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GGP Gaming Weekly – March 15

Highlights

NFT game sales hit $5.2B in 2021, according to Nonfungible.com (link)

  • NFT sales for all markets hit $17.6B in 2021, up 200x from $82M in 2022
  • Collectibles were the largest category with $8.5B in sales, followed by Games with $5.2B, NFT Art with $2.8B, Metaverse with $514M, and Utilities with $531M in sales
  • Over $5.4B of total profit was generated when buying or reselling NFTs, with 473 wallets each generating over $1M in profits during 2021
  • Blockchain game companies raised more than $3.3B in 2021

February 2022 Video Game sales stats with $4.4B in monthly consumer spending, according to NDP (link)

  • Consumer spending across video games hardware, content, and accessories was $4.4B, a decrease of 6% YoY compared to $4.7B from February 2021 
  • The top five games for the month in terms of dollar sales were Elden Ring, Horizon II: Forbidden West, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Dying Light 2: Stay Human, and Total War: Warhammer III

Aleo teams up with Forte to bring zero-knowledge proofs to blockchain games (link)
Forte is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • San Francisco-based Aleo was founded in 2019 and recently raised $200M to build a platform for private blockchain-based applications with support from investors Kora Management and SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2
  • Forte will use Aleo’s scalable architecture to unlock new depths of gameplay and build more inclusive and immersive gaming ecosystems, in hopes of fueling low-energy transactions in blockchain games
  • Forte is already using Aleo’s technology to mint, transfer, and trade NFTs for in-game items within several in-game economies to serve an existing, real-world use case

M&A and Capital Raises

Embracer Group completes $3B acquisition of Asmodee (link)

  • The transaction was announced in December of 2021 and all conditions to close have been fulfilled, including regulatory approvals such as merger control clearance
  • Embracer has acquired approximately 96 percent of Asmodee’s shares from PAI and other minority shareholders who have sold the majority of their shares for cash

Niantic acquires 8th Wall (link)

  • Founded in 2019, 8th Wall is an augmented reality development platform for creators across PC, Mobile, and AR / VR devices
  • 8th Wall will remain as a separate entity and will join Niantic’s AR engineer organization
  • The acquisition will further expand Niantic’s Lightship developer kit offerings

Video game streaming platform Loco raises $42M in series A funding round (link

  • Loco is an India-based streaming platform for video games, with previous backing from Krafton 
  • The company will use the proceeds to invest in the development of the Indian gaming ecosystem and cement its position in the streaming space
  • The funding round was led by Hashed, with additional participation from Krafton, Makers Fund, Catamaran Ventures, and Korea Investment Partners

Bored Ape Yacht Club creator buys CryptoPunks and Meebits (link)

  • Yuga Labs, the creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club, announced that it had acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs 
  • The Company plans to grant intellectual property and commercialization rights to CryptoPunks and Meebits owners, allowing them to create works and products based off their NFTs the same way that Bored Ape owners have
  • Yuga Labs is also acquiring more than 400 CryptoPunks and 1,700 Meebits from Larva Labs as part of the deal

Scopely invests $20M in casual game maker Burlingame Studios (link
Scopely is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • Burlingame Studios is a new game studio started by veterans of casual games, and will focus on developing casual mobile titles
  • The Company will work with Scopely as a direct partner, taking advantage of its large number of game studios along with its Playgami tech platform for crafting and optimizing mobile games 
  • The Company currently has 20-30 people on the team, with its main office in Burlingame, California and some employees located in Guatemala and Argentina 

Lightforge Games raises $15M in Series A funding round (link)

  • Founded in 2020 by former Blizzard Entertainment and Epic Games developers, Lightforge is building a game “that looks to push the boundaries of the stories and worlds players can create together”, CEO Matt Schembari says 
  • The Company stated that the investment will go towards the development of an unannounced RPG title, which will be developed using Epic’s Unreal Engine 5
  • The funding round was led by Bitkraft Ventures, with additional participation from Galaxy Interactive, NetEase, and Dune Ventures

Playwind Games raises $4M (link

  • Founded in 2020, Playwind is a UK mobile gaming company
  • The Company stated that the funding is intended to support Playwind Games’ growth and expand its staff as the studio develops a number of social-first games for the casual mobile market
  • The funding round was led by Free Fire developer Garena

Postcard Game Studio secures $3.5M seed investment from Smilegate (link

  • California-based Postcard Game Studio was founded in January by CEO and game director Ray Almaden, who has created various titles for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft 
  • The development studio is currently creating an unannounced open world first-person shooter RPG title
  • The funding was provided by Smilegate, the South Korean publisher behind Lost Ark

Other

Sony blocks PlayStation sales in Russia (link)

  • Sony announced it is suspending all sales in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine
  • “Sony joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine. We have suspended all software and hardware shipments, the launch of Gran Turismo 7, and operations of the PlayStation store in Russia”, the company said in a statement
  • Sony joins Take-Two, Ubisoft, Bungie, and Nintendo in the growing list of game developers who have halted sales in Russia this past week

50% of mobile gamers prefer free ad-based games, according to Tapjoy (link)

  • Mobile ad and monetization firm Tapjoy says gamers prefer free ad-based games over pay-to-play titles and in-app purchases
  • In 2017, just 21% of mobile gamers said they favored ad-supported games, compared to 50% of today’s mobile gamers 
  • The Company surveyed more than 9,000 mobile gamers, and found that mobile gamers play 10 or more hours a week on average
  • Nearly half (49%) of all respondents say they play mobile games multiple times a day, with Parents (58%), Gen X (54%), and women (52%) being most likely to play at this frequency
  • 60% of all responses discover new games via mobile game ads

Ikumi Nakamura launches new game studio Unseen (link)

  • Former Ghostwire: Tokyo creative director Ikumi Nakamura announced the opening of her game studio, Unseen
  • The Tokyo studio will serve as a hub for a diverse intersection of ideas, with creation of original IP

Activision is bringing Call of Duty: Warzone to mobile (link)

  • Activision is bringing its hit battle royale shooter Call of Duty: Warzone to mobile
  • According to the announcement, mobile Warzone will be a “large-scale, battle royale experience” that’s built “natively for mobile with cutting-edge technology designed to entertain gamers around the world for many years to come”
  • The Company has posted numerous job opportunities to join the development team of this title, and looks to be creating the game internally 

PlayStation announces Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (link) 

  • PlayStation announced the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise with a new video game, Shredder’s Revenge
  • The game will also be accompanied by a collection of Turtles games for classic platforms like arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Sega Genesis, and the Nintendo Gameboy 

Unity partners with Insomniac Events on immersive concerts (link)

  • Unity has partnered with live music company Insomniac Events to create interactive and immersive online concerts in the metaverse
  • Under the partnership, Unity’s team is helping Insomniac Events create a persistent world, a metaverse experience for its fans where users can gather and engage virtually for live music performances regardless of location
  • Insomniac puts on more than 10,000 events a year in which 7M people attend

Scuti partners with Atom Universe to take brands into the metaverse (link)

  • Scuti, which operates a rewards-based gamers’ marketplace as well as its first network game, has partnered with Atom Universe to provide a “metaverse as a service” to all brands
  • The partnership brings together Scuti’s store with Atom Universe’s metaverse technologies, which enables brands to create online presences in the virtual world
  • Using the Unreal game engine, Atom Universe now offers brands this new turnkey service, providing brands with their own dedicated, white labeled metaverse, combined with Scuti driving gCommerce and loyalty programs through its rewards marketplace

Studio 369 nets $15M in private token and NFT sale for MetalCore (link)

  • MetalCore Foundation completed a $15M private token and NFT sale for MetalCore, a mechanized combat game
  • The title is a massive multiplayer online combat game taking place in a future with mech robots, which is being developed by Studio 369 with a focus on triple-A quality
  • MetalCore has in-game assets which will be player-owned NFTs including vehicles, pilots, land and more, and also will feature in-game tokens which can be used for a variety of purposes within the game

Tether Games’ skill-based titles hit $250M in lifetime revenue (link)

  • Tether Games has announced that Tether’s 27 mobile games have generated $250M in lifetime revenue and hit 30M downloads
  • Founded in 2016, Tim and Alethia O’Neil started creating titles that are about casual competition between players with accessible games
  • Five of the top ten games on Skillz were created by Tether Games, which include hit titles such as Solitaire Cube, 21 Blitz, and Cube Cube

EA soft launches Apex Legends Mobile in 10 countries (link)

  • Apex Legends Mobile is now available for players to test in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Colombia
  • This limited regional launch will help the development teams at Respawn and Lightspeed & Quantum Studios test the matchmaking and progression systems, backend infrastructure, and in-game commerce, as well as the regional live operations capabilities
  • Respawn will provide updates in the coming weeks and months for players outside the 10 limited regional launch countries as development continues

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