Some music lovers may be introduced to NFTs and the metaverse through Pokémon Go-style virtual reality (AR) games. Electronic music pioneers Joel “Deadmau5” Zimmerman and Richie Hawtin launched Web3 company Pixelynx in the hopes that this is the case.
This week, in connection with the annual Art Basel event, Pixelynx will release its Elynxir music metaverse game platform with the introduction of a virtual reality (AR) scavenger hunt set on Miami Beach.
Pixelnyx’s co-founder and CEO Inder Phull likened the Go Astral scavenger hunt to “Rock Band meets Pokémon Go,” referencing two massively successful video game franchises. As a scaling network for Ethereum, Polygon is the foundation of the Elynxir platform.
The Elynxir app will allow users to interact with music-themed objects in the real world, much like the Pokémon Go app did with the digital world. According to the company, participants in the scavenger hunt will have the opportunity to win one of twenty fractionalized bits of an NFT from a preexisting “blue chip” profile picture (PFP) project.
With these fractionalized NFTs, users of the Elynxir platform can have a say in shaping the future of a virtual musician. According to Phull, early users will be able to construct a virtual musician that may succeed on the future music metaverse platform by “gamifying” the concepts of coordination and collaboration.
“What we want to do is give a lot of victors the promise of voting rights to this virtual act,” he said. “The group will then work together and offer proposals for the future of this digital musician.”
In fact, NFT isn’t the first technology to power a virtual band or performer. For instance, the virtual band Kingship, signed to a major label, features avatars based on those used by the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, and plays songs written by Grammy Award winners Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy. At the same time, Timbaland, a composer, launched a record label for artists of the Bored Ape collective.
According to Phull, Elynxir’s virtual performance could feature contributions from Deadmau5, Hawtin, and other artists on Spinnin’ Records (part of Warner Music Group) and Mau5trap Records. The eventual goal of the virtual musician is to join a supergroup with other users of the music metaverse platform.
Niantic, creator of Pokémon Go, has invested in Pixelynx and provided the Niantic Lightship engine for use in the Elynxir augmented reality application. Practically everyone who has played the smash-hit Nintendo collaboration will be able to pick up on the gameplay immediately, despite its radically different look and feel. Phull claims that the augmented reality software will make it easier for new users to transition to Web3 and NFTs.
He said, “It’s super simple in terms of onboarding,” he said. “The idea is you can get your first NFT for free, in principle. The idea is just to start giving fans a new way to get a digital collectible, and then slowly onboard them into the ecosystem where we’ve got more products and experiences that we’re going to start releasing next year.”
The augmented reality (AR) app is only a small part of the overall Elynixr experience; the metaverse will be accessible across several platforms and focus heavily on music. Using Unreal Engine, a high-end digital experience is being crafted, one that will allow fans to collaborate with their favorite artists and feature content created by the fans themselves.
When asked about plans to grow the music industry, Phull remarked, “We’re really excited about exploring this intersection between music, gaming, and Web3, thinking about: How would you grow the music industry? Gaming really presents the rails for music to grow and become something much more than just a static format.”
Deadmau5 has actively explored multiple NFT collaborations in the past, with examples being drops in Web3 games such as Blankos Block Party and The Sandbox. Passes for early access to Elynxir have been developed in the form of reactive music NFTs, which Pixelynx has previously produced.
The startup launched in 2020 after a $4.5 million seed investment the year prior, including involvement from major metaverse investor Animoca Brands as well as Solana Ventures and Everyrealm. It was also joined by Alameda Research, the trading firm that was instrumental in the recent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency market.
Phull claims that electronic artist Hawtin (a.k.a. Plastikman) made the first playable version of Pixelynx’s platform, and that the two of them are committed to make Elynxir the metaverse’s destination for music fans. Each of them, Phull said, is “developing their own technology” that Pixelynx would eventually include into its network.
“They’re deeply involved as technologists and musicians,” Phull said.