The appointment of one of Activision Blizzard’s highest-ranking executives to a leadership position at Bored Ape Yacht Club parent Yuga Labs has been seen as a boon for its metaverse efforts and another validation of the crypto industry.
On Dec. 19, Yuga Labs confirmed it has appointed Daniel Alegre — the current president and chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard — as its new CEO. He’ll take the helm of the company in the first half of 2023, succeeding the current chief executive, Nicole Muniz.
Activision Blizzard, a gaming giant with a market cap of around $60 billion, is responsible for popular gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch. Alegre has held the role since 2020.
Kieran Warwick, the co-founder of blockchain role-playing game Illuvium, said in a Dec. 19 tweet that Yuga Labs’ new hire is “big for all of GameFi,” suggesting that the next crypto market bull run will be sparked by Web3-powered gaming.
“Every day more news comes out about new players from traditional gaming entering the space. DeFi 2.0 is cool. But gaming will be the narrative that kicks off the next run,” he explained.
Andrew Soro, vice president of global business development at blockchain tech company Immutable, had similar thoughts in a response to Warwick, noting that the appointment is a “[h]uge signal and validation for the space.”
Nonfungible token (NFT) proponent and managing partner of NFT investment fund Sfermion Andrew Steinwold called the news “WILD.”
“Someone of that caliber jumping into the NFT space to head one of the leading companies?! Huge news & positive signal for our whole industry,” he said.
According to the Dec. 19 release from Yuga Labs, Alegre will work closely with Yuga Labs founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano.
Aronow explained they had “been on the hunt for someone with Daniel’s skill set for some time,” to help with “our vision of a truly interoperable metaverse.”
In a statement, Alegre said he looked forward to the new role, noting that the company’s pipeline of products, partnerships and intellectual property represents a “massive opportunity to define the metaverse” in a way that gives creators and users ownership of their identity and digital assets.
His contract with Blizzard ends on March 31, at which point he will take the reigns of CEO at Yuga Labs. Muniz, the current CEO, is set to stay on as a partner and strategic adviser.
Related: How GameFi contributes to the growth of crypto and NFTs
Founded in 2021, blockchain technology company Yuga Labs develops digital collectibles and is arguably most famous for its Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT collections.
It has been working on a Metaverse product called Otherside, which makes use of gaming mechanics from mainstream MMORPGs and Web3 tech.
Otherside attracted 4,500 people for the “first trip” tech demo on July 16, and developers have said in the project lite paper that development will be shaped by community member participation going forward.
On Nov. 15, the company acquired 10KTF, an NFT game founded by digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann.