For the past year, a company known as Irreverent Labs has been working on a game called. Mecha Fight ClubIt would be based on the proud and ancient sport of cockfighting, which would be driven by NFT sales.
not using real chickens, mind you, were mechanical ones, but still.
Here’s the game in action that is hoped to inspire the sale of a ton of mechabots, NFTs that players must purchase and then use to battle each other:
you maybe shock to hear about it after seeing such a successful demonstration, but now it’s May 2023 and the game – or the collection of concept videos built around NFTs, how you want to describe it – has essentially been canceled and the developers announced an “indefinite hibernation”:
While it’s easy to blame the cancellation for looking crappy and being built on a dead market, the developers instead decided to blame the SEC’s recent crypto crackdown., saying “We are an American company and the lack of clarity makes it difficult for blockchain companies to operate here. In the current regulatory mess, we couldn’t create an in-game economy without worrying about the regulatory implications.”
For a group of people who are very interested in all the NFT and crypto hustle and bustle now, Like the rest of Silicon Valley, it stumbled towards “AI” in its place.
The official YouTube account of the game, which stopped posting gameplay videos a long time ago (though Twitter account continued to exaggerate the game until earlier this week, using mostly AI-generated imagery), recently started broadcasting AI interviews instead, and decrypt reports (via Web3Going Great) the company has now completely moved away from game development and has instead turned to using machine learning to create “short-form videos from images.”
I’m not posting this here to point out and laugh at a bad game that will probably never be a game and you’ve probably never heard of. I’m posting this because This company received $40 million in funding. To make a MechaFightCluband after only a year they can cancel it, shift all their focus to a proposition as flimsy and ethereal as crypto and carry on as if nothing had happened.
Linette Lopez’s excellent piece from last week argued: “Silicon Valley has entered the Hail Mary phase of the business cycle – the desert patch of a tech industry recession where desperation can turn into recklessness.” Moving from “mechanical chicken fighting game” to “AI-driven video creator” within a year, Irreverent Labs is a perfect example of this desperation, a case study of everything that’s wrong with so many companies working in these tech fields, and even worse, giving them all idiots who keep giving this money.