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GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 52

Highlights

Griffin Gaming Partners, Forte, and Solana Ventures will invest $150M in blockchain games (link)
Forte is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • The Companies will invest in Web3 game makers who are creating decentralized games on the Solana blockchain
  • Solana Ventures is the strategic investment arm of Solana Labs, the creator of the Solana blockchain ecosystem that is popular with games
  • Griffin has invested over $400M into gaming and Web3 gaming-related companies over the past two years, including its lead investment in Forte
  • Forte provides infrastructure and regulatory compliance for game companies that want to move into blockchain games

Eight different Mobile games topped $1B in spending this year, according to Sensor Tower (link)

  • Sensor Tower reported eight different Mobile games generated $1B in consumer spending during 2021, compared to five titles in 2020, and three titles each in 2019 and 2018
  • The titles to surpass $1B in spending were: PUBG Mobile (Tencent), Honor of Kings (Tencent), Genshin Impact (MiHoYo), Roblox (Roblox), Coin Master (Moon Active), Pokémon GO (Niantic), Candy Crush Saga (King), and Garena Free Fire (Garena)
  • Sensor Tower also forecasted that consumer spending for Mobile titles in 2021 will be nearly $90B globally, representing a growth of 13% YoY

NFT games generated $2.3B in Q3, according to Blockchain Game Alliance (link)

  • This equates to roughly 22% of all NFT trading volume industry-wide in the quarter as blockchain games have gained momentum
  • The number of wallets relating to gaming activity increased by 2,453%, from 29,563 during the first week of 2021 to 754,000 in Q3 2021
  • Sky Mavis’ Axie Infinity reached a record-high $2.5B in gaming NFT trading volume in September and surpassed sales records of NBA Top Shot and CryptoPunk
  • According to the Blockchain Game Alliance survey, 86% of respondents believe at least some of the traditional gaming industry will leverage blockchain within two years, with 52% saying regulatory uncertainty is their biggest concern and the industry’s most significant challenge

M&A and Capital Raises

Embracer Group announced an agreement to acquire French board game publisher Asmodee for €2.75B (link)

  • Asmodee is a French-based leading international publisher and distributor for board games, trading cards, and digital board games with over 39M games sold annually in more than 50 countries
  • Through 22 fully owned studios and 300+ IPs, Asmodee has a portfolio of 970+ games, including titles such as Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Dixit, Splendor, 7 Wonders, Just One, and Exploding Kittens
  • According to the Company, the acquisition will create Europe’s largest gaming group and establishes a leading position in board games, a category that is highly complementary to PC, Console, VR, and Mobile games and with an appealing long term organic growth outlook

Metaverse company InfiniteWorld to go public in $700M SPAC merger with Aries I Acquisition Corp (link)

  • InfiniteWorld helps brands create and monetize digital assets and NFTs, and engage with consumers and fans
  • InfiniteWorld is valued at 7.8x EV / 2023E Revenue, with $71M in estimated total revenues for 2023
  • The transaction will provide up to $171M in funds, including the cash held by both companies and InfiniteWorld-owned cryptocurrencies valued at $93M
  • InfiniteWorld stockholders will own approximately 75% of the combined company, and up to a maximum of 81% if certain share price milestones are achieved
  • The Company expects the deal to accelerate its platform development and expand its brand partnerships

Medal.tv raises $60M as creators clip 2M game moments a day (link)

  • Medal.tv is an app that allows gamers to socialize by sharing video game clips of their gameplay while talking to each other in real-time, creating a community platform for gamers to share their best moments
  • Medal.tv recently closed a $45M round led by Omers Ventures, which came after a previously unannounced $15M round from Makers Fund, Horizon Ventures, Dune Ventures, and others, bringing total funding raised to date to $70M

Tencent buys Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock for undisclosed consideration (link)

  • Turtle Rock, developer of Back 4 Blood, Evolve, and Left 4 Dead, was acquired alongside its parent company Slamfire Inc.
  • Turtle Rock released Back 4 Blood on PC and Consoles in October along with Xbox Game Pass, in partnership with Warner Bros, a co-operative first-person shooter and horror game
  • Turtle Rock is known for developing creative co-operative online games, with Left 4 Dead being the most popular title launched to date

Nike acquires next-gen collectibles company RTFKT (link)

  • RTFKT is a pioneering and innovative brand that redefines the boundaries of physical and digital value to serve its broader community of creators
  • The Company leverages the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences
  • This marks Nike’s first big move into the digital goods space, helping to accelerate Nike’s digital transformation
  • RTFKT previously raised $9.4M in May 2021 at a pre-money valuation of $25M, led by Andreessen Horowitz with additional participation from C Ventures, Mantis VC, and Shrug Capital, according to Pitchbook

Edge Gaming raises $10M (link)

  • Edge Gaming is a social platform revolving around what it calls “Playables”, custom minigames based on real gameplay shared by users, that everyone can then play from their platform
  • Playables allows game developers to focus on perfecting the graphics and physics of their game while players themselves will be empowered to determine how the games are played and interacted with on their own terms
  • Playtika led the funding round, with additional participation from existing investors Stardom Ventures and AnD Ventures

Jadu raises $7M to make hoverboards for the metaverse (link)

  • Jadu is the maker behind the popular hoverboard and jetpack NFT collections that will have use in the metaverse, while also working on an augmented reality world that it calls the Mirrorverse
  • Jadu’s Hoverboards made $4.4M in primary sales last Sunday, and have been trading fervently in the secondary market helping to form a $20M market cap
  • The company’s collection includes rare NFTs created with Lewis Hamilton, Snoop Dog, Grimes, and can also be used to fly 3D avatar NFTs in AR and multiple metaverse spaces
  • The Mirrorverse is a world-scale AR game where players can find game items in the real world akin to Pokémon GO, however, these game assets will be tradable, interoperable NFT like jetpacks and hoverboards
  • General Catalyst led the round, with additional participation from Metapurse

Rumble Kong League raises $4.5M in funding (link)

  • Rumble Kong League is Rumble League Studios’ first Web3 sports title, a play-to-earn 3v3 basketball game
  • The game allows players to compete in leagues and tournaments, as well as purchase branded fashion, wearables, banners, and stadiums
  • Rumble league has built the game with NFTs in mind, Rumble Kongs, which will be a set of 10,000 NFTs, that can be used as playable avatars in-game and provide gameplay benefits to players
  • The round was led by JDS Crypto, with additional participation from CAA Sports, Framework Ventures, Animoca Brands, SkyVision Capital, Ideo CoLab, and Victory Creative Group, among others

Moonray PBC raises $3.5M for marketplace for NFT game items (link)

  • Moonray is a metaverse RPG game built on Bitcoin via Stacks, which brings smart contracts to Bitcoin and makes it possible to build applications that benefit from the security of the Bitcoin network
  • The Company will use the proceeds to fund research and development for building an NFT marketplace to allow players to buy, sell, and trade unique in-game collectibles, weapons, and skins
  • Moonray aims to create an economy where players can have a real financial stake in the digital items they own and players will be able to purchase digital items using Bitcoin and eventually credit cards
  • Animoca Brands led the round, with additional participation from GBV Capital, Metavest Capital, LD Capital, and Lucid Blue Ventures

Incredible Dream raises $2M for fantasy tabletop game series (link)
Incredible Dream is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • The Los Angeles-based studio is developing Kinfire Chronicles, along with making its original fantasy world, characters, games, and transmedia experience for people who want to meet in person
  • Incredible Dream is working to capitalize on the growth of the $12B tabletop industry, along with bringing players back to human connection and playful immersion in the real world
  • The Company wants to create those moments where people want to take a break from their digital lives and want to spend that time together, in contrast to the internet and metaverse where one of the largest issues seen to date is the idea of loneliness
  • The round was led by General Catalyst

CyBall raises $1.8M for NFT-based soccer game (link)

  • CyBall has raised $1.8M to build a soccer-themed, NFT-based game with a player rewards model, where players can collect, trade, mentor, and ultimately battle with CyBlocs, fantasy characters represented as collectible and tradeable NFTs
  • The Company will use the proceeds to scale the team to accelerate the expansion of CyBall and further build out the scholarship system, CyLoans
  • The round was led by Bitkraft Ventures, with additional participation from Animoca Brands, Ascensive Assets, Merit Circle, Yield Guild Games, GuildFi, Raydium, Coin98, SkyVision Capital, among others

Other

Tommy Hilfiger partners with Roblox creators on virtual collection (link)

  • The partnership is with eight user-generated content designers from the Roblox community to create a collection of 30 fashion pieces that players can use to dress their avatars
  • The Tommy x Roblox Creators collection is available through the online platform’s global marketplace, items ranging from Tommy Jeans backpack, bucket hat, and head bow, as well as a headset and 20 2D skins by two designers

Forever 21 lets players customize virtual fashion stores in Roblox (link)

  • Virtual Brand Group, a metaverse creation company that accelerates global brands into the metaverse, and fashion brand Forever 21 (owned by Authentic Brands Group) announced an exclusive partnership to build a fashion retail experience on Roblox
  • This Forever 21 Shop City experience is designed to allow Roblox users, fashion influencers, and creative world builders to own and manage their personal store
  • Players will be able to buy and sell Forever 21 merchandise, including accessories and clothing, hire non-player characters (NPCs) as employees, and express themselves by customizing every aspect of their own store as they try to become the top shop in the experience

Turnt Gaming announces partnerships to build NFT fighting game sim (link)

  • Turnt Gaming announced partnerships with Polygon Studios and Esports Technologies to develop Taunt Battleworld, an upcoming fighting game simulator built around NFT combatants
  • Taunt Battleworld works on the principle of “engage-to-earn”, where players can play to earn their unique NFT fighter in skill-based contests, having the ability for fighters to be owned by the actual players, and grow their fighters over time
  • The game will be built on Polygon’s blockchain solution and Esports Technologies’ predictive gaming platform

Twitch co-founder Justin Kan is back with NFT gaming marketplace Fractal (link)

  • This new startup, Fractal, will create a marketplace for gaming NFTs
  • Kan has said the company has partnerships with gaming studios that will be dropping new NFTs on the platform in the coming weeks
  • Players will be able to buy gaming NFTs directly from Fractal gaming partners as well as discover, buy, and sell gaming NFTs from other players

Supercell to open new North American studio as it expands beyond Mobile (link)

  • The goal of this new studio is to assemble and enable the best talent in North America to create what’s next across any platform, not just Mobile
  • Supercell is a Finnish mobile game developer, with popular titles including Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars

Streamer and content creator Dr Disrespect launches ‘AAA game studio’ Midnight Society (link)

  • Dr Disrespect has teamed up with former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling and Halo 5 multiplayer designer Quinn Delhoyo
  • The studio is aimed at creating a community-focused online PVP multiplayer title
  • Midnight Society will lean heavily on early access, with a particular emphasis on high-profile influencers, in order to achieve its goal to include communities and influencers early in the development process

Ubisoft announces remake of the beloved franchise Splinter Cell (link)

  • With its first release 19 years ago and the franchise’s last installment coming eight years ago, Splinter Cell was a popular title in the industry, an action-adventure game focused on stealth
  • The game is still in its early development stage, but the Company plans to tap the developer’s very own Snowdrop engine, the same tech behind both the upcoming Ubisoft Star Wars game as well as the long-awaited Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Google Play Games app coming to Windows in 2022 (link)

  • The Company shared a teaser video during the Game Awards last week, which promises users will be able to play Mobile titles on Windows devices at some point in 2022
  • The app has been built internally at Google, rather than through a partnership with Microsoft, and will support Windows 10 and up, instead of relying on the recently released Windows 11
  • Currently, it is unclear how Google will emulate Android games on Windows, but the Company has confirmed titles will run locally instead of using cloud streaming

Trading Comparables

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