Daniel Alegre, CEO of Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs, published a lengthy essay on Twitter (aka X) late Tuesday evening, part of which details the company’s challenges and shortcomings with game development—including for its upcoming metaverse game Otherside.
“While Dookey Dash was a fun game and experience, we have fallen well short of expectations with Forge,” Alegre wrote, referring to the startup’s HV-MTL Forge game.
Released in June, HV-MTL Forge is a social building and mech management game where players must complete tasks—like clean up after their NFT robots when they poop, construct tiles, and vote on other players' created environments. It hasn't yielded nearly the same kind of social media buzz as the viral and competitive Dookey Dash.
I want to address some of the feedback the company and I have been receiving from many of you recently.
I respect the relevant, pointed feedback as I know it comes from a place of wanting to see improvements in our Yuga communities.
First, I will start with sharing some advice…
— Daniel Alegre (@dalegre) October 18, 2023
Yuga Labs has similarly acknowledged the technical issues with its latest game experience, Legends of the Mara (LotM), as it faced server issues and outages for maintenance in recent weeks.
“The lessons that we are actively learning are that we need to rely on seasoned gaming partners to help build our experiences,” Alegre said.
This is part of why Yuga Labs has recently undergone what it called a “restructuring,” which involved laying off some U.S. staff two months after it acquired Roar Studios.
The very long Twitter post detailed Alegre’s observations about each of the crypto firm’s different NFT collections and initiatives over the past six months, which ranges from its Bitcoin Ordinals “TwelveFold” NFT collection launch to the “strained” relationship Alegre noticed between owners of the CryptoPunks NFTs and Bored Ape NFTs when he joined the company in December 2022.
While the Otherside metaverse is a massively ambitious project—a crypto-powered game that uses ApeCoin and offers a mix of metaverse socialization and MMORPG elements—the former Activision executive emphasized that he doesn’t want Yuga Labs to be perceived as a “gaming company per se.”
“Yet I do want to enable gaming and other digital experiences that our current and potential holders will find rewarding and fun, and can help expose broader audiences to our brands,” Alegre said.
Yuga’s CEO also acknowledged the eight-month delay between Yuga’s first and second playtests of Otherside, stating that “we could have done better” to allow more Yuga Labs NFT holders into the test. The Second Trip playtest had about 7,200 players in it.
“The evolution between the First and Second Trips was also not where it needed to be,” he said. “We needed to make changes—and quickly—in order to live up to the expectations of what Otherside can and should be.”
As for Meebits—the voxel-style NFTs brand which Yuga bought from Larva Labs in early 2022 along with the CryptoPunks IP—they’re “a difficult situation,” the CEO said.
“From a business perspective, the brand has not flourished,” Alegre said of Meebits.
To help rectify this, Yuga is giving Meebits a space in Otherside with “Meetropolis,” a world with skyscrapers and voxel-style mazes where Meebits can fly around. Meebits will also be overseen by the Otherside team going forward, as Alegre noted when announcing the restructuring.
Going forward, Yuga Labs is looking to outside partners to help build and refine its future gaming experiences, with its work with spatial computing firm Hadean, game studio Faraway, Big Rhino, and its Roar acquisition all dedicated toward making Otherside a reality.
“While there is no doubt that the industry backdrop is challenging in the immediate term, I am focused on building and delivering for the long term,” Alegre said.