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Netmarble liquidates Grand Cross: Metaworld studio Metaverse World

The South Korean publisher attributed the closure to "market changes" within the metaverse industry.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 23, 2024

2 Min Read
A screenshot from a trailer for Metaworld
Image via Netmarble

Netmarble is liquidating its Metaverse World subsidiary due to "market changes" within the metaverse industry.

A company spokesperson confirmed the news, which was first reported by South Korean publication Yonhap News (via Kotaku), in an email sent to Game Developer. Yonhap claims that 70 people were laid off due to the shuttering, but Netmarble didn't specify how many employees were impacted.

"We can confirm Netmarble F&C has made the difficult decision to terminate its 'Metaverse World' entity, which was developing its Metaverse platform," reads the statement. "Netmarble F&C continues to seek a sustainable business direction, but in light of business conditions and market changes within the Metaverse industry as a whole, the company has been forced to close down this subsidiary for the time being."

Metaverse World was a subsidiary of Netmarble F&C and had been developing Grand Cross: Metaworld, which it described as a "massive virtual space with unprecedented visuals."

Netmarble operates titles like Lineage 2: Revolution and owns numerous companies including Kabam. The studio unveiled Metaworld in December 2022 and said the project would target a global rollout in the final quarter of 2023.

Metaworld's "virtual influencer" aspirations

At the time, the South Korean publisher suggested Metaworld would thrive in the era of the "virtual influencer," but those hopes have evidently been dashed.

"Grand Cross: Metaworld provides a personal space where users decorate in detail and develop a theme of its own for future B2B partnership opportunity," it wrote in a press release in 2022. "Also, to create an environment where anyone can become a virtual influencer without a large expenditure initially, personalized avatar customization tools are provided and actual movements and expressions can be captured using webcam and software."

Metaworld sought to leverage blockchain technology to allow players to participate in digital asset trading in partnership with multiple NFT touts.

Thousands of developers have already lost their jobs this year as the wave of layoffs that enveloped the game industry in 2023 continues to wreak havoc in 2024. Multiple companies including Unity, Riot Games, Embracer, Thunderful, 2K Games, and more have all made significant cuts since the turn of the year, often citing a need to become more sustainable or deliver shareholder value.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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