Monetization of the creator’s economy: Why we invested in
This week we announced our investment in Admix, a UK-based, in-game monetization platform and technology for content creators.
There are three big trends that have caught our attention over the past year — emergence of gaming as a mainstream entertainment, shift towards web 3.0 and the metaverse and the rise of content creators.
Below we briefly discuss each trend and explain the importance of Admix’s product.
Gaming as a mainstream entertainment
2020 was a milestone year for the gaming industry as it established itself as a mainstream source of entertainment. The average time spent in playing video games is about 8.45 hours weekly in 2021 (15% increase yoy). Most importantly, casual gamers account for majority of the gamers and the time spent playing and watching games.
Yet, the monetization of the gaming sector is at its infancy and lagging behind other entertainment industries such as traditional sports, media, film and music. As we wrote in our article a year ago, monetization is the next big pillar for the gaming space. It is one of the industries that has produced an enormous amount of content (esports tournaments, video streams, etc), which is fragmented and unmonetized. The key to unlocking the monetization of the sector is empowering content creators (game developers, streamers, tournaments organizers) with the right tools to monetize content.
From Web 1.0 to the Metaverse
The rise of the gaming industry coincided with and to an extent empowered a shift towards Web 3.0 and the metaverse.
Web 1.0 (1990–2005) was all about creating a decentralized, open-protocol which enables builders to create content. Web 2.0 (2005–2020) was all about enterprises creating centralized web content using the infrastructure and tools from Web 1.0 (html, Java, mySQL code). Web 3.0 (2021 — ? ) is characterized with users as the main content creators in a decentralized world. Gaming and Web 3.0 have a lot in common — just like anyone can become a game developer or streamer with the right infrastructure and tools, any web user can become a content creator with the right tools and platforms.
The metaverse is taking Web 3.0 one step further. There are a lot of definitions about the metaverse. We like to think of it as the intersection between virtual (VR, AR, XR) worlds, social trends and the Internet. It is essentially a virtual, shared space where users can communicate and create content in different shapes and forms.
The rise of the creators’ economy
So, what do gaming, Web 3.0 and the metaverse have in common? They all enable users to create new content in a decentralized way in different formats (2D, 3D, XR, etc) across different platforms (web, mobile, virtual worlds, etc). This is also referred to as the rise of the creator’s economy. Creators are already equipped with the right tools and infrastructure to create content (game engines such as Unity and Unreal). The next pillar for the creator’s
economy is empowering creators to monetize their content.
Solving the monetization problem of the creator’s economy
Admix is building a set of monetization tools to empower content creators both in the gaming space and in the decentralized, web 3.0 environment via embedded, in-play advertisements.
First product phase: Admix’s entry point to the market is in gaming, providing game developers with a simple plug-in SDK which is compatible with the two main game engines, Unity and Unreal. This enables game developers to drag and drop ad placements seamlessly into games, without any impact on the performance of the game. The product is compatible with 2D, 3D and XR designs, and plug-ins are available for all devices (PC, console, mobile). The inventory of ‘ad space’ is then sold via an ad exchange platform in a programmatic, automated way (machine learning optimization coming soon).
Next product phase: The evolution of the product is a simple SDK with a specific application in the gaming sector to a set of monetization tools for the new creator economy compatible with any virtual engine and infrastructure.
We are very excited about investing in Admix and support the company on its mission to monetize the gaming and creator’s economy. Here are a few reasons why we think Admix has the potential to become a market leader in in-play monetization:
- Product defensibility — The main defensibility of Admix’s product is two-sided network effects on its platform connecting advertisers and content creators. As more creators (supply side) integrate the solution to their apps, more advertisers (demand side) are attracted to the platform and the other way around. Likewise, as more creators manage to monetize their content, new creators are attracted to the platform. On the supply side, so far Admix has integrated with more than 300 apps across more than 100 game developers. On the demand side, new advertisers are joining every month and old ones are coming back for more campaigns. Most importantly, the product defensibility is growing stronger over time.
- Product scalability — We see wide applications for the product to scale both across platforms (from web to mobile to XR) and across industries (from gaming to e-commerce to metaverse). The initial application of the product (gaming apps) has expanded to include all content creators across all industries. Admix is one of the few infrastructure providers that can be adapted to different platforms, enabling web creators to move to mobile and XR content creation. Equipped with the right tools, content creators are the main driver behind Admix growth.
- Great team — We truly believe Admix has the right team to achieve its long-term vision. When we first met Sam and the team, we thought they have embarked on an already challenging mission to monetize the gaming sector. After their successful entry to that beachhead market, we are confident in their ability to achieve the even more challenging task to create a set of monetization tools for the creator economy.
The Series B funding round will enable Admix to expand to APAC, the fastest growing esports and gaming market. Asia accounts for more than 50% of global gaming audience, while monetization is at its infancy, which makes it an attractive region for advertisers and game developers with high demand for Admix’s product. The next phase of the product development into a set of monetization tools for the creator economy in the metaverse will also have a wide application in the Asian market, which is one of the early adopters of NFT and metaverse gaming.
Congrats again to the Admix team!