Galaxy Interactive, Republic Crypto, and Alameda Research have founded an investment consortium called NG+.
Short for New Game+, the alliance will focus on investments in Web3 video games.
As the wider NFT market surged in 2021, so did interest in blockchain-powered games—with scads of them launched or announced over the past year. Now Galaxy Interactive, Republic Crypto, and Alameda Research have formed a co-investment alliance focused on the Web3 gaming space.
NG+, which is short for New Game+, is an investment consortium that will see the three notable crypto firms co-invest to cultivate the next generation of tokenized video games.
New Game+ is a common video game term that refers to an enhanced version of a campaign that unlocks once the standard version is completed.
Galaxy Interactive General Partner Richard Kim told Decrypt that the idea with NG+ is to create a Y Combinator-like program to funnel Web3 gaming startups through. He described it as a curation initiative that will put a “stamp of approval” on games, much like being featured by Apple on the iOS App Store.
All three firms will invest in each game project in exchange for a 10% combined share of its crypto gaming token. Each partner of the co-alliance will also have a unique role.
Galaxy will focus on sourcing game studios to bring into the program, Republic will advise on token design and tokenomics for games, and Alameda will provide liquidity for tokens.
“We thought that was a really powerful combination of abilities ex-ante to help established game developers find their way into crypto,” said Kim. “That’s why we pulled this [consortium] together.”
Kim explained that NG+ isn’t a formal joint venture, nor does it have a fixed commitment around dollar size. But between the three partners, they aim to tap into their relationships to onboard and support game developers via standardized deal terms and pre-agreed support obligations.
The consortium revealed its first three gaming investments alongside the initial announcement.
Delysium is an open-world battle royale-style game that developer RCT calls the “first playable AAA MMO Web3 game. “It announced a $4 million private token sale earlier this week, with all three NG+ members co-leading the round.
RCT’s Mirror World is another game that NG+ has invested in, and it’s an online metaverse world designed for cross-platform social gaming experiences.
Lastly, GreenPark Sports’ GreenPark is a sports and esports metaverse game that counts partners such as the NBA, LaLiga, Major League Soccer (MLS), and the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS).
Outside of this new collaboration, Galaxy Interactive, a division of Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, has been investing in Web3 games and online worlds since 2018 and now has $650 million worth of assets under management across investments in more than 100 total firms.
“We’re entirely focused on the idea of investing largely in virtual worlds and the content, markets, tech, and social layers that power our thesis,” Kim explained, “that our digital identities have become just as real and important as our physical ones.”
NG+ launches at a time when there’s a seemingly constant stream of new crypto game projects being announced. However, there’s also a lot of backlash to NFTs and tokenized economies from traditional video game players and even many developers. Kim suggested that there’s work to be done in how people discuss the use of blockchain in gaming.
“What I see is a lot of false dichotomies in the space,” he said. “You have the crypto people being like, ‘Crypto gaming, it’s gonna consume everything. Players never got value for their time.’ They talk in big, grand terms about things like true ownership.”
“And then you have the gaming people who are like, ‘NFTs are a scam. This is like microtransactions squared,'” Kim continued. “The reality is somewhere in between, right?”
Kim doesn’t believe that every video game needs a crypto or NFT hook, nor does he want to convince every game developer to embrace blockchain and tokens. He said that he would only invest in creators who are “very thoughtful about how to design an open virtual economy” and are willing to “lean into that paradigm in new and novel ways.”
Bullish on Web3 games
NFTs have a perception issue amongst many gamers, as do the token-infused play-to-earn models of games like the Ethereum-based Axie Infinity. Some crypto game makers have even started using the term “play-and-earn” to describe their games instead, but Kim thinks that’s actually a “step in the wrong direction.”
He considers Axie and such games to be work rather than play and believes game makers should be honest about what their tokenized play models represent.
His preferred term and model is “pay-to-win, to win,” which represents the view that gaming tokens need sizable in-game utility and benefit so that there’s a reason for other players to buy the rewards being dumped onto the market.
“For any token economy, the question I ask myself is: Why would someone buy the token?” Kim said. “And if you can’t find a reason for people to buy the token, then you’re not going to have a sustainable economy.”
That’s the dilemma currently facing Axie Infinity, which racked up billions of dollars worth of NFT sales volume last year but has seen rapidly diminishing trading over the previous few months.
In an effort to revitalize token prices and NFT trading, the developers have slashed reward token issuance and will add more in-game token utility in the future. Decrypt asked Kim if he’s worried that Axie’s recent decline could scare off potential developers from entering the crypto gaming space.
The innovators in crypto gaming are going to be those who view trustlessness, composability and creativity as the physics of a user-driven simulation. The closer to the game of life, the better the chance of it working. If it does, the singularity will be a black hole. (fin)
“No, because the ones who even paid attention to Axie never took it seriously,” he replied. “I think it’s more a warning sign to investors who are being very naive about how they ultimately realize value on their tokens and do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt the balance of the game economy itself.”
That’s a premise that Galaxy Interactive and its NG+ partners aim to explore further with their joint investments ahead. Kim added that while some of his comments on the current state of the crypto gaming space may come off as critical, he’s nonetheless optimistic about its potential.
“I think this space is going to be moved forward by people who take a sober view of the long-term opportunities out here. I think you hear a lot of caution in my voice, but I’m also super bullish on this space,” he said. “It’s a fantastic primitive—it’s just that the devil’s in the details.”
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