based gaming initiatives just got a great deal more gripping — and likely more competitive.

Seavers said in a statement that “there have been rare moments over my career where I felt like a new technology was creating a true paradigm shift for the world,” adding that he recognizes Web3 as “one of those moments.”

Incoming Yuga Labs Chief Technology Officer Mike Seavers | Source: Yuga Labs

Yuga Labs, the Web3 company with a weighty venture capital arm, said in a statement on Friday that Seavers is set to join the company on May 22. A spokesperson for Yuba Labs declined to make Seavers or another representative for the company available for comment. 

By all appearances, Yuga is making a significant push into Web3 gaming this year. 

Seavers is taking the job of current Yuga Labs chief technology officer Kerem Atalay, according to the company, who is set to “remain with the company as a close strategic advisor.”

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Yuga Labs ‘clearly taking gaming very seriously’  

Chris Akhavan, the chief gaming officer of Magic Eden who joined the NFT marketplace in November 2022, told Blockworks in an exclusive statement on Friday that Weaver’s hire is the latest indicator that Yuga Labs is “clearly taking gaming very seriously.”

That’s especially true when taking into account the fact that Seaver’s pending start as the company’s chief of technology follows Yuga Labs’ installation of former Activision Blizzard executive Daniel Alegra as its CEO back in March.

Back in September 2022, Yuga made another noteworthy move when it tapped Spencer Tucker to lead the company’s gaming division. The move caused some buzz in the industry, with regard to speculation about gaming specialists moving into the crypto space.

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Akhavan spent more than eight years at the startup Glu Mobile, which was acquired by gaming giant Electronic Arts in 2021 in a $2.4 billion deal. 

Weaver worked directly on the development of a Fortnite product, according to Jonathan Campeau, Executive Producer at Aurory Games, adding that a “clean slate with new emerging tech” on its own is “enough to attract any” chief technology officer. 

Seaver’s hire “shows that Yuga Labs is doubling down on their [Web3] strategy, and wants to develop the exact same formula,” according to Campeau.

With one notable caveat, that is. 

“Except this time, leveraging blockchain technology will create tremendous value for players in the long term,” Campeau said. “Really smart move.” 

Where is crypto gaming going in Q1?

There have been a number of notable instances of top talent from traditional AAA gaming companies taking the plunge into venture capital firms with digital asset dealings. 

There have also been defections here and there from the industry, in terms of recent hires running back to traditional asset managers and gaming studios. This mainly accelerated in the fourth quarter of last year as crypto markets tanked. 

It’s all added up to crypto industry participants eagerly parsing what the latest in people moves for gaming companies means for the sector.

Animoca Brands has also gotten in on the crypto gaming push, with at least one recent indicator pointing to the fact that the sizable crypto backer is looking to accelerate its funding of startups in the sector

Asked the outlook for the crypto gaming and NFT sector for the remainder of the second quarter, Jonathan Campeau said “that’s a hard one to answer” given that “a lot of [Web3] game developers are experimenting still in many different ways.” 

“There is no real definite set of guidelines to follow for developing a” Web3 gaming title “yet,” according to Campeau, apart from “relying on the web2 traditional best practices that have been working for decades.”

He added: “We are seeing more and more web 2.5 games for that reason as [Web3 developers realized it might still be too early to throw crypto jargon into the mix for mass adoption.”

Update: April 29 at 7:47pm. An earlier version of this article attributed Jonathan Campeau’s quotes to Chris Akhavan. We regret the error.


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