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‘Huge signal and validation’ — Top Activision exec to take Yuga Labs’ helm

The appointment of one of Activision Blizzard’s highest-ranking executives to a leadership position at Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) parent Yuga Labs has been seen as a boon for its metaverse efforts and another sign of 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, who will take the helm of the company in the first half of 2023, succeeding the current CEO Nicole Muniz. 

Activision Blizzard, a gaming giant with a market cap of around $60 billion, according to Yahoo Finance, 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, co-founder of blockchain role-playing game Illuvium said in a Dec. 19 post 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, VP of Global Business Development at blockchain tech company Immutable added a similar comment in a response to Warwick, noting that the appointment is a: “Huge signal and validation for the space.”

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.

Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie 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, partnership and IP 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, 2023, at which point he will take the reigns of CEO at Yuga Labs. The currently serving CEO of Yuga Labs, Nicole Muniz, is set to stay on as a partner and strategic advisor.

Related: How GameFi contributes to the growth of crypto and NFTs

Founded in 2021, blockchain technology company Yuga Labs develops digital collectables and is arguably most famous for its Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) 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 litepaper that the development will be shaped by community member participation going forward.

While Nov. 15 saw the company acquire 10KTF, an NFT game founded by digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann.