Imaginary Ones: blending fashion, gaming, and content in a Web3 entertainment universe

We may not be using the M word much these days, but sandwiched between NFTs and AI, it’s very much under construction and very much up for grabs, regardless of what we’re calling it.

We might remember Imaginary Ones from the bubbly NFTs sold for over $10 million in just under 4 minutes back in April 2022. The company is now developing from an NFT collection to an entertainment universe. The multi-year project is expanding its web3 offerings via consumer brands, developing games, and producing family-friendly films and content – and it’s only the start.

Later, in October 2022, Imaginary Ones partnered with Hugo Boss to deploy 1001 specially curated NFTs, sold out in 10 minutes. The partnership saw limited edition merchandise online and in-store, with reports suggesting record sales for the fastest-selling capsule collection for the German fashion giant. Those highways, whether literally or symbolically, are starting to connect with audiences worldwide – as they also see Bubble Rangers, a hit game from Imaginary Ones that’s now evolving into a massive entertainment ecosystem.

Imagining the Imaginary Ones

The Singapore-based startup was co-founded by Clement Chia (CEO), a self-taught animation artist, and David Lee (COO), who co-founded OFFSET.SG and OFFEO, an award-winning motion design and digital content platform with over $20 million turnover and 100+ global clients such as Netflix, Coca-Cola, Google, Nike, and more. Chia has collaborated with global brands such as Black Pink, Samsung, L’Oreal, Sotheby and more, and has seen over $100,000 auctioned for his top art pieces.

Famously known as ‘Cmttat’ on social media, the co-founder grew through the ranks with years and years of trial-and-error designs. In 2021, the Singaporean famously collaborated with luxury Jewellery brand Van Cleef and Arpels for its Prulée collection, bringing it to life on the digital screen.

Imaginary Ones evolution

After the initial success of 8888 Imaginary Ones NFTs, the project launched its next phase called Imaginary Rides. These were 20,000 carefully crafted NFTs on the Ethereum network; the collection was made public on 8th May 2022. What started as a campaign quickly caught much attention as Imaginary Rides deployed its intergalactic racer Bubble Rangers, where players drove cheerful vehicles and raced to win it all.

The goofy maximalism encouraged players to compete online or against friends through its global leaderboards. The social game campaign generated over 6 million plays in 3 weeks.

Since its early days, Imaginary Ones has been about as ubiquitous and popular as a web3 project can be. Its NFT successes and game campaigns routinely drew hundreds and thousands of users to its platform, where a cottage industry of its ‘Bubble community’ emerged, laser-focused on Imaginary Ones and its plans.

Fast forward months of planning and development, the company soft-launched its first mobile game, Bubble Rangers, made available on iOS and Android. Since early 2023, the game has seen a resurgence, and over 250,000+ people logged in last December. Anyone who still thinks of Imaginary Ones as solely that goofy racer will be surprised to learn the full extent of the company’s true ambitions.

Bubble Rangers is an endless runner game, much like the infamous Temple Run or Subway Surfers. Co-founder and CEO Clement Chia says he wanted a more family-driven game with simple mechanics so anyone could pick up and play it.

In recent years, Imaginary Ones has steadily expanded its marquee title into something more akin to a platform or marketplace than a simple stand-alone game. Over the years, its psychedelic seasonal events, attempts at kid-friendly YouTube channels that generated over 5 million views and big-name brand collaborations all hinted at these grand plans. Imaginary Ones has tripled by announcing six new games that follow the same ‘pick-up and play-it’ game style.

That slate of new games was already ambitious, but the upcoming developments on an all-new native, utility cryptocurrency token, animated films and other big-name partnerships to seamlessly integrate the worlds of web2 and web3 is on another level entirely. The company also recently announced a collaboration with Immutable to leverage its zkEVM technology to continue developing mobile-first experiences.

Why do brands need web3?

With Imaginary Ones, consumer brands are in an exciting position of needing something they probably couldn’t do better themselves.

Imaginary Ones is light years ahead of its peers on web3 gaming experiences. Running smooth, fast, seamless gaming experiences for crypto projects is often technically complex and expensive.

Co-founder Clement Chia said, “Blockchain’s entry point for mass adoption will be through games and consumer brands. The technologies web3 projects develop need to be easy to play, understand, and adopt.” Companies that can reach global non-crypto native audiences through brands can instantly gain a user base without building it up from scratch.

The benefits will also extend the other way, where companies such as Hugo Boss can leapfrog their own retention metrics through the power of Blockchain and via virtual and augmented reality experiences. Significant brands like Disney recently announced collaborations with Fortnite to create an entertainment universe that will appeal beyond the battle-royale playing community. Brands enhancing their offerings through technological initiatives can bring in younger and older users and expand the ecosystem’s appeal to wider audiences.

Web3 games and their business models are also key for their potential success within the traditional market. In the Imaginary Ones ecosystem, for example, the games are free to play as the company makes all the NFT and Blockchain-related stuff completely optional, which aims to rotate through virtual stores daily.

Concepts like digital asset ownership have been on the rise for some time now. If the popularity of character skins across different games or limited edition merchandise across different brands is any indication, players will be eager to collect their favourites and show them off in the gaming world, whichever form it may be.

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