Entain Looking to Expand into NFT and the Metaverse
Posted on: January 31, 2022, 08:34h.
Last updated on: February 1, 2022, 10:26h.
Entain is planning to expand its global reach to a new dimension. The gaming company is getting in on the craze surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the Metaverse.
Entain isn’t content with conquering just the tangible universe. It is now going after the Metaverse, loosely defined as a virtual world that integrates virtual and physical spaces, as well as virtual economies.
The company has launched an innovation hub, Ennovate, which will explore emerging technologies. Following an initial investment of $134 million, Entain will now collaborate with different business partners and companies to dive into the Metaverse. Programs based in the UK will receive $53.6 million of the initial funding.
We want to lead the way with new, exciting products and experiences for customers and use our cutting-edge technology to pioneer innovations in sport, gaming and interactive entertainment for the Metaverse,” said Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen.
The goal is to become a “global leader in innovative entertainment,” according to a company announcement. Ennovate will study virtual and augment reality, non-fungible tokens (NFT), and more. In the future, Entain expects to be a pioneer in the area of virtual reality (VR) “multi-sports club” experiences, as well as VR arcades.
Although a rollout time frame hasn’t been given, several initiatives will likely arrive this year. One of these is a new NFT option coming to Entain’s PartyPoker brand. Theta Labs, a decentralized platform, is going to power the NFTs. Entain explains that these will highlight “iconic video moments and tournament trends” in PartyPoker’s history.
New Collaborative Efforts Coming
In a possible nod to future integration with social media, Entain is going to set up a new research facility in Charterhouse Square in London. The lab is reportedly going to be located close to the UK headquarters of Snapchat and TikTok.
The facility, which will launch this spring, will be a hands-on lab. It will include an “Experience Zone,” where investors, partners, employees, and even customers can take immersive experiences for a test drive.
There will also be an accelerator, as well as an incubator. For those, $6.7 million is going to support new innovative programs, with startups targeting immersive experiences and the Metaverse welcome to participate.
Entain Partners with Verizon, Theta Labs
Entain expects to establish partnerships with technology innovators to lead the exploration. The company has already begun several initiatives to support its goal. It is collaborating with Verizon to build the Ennovate 5G Lab Project. It is also collaborating with BT to research its computing and drive 5G usage. Theta Labs, in addition to the NFTs, is helping establish Entain’s Metaverse objectives.
Seeking to offer “real benefits to society,” Entain also linked the new project with its Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) initiatives. This allows its not-for-profit partners to access the benefits Ennovate provides, including technological developments and funding.
Chance for Childhood and Climate Hack are among the partners Entain highlights as possible beneficiaries. Entain is working with the former to develop a mobile app that can detect “hidden disabilities and development delays” in pre-school children. Entain funds and supports the latter, a group addressing climate change through artificial intelligence.