Triple A Gaming Titles joins the NFT gaming scene
Ubisoft enters the market, A16Z and FTX ramps up their involvement in blockchain games, and highlights of other popular gaming platforms
As the global gaming industry continues to grow, the total token market value of the blockchain game economy has exceeded 25 billion U.S. dollars with its Play-to-Earn economic model, setting a new record high.
In recent years, the gaming industry has been on an unstoppable growth, furthermore, the effects of the Covid-19 have also seen an increase in participation in gaming. In July this year, Newzoo, the agency for game market insights and analytics, released the “Global Games Market Report 2021”, and the content, coupled with data, showed that the market is expected to generate more than $170 billion in revenue this year.
On the other hand, the development of games using blockchain technology, to solve pain points of traditional games like centralization and lack of transparency, has also been rapid. According to DappRadar data, as of November 10, 2021, a total of 1,070 games have been deployed on the entire Dapp network, and the single-day transaction volume and user volume peaked on October 1st and 7th respectively. (The single-day transaction amount reached 484 million U.S. dollars, and the user volume reached 1.33 million.)
Among them, the recent performance of blockchain-powered games utilizing the Play-to-Earn model is exceptionally eye-catching. On November 7th, CMC (CoinMarketCap) data showed that the total market value of Play-to-Earn tokens exceeded 25 billion U.S. dollars, setting a record high.
While gamers and retail investors have been paying attention constantly, at the same time, institutions have also been attracted to accelerate their entry into the market. Whether they are mainstream gaming developers that are onboarding on the ecosystems, or the video game developers already on the blockchain, the efforts are all contributing to the gain in momentum. Below, Blockbeats will highlight many well-known game platforms and their projects.
Animoca Brands is a Hong Kong-based game software and venture capitalist company, which has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (delisted as of March 9, 2020).
Founded in 2014, it acquires game companies and launches original games, and actively invests in related infrastructure (in areas like games, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality). Some of their acquisitions and investments include “The Sandbox”, “Yield Guild Games”, “REVV Racing”, “F1 Delta Time”, etc.
On October 20th this year, Animoca Brands raised US$65 million in financing, with a pre-financing valuation of US$2.2 billion. Investors in this round include: Liberty City Ventures, Ubisoft Entertainment, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital, Com2uS, Kingsway Capital, 10T Holdings, Token Bay Capital, Smile Group, Tess Ventures, MSA Capital, Octava Fund, Adit Ventures, Summer Capital, Sigitech Holdings, Black Anthem Ltd, Mirana Corp, as well as Justin Sun. The funds will be used to fund strategic investments and acquisitions, product development, as well as obtaining licensing rights for popular intellectual property rights.
Dapper Labs was founded in 2012 by crypto enthusiasts Roham and Dieter Shirley. The founder, Dieter Shirley, is also one of the main initiators of the ERC-721 standard. In November 2017, Dapper Labs’ blockchain game “CryptoKitties”, based on the ERC-721 standard, was officially launched. In addition, Dapper Labs later developed a faster and developer-friendly blockchain “Flow”, to support the higher requirements of the new generation of decentralized games, apps as well as digital assets, or NFT collectibles.
At the same time, the NFT project “NBA Top Shot” under Dapper Labs also quickly made a splash in the industry at the beginning of the year. On September 22nd, Dapper Labs announced the completion of a US$250 million financing round led by Coatue. A16z, Google Ventures, and Version One Ventures also participated in the investment. With this latest round of financing, Dapper Labs’ valuation has reached US$7.6 billion.
Sky Mavis was established in early 2018 and their products (Axie Infinity, Ronin) are aimed to allow anyone to truly own their own digital identity and game assets. In 2020, it ranked 6th among all blockchain game companies on Blockchaingamer.biz, and its flagship product, Axie Infinity, is known to the industry for its staggering profitability.
Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online video game where players can fight, raise and trade pets named Axies. According to data from Token Terminal, Axie Infinity’s revenue in July this year reached 334 million U.S. dollars, which officially exceeded the monthly revenue of “Honor of Kings/王者荣耀” (data from Sensor Tower) of 231 million U.S. dollars.
On October 5th, Sky Mavis announced the completion of a US$152 million Series B financing round, with a16z leading the investment, and participation from Paradigm, Accel, FTX, Samsung Next and others. This round of financing will be used to continue the promotion and development of Play-to-Earn games, as well as expanding its infrastructure to achieve projected growth, including the expansion of Axie Infinity and Ronin.
Enjin is the largest multi-functional blockchain game development platform, consisting of Trusted Cloud, Blockchain SDK, Platform API, Wallet Daemon and Efinity. It was launched in 2019 and its headquarters is based in Singapore. At present, the Enjin Network has around 18.7 million registered users and 250,000 game communities, including esports teams, minecraft servers, forums, game tribes, role-playing groups, fan sites, etc. There are over 18.7 million registered players, and approximately 60m players globally access the network each month.
On November 4th this year, Enjin announced the establishment of a 100 million U.S. dollar Efinity Metaverse Fund, which aims to support Enjin and Efinity adopters and other organizations in building the Metaverse. It will contribute to the Enjin ecosystem, Metaverse projects, games, decentralized infrastructure, NFT DApps, as well as other pioneering projects.
Gala Games was founded by Eric Schiermeyer (co-founder of the well-known social game developer Zynga), Wright Thurston (one of the first major crypto miners and holder of multiple patents on blockchain technology), and Michael McCarthy (creative director behind viral gaming hits such as Farmville 2), and it aims to become like Steem. Gala Games has also developed a separate blockchain network, and users can obtain rewards based on each person’s contribution to the network by purchasing a license to operate the Gala node.
The Gala Games Network encompasses developers that design blockchain games, encouraging players to own, transfer the NFT obtained in games, securely purchase, sell and trade through the peer-to-peer market, all through the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain smart contract functions.
The first game released by Gala Games is Town Star, which is a farming simulation game in which players can grow crops, collect resources, and build factories on their own land to continuously improve their economic level. It is widely praised by many players in the industry. In addition, the platform also houses the RPG title “Mirandus”, PVP Tower Defense game “Fortified”, etc., providing even more choices and catering to different players.
Blockchain game startup Mythical Games was founded by John Linden, former AR/VR game company Seismic Games and Grue Games executive, with its headquarters based in Los Angeles. The company develops mobile, PC and console games based on the EOS blockchain, and these games will be aimed at delivering new kinds of player-owned economies.
Recently, Mythical Games announced that it has received 150 million U.S. dollars in Series C financing, and the company’s valuation has reached 1.25 billion U.S. dollars. This round of financing was led by a16z, Alameda Research, Binance, D1 Capital, RedBird Capital and The Raine Group, 32 Equity (the investment arm of the National Football League), OneTeam Partners, Michael Jordan, The Kraft Group, Michael R. Gordon of the Boston Red Sox, Mantis VC, etc. participated in the vote. The company is providing a platform through its Mythical Economic Engine and Mythical Marketplace to help other developers enter the fray and create their own player-owned economies.
GAMEE is a Play-to-Earn game platform that has attracted 30 million users worldwide, who have played more than 4.7 billion games and received more than 9 million US dollars in actual rewards. The use of the platform ranges from casual games to highly-competitive tournaments that provide prizes. In addition to releasing dozens of original games, GAMEE also cooperates with NASA, Guinness World Records, Manchester City Football Club, and other internationally renowned brands to develop games.
In addition, GAMEE has launched a one-stop platform known as ARC8 that integrates a variety of games, which has been launched on the Apple and Google app stores, and at the same time, ranks among the top on Polygon’s Dapp user rankings. On Arc8, many casual games such as Marble Dash, Pixel Dungeon, Globo Run, etc. have been launched, where players can use their skills in-game to obtain the reward token GMEE.
USM Labs developed the “Universal Metaverse” (USM) and the Play-to-Earn blockchain-powered game “Metamon”. USM is a 3D planetary virtual world where players can buy land, build shops and run art galleries. Users can dynamically zoom in and out in and around the 3D planet, just like Google Earth. At the same time, the USM Metaverse can also provide IGO (Initial Game Offerings) for game projects and initial offerings for social applications.
Metamon is a blockchain game based on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Players can control and collect cute Metamon monsters. Almost all in-game items, including Metamon, are NFTs and can be traded, transferred or given away on any NFT market.
In addition, Elon Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, is also vested in the USM. The Maye Musk Mystery Box (MPB) NFT and DeFi+GameFi vehicle for the USM Metaverse is exclusively managed by Radio Caca. Radio Caca’s token RACA is also the native token in the USM Metaverse, the Metamon Game and other games and social Dapps in the USM Metaverse.
Dacoco is a developer of NFT games, and believes that the Metaverse is the next iteration of online social life, in which participants are the owners, rather than consumers and data providers. Dacoco developed a meta-universe “Alien Worlds” based on the World Asset eXchange (WAX) that runs on a Proof-of-Stake system, and it simulates the economic competition and cooperation between players, providing players with land ownership, tools, soldiers and weapons, as well as customizable exclusive game characters. It is a Multi-chain NFT DeFi metaverse game that currently supports Ethereum, WAX and BSC. In addition, Dacoco also has the “eosDAC” project, and advised the Preparatory Committee of the government of Liberland on considerations around the forming of structures on chain, both ventures are definitely worthy of attention.
Blockade Games is an independent studio focusing on the development of blockchain-based video games, led by Marguerite deCourcelle and artist AKA. Currently, the team is developing a cyberpunk RPG game “Neon District”, which integrates crypto assets and aims to transcend the boundaries of the traditional gaming experience. In addition, Blockade Games has released PlasmaBears, a game about collecting, building, and adventure (has been shut down to focus on the release of Neon District).
Virtually Human Studio
Virtually Human Studio’s flagship game “ZED RUN” is a horse racing game built on the blockchain that allows players to buy, breed, sell, race, and even build a star-studded racecourse. Each racehorse is unique, and their data (be it bloodline, genotype, gender, colour, number of offsprings, race statistics, etc.) are all stored on the Ethereum blockchain through the use of Smart Contracts. On top of that, Virtually Human Studio had launched another platform, ZEST, which was also the first gaming DApp on the NEAR mainnet back in 2020.
Bright Star is an international studio that is developing the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing) blockchain game “Ember Sword”, which boasts a player-driven dystopia, with a classless and fast-paced combat system. Players can interact with the world through both PvP and PvE experiences, as well as buy and sell equipment, and high-value skins in the game are marked as NFT collectibles, which players can obtain through game levels. Owning lands, while not core to the Ember Sword gameplay experience, allows for the world to be controlled by the community of players, accessible by all players. In addition, Ember Sword raised up to US$1.5 million in its first land sale on Polygon in May of this year, and received more than $203 million in pledges from gamers to purchase land.
Ubisoft, established in 1986, is an internationally renowned video game developer and publisher, with its headquarters based in Rennes, France. In 2008, it was rated as the third largest independent game developer in Europe and the fourth largest independent game developer in North America. It boasts the second largest in-house development staff, located in many different locations around the world.
During the firm’s Q2 earnings call of this year, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that in addition to investing in blockchain companies and adopting blockchain technology, Ubisoft will also be developing its own blockchain games. It is reported that in the recent round of financing by Animoca Brands that raised $65 million financing, Ubisoft had also participated in the investment.
Big Time Studios
Big Time Studios has assembled an all-star team of veterans in the gaming industry from companies such as Epic Games, Blizzard, EA, and Riot. Many of the individuals have contributed to some of the renowned titles such as Fortnite, God of War, Call of Duty, etc. and the team is committed to building a technology for game companies to adopt, and part of the strategy for them to get to market, was to develop their own game, Big Time, a multiplayer action-RPG where players can adventure across time and space to go into dungeons and kill monsters, allowing people with no experience in blockchain to start collecting NFTs with real-world value. They had
New game studio Core Loop was founded by mobile games veterans Vincenzo Alagna and Dan Chao, and completed a $12 million financing led by a16z on November 5th. The company’s vision is building the next generation of MMOs, and are developing their own sandbox MMO on the blockchain, which was what got them the investment from a16z.
Game developer and publishing studio Faraway was co-founded by Alex Paley and Dennis Zdonov. The team had years of development experience in mobile games before. Recently, Faraway announced the completion of a US$21 million Series A financing led by FTX and Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from a16z, Solana, Jump Capital, Sequoia Capital and Pantera Capital, in combination with the seed round, bringing the total funding to almost $30 million.
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