New York City has a rich history of inspiring bright ideas and innovation. One of the companies currently looking to harness the power and culture of the Big Apple is NYXL, previously known as Andbox. This global entertainment brand offers some of the best virtual experiences for gamers and creators alike, all centered around the glittering atmosphere of New York City and its people.
The process behind creating the company was quite a long one, as the company originally began as NY Excelsior, a team in the Overwatch League, a global esports league for the popular game, Overwatch. According to Ben Dietz, the Chief Brand and Strategy Officer at NYXL, Activision Blizzard, which owns Overwatch (and is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft) made it possible for the NYXL team to acquire commercial rights to its game IP, including exclusive rights to activate physically and digitally in the New York City market. . “Our owners, who were deeply ensconced in both gaming and early metaverse and web3 projects, said ‘this is a space we want to be active in,'” explained Dietz. To add to its portfolio, the owners bought the rights to the popular game Call of Duty. This allowed NYXL to have a deep connection to the gaming community, which makes up a majority of metaverse citizens but offers more than just gaming.
What separates NYXL as a metaverse company is its strong ties to New York City, an epicenter of Web 3 innovation. “We believe that New York is a source of incredible power,” Dietz stated, “both in terms of recognition around the world, but also in terms of the population here of gamers and creators.” According to a recent report, New York state is ranked fifth in the nation for economic impact from the video game industry, showing $2.07 billion in annual output. Because of this, the city itself is an epicenter for the gaming community, and Dietz and others at NYXL hope to use their company to create a community from this large population. “We’re about reflecting the diversity and makeup of the city through gaming culture,” Dietz added. “What’s been interesting for me is how much enthusiasm there’s been for a home for gaming in New York, a kind of streets-up culture built from the city.”
In order to parallel the styles and symbols of the city, NYXL is collaborating with some of the biggest names in the metaverse industry. “We have a partnership with Dapper Labs around NFTs,” said Dietz. “We also have a partnership with Coinbase.” This allows the company to engage with its fanbase on multiple levels, from the first Call of Duty League gameplay NFTs to a burgeoning Discord community. “What we’re mainly doing is planning moments where we can engage, hear from fans directly, put them in touch with our professional players or influencers, and allow them to get inside the company so they feel a part of it,” Dietz added. But the company is going further, by also working to make its platform as inclusive as possible. As Dietz explained: “If we’re going to reflect the composition of New York City and the diversity of New York City, we need to do so in a way that is inclusive, and obviously Web3 and the metaverse allow for lots of inclusion. And so, we want to really lean into that and figure out the best ways to do it.” As the metaverse has already shown to have some inclusivity issues, mainly in the cost of equipment, any efforts put in by companies like NYXL are helpful and important. For Dietz and his team, inclusivity combined with multi-level fan engagement has proven successful for the company, allowing NYXL to become a market leader in global entertainment within the metaverse.