GameFi checkpoint: Square Enix pivots further into NFTs; Twitch co-founder raises $24m for crypto gaming firm
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Despite the recent crypto carnage and, let’s call it what it is, a bear market, crypto gaming keeps building, play-and-earning and pulling interest from big players, such as Square Enix.
The Japanese gaming giant, which owns the Final Fantasy series and sold the Tomb Raider franchise for US$300 million earlier this month, is delving deeper into NFTs and Web3.
According to its latest earnings report, Square Enix (SE) now has more than US$3 billion in assets under management and has recorded about 10% growth in net sales over the past year. And it now plans to push some of its considerable resources into the integration of NFTs within its ecosystem of games.
The firm already actually piloted NFTs in February – on its Shi-San-Sei Million Arthur game starting in February. Apparently that was a success, which has encouraged SE to further delve into NFT gaming and Web3 more broadly.
And to this end, SE has been working closely with crypto gaming/metaverse powerhouse and venture capital funder Animoca Brands, which owns one of the most successful metaverse projects to date, The Sandbox (SAND).
.@animocabrands & @TheSandboxGame are very honored to be highlighted as key investment areas for @SquareEnix I spent countless hours playing @FinalFantasy in the #80's which continues to be one of the most influential RPG games in gaming history #NFT https://t.co/KcgmhHv1CO pic.twitter.com/PnMWHs4iTj
— Yat Siu (@ysiu) May 16, 2022
The Sandbox has been identified as one of SE’s key investment areas, so we can probably expect to see an SE presence within that digital realm before too long as the firms develop their collaboration.
|Game||Active Users, past 7 days||Change|
|2. Alien Worlds||338k||+19%|
|3. Farmers World||169k||+4%|
|5. MOBOX: NFT Farmer||128k||-10%|
|6. Crazy Defense Heroes||116k||+340%|
|7. Galaxy Blocks||112k||+12%|
|8. Sunflower Land||85k||+78%|
|9. Jelly Squish||77k||+1%|
|10. Color Craze||64k||+0.25%|
Meanwhile, based on stats from crypto market tracker DappRadar, we’re still seeing reasonably similar levels of active users within the crypto gaming ecosystem compared with around this time last month. A slight downturn, sure, but nothing noticeably drastic.
That said, daily sales volume for NFT gaming items is actually another matter right now. It’s fluctuated super heavily all year, but January 1’s sales volume figure was a shade above US$70m, whereas May 16’s was just US$8.26m – about an 88% decline.
Kevin Lin, the co-founder of US-based video livestream service Twitch, is continuing to develop and grow his new blockchain gaming company, Metatheory. And he’s just raised a significant amount of backing for it – US$24 million.
Some of the usual suspect crypto-focused VCs led the funding round, including Andreessen Horowitz, Pantera Capital and FTX Ventures.
ICYMI: Today we're excited to announce a $24M Series A Round in Metatheory, our parent company. 🎉
— DuskBreakers (@DuskBreakers) May 16, 2022
According to the announcement, Metatheory, which launched in Q3 last year, is focused on building Web3 games and virtual worlds “imagined across innovative new story franchise IPs”.
“Building immersive digital experiences has always been a passion of mine, and after stepping away from Twitch to explore what’s next in the industry, I truly believe blockchain will open the door to even more possibilities and have a major impact in the gaming, storytelling and community building space,” said Lin.
Metatheory’s flagship title at this stage is called DuskBreakers – a sci-fi-inspired metaverse game that launched its early release stage late last year with a free-to-play, “play-to-mint” game that led to a sellout of its 10,000 genesis NFTs.
The game features art designed by Geersart, former Lead Illustrator at Twitch and the DuskBreakers team plans to release comics and animations to continue its storyline, with further NFTs and content to follow.
Attention, Breakers! ⚠️
We have been steadily building our ranks over the last few months, so DuskTech has implemented a new version of the DuskBreakers website to prepare us for the adventures ahead!🦾
— DuskBreakers (@DuskBreakers) May 13, 2022