Move over, Club Penguin. Pudgy Penguins, the NFT-linked toys that waddled into Walmart earlier this year, are marching into a new industry: online gaming.
They'll be chilling in "Pudgy World" – an interactive digital playground for Pudgy Penguins NFT holders and toy owners as well as the uninitiated. The platform's early-access version will launch sometime before next April, offering players both narrative-driven and open-ended gameplay options, Pudgy Penguins CEO Luca Netz said Saturday at contemporary art convention Art Basel in Miami.
“Pudgy Penguin fans have long been waiting for more ways to interact with their characters,” Netz said in a statement. “Having a place like Pudgy World will allow players to take their fandom to the next level.”
Launched in July 2021, the NFT project of chubby flightless Antarctic creatures endured a period of internal backbiting involving management changes, before recovering and ultimately, in September, announcing a line of tangible, in-real-life toys, including plushies and figurines, to be sold across 2,000 Walmarts in the U.S. The deal marked one of the first major breakthroughs by an NFT brand into mainstream consumer culture.
The toys are expected to rake in more than $10 million in sales during the second half of this year, Netz told TechCrunch.
Pudgy World’s debut comes as toymakers increasingly roll out tangible toys alongside virtual gameplay tie-ins for a generation of digital-native consumers. Last summer, toy maker Spin Master released Bitzee, a tamagotchi-like virtual pet that comes in a handheld box. Meanwhile, Hot Wheels earlier this year debuted its Rift Rally Game, an immersive virtual world accessible to owners of its toy-car kit.
Each Pudgy Penguins toy will come with a scannable code containing a birth certificate for a digital ‘Forever Pudgy,’ or a unique character that lives inside Pudgy World, CoinDesk previously reported.
Players can explore Pudgy World as their own customizable characters, according to Pudgy Penguins. The virtual world will also feature the brand's first “Hero Characters:” Pudgy and Peaches, the company said.
The Pudgy Penguins NFT collection first dropped in July 2021, selling out within minutes. Since then, the collection has grown to 8,888 NFTs held by more than 4,000 people, Open Sea data shows. The collection's floor price is roughly $27,000, up from $90 more than two years ago. The collection’s market cap stands at nearly $250 million, CoinGecko data shows.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.