Twitch Co-Founder Builds Metaverse Games
VeradiVerdict - Issue #203
Metatheory is a web3 protocol working on building out metaverse games, interactive content, social experiences, and other community-driven adventures. Pantera is excited to have participated in Metatheory’s $24M Series A round as they continue to create immersive blockchain experiences and foster their strong metaverse community.
During the pandemic, consumer spending on video games and virtual experiences surged to over $60B. Now, more and more of those funds are shifting away from traditional video games and towards web3 entertainment experiences. These metaverse experiences are much broader than a video game: they can include complex in-game economies, NFT character collections, and play-to-earn elements. Metatheory is integrating all of these elements – and more – to build out a huge metaverse complete with many games, tokens, NFTs, and virtual worlds.
Metatheory’s thesis is in part driven by the sheer amount of capital in the gaming, collectibles, and metaverse markets. More than $170B was spent on the gaming industry in 2021 and that number is expected to grow to $200B+ in 2022. The collectibles market is twice that size, generating $400M in part driven by NFTs. Metatheory also plans to capitalize on the metaverse market, which is expected to reach $1.5T by 2030. In addition, the incredible popularization – particularly in emerging markets – of play-to-earn games that include NFTs is a strong market growth driver for the platform. NFTs have been particularly performant, with over $20B in total sales volume and 1.2M traders on OpenSea.
DuskBreakers, launched in December 2021, is Metatheory’s first metaverse and gaming experience, complete with a set of 10,000 DuskBreaker Genesis NFT characters.
Snapshots of the design of the DuskBreakers metaverse. Source: Metatheory
DuskBreakers launched its first Genesis NFT collection in December 2021 with a play-to-mint (P2M) game, an innovative technology where users played a mini-game to win an NFT mint. P2M, according to Metatheory, helps prevent botting and reduces gas fees via an allow-list mint approach. The Metatheory team wanted to show their community that they were builders and thus released a game prior to NFT minting, rare for projects at the time.
Central to DuskBreakers storyworld is a derelict, alien spaceship that has parked itself above Earth. Eventually, Earthlings discover that the ship is abundant in world-saving materials and create a company, DuskTech, to manage the mining of the ship. Breakers, humans anointed by DuskTech to risk their lives exploring and fending off enemies on the ship, travel to the Dusk every day via the Kinshasa Life (a space elevator) to bring valuable metals and novel technologies back to Earth. The Dusk also bestows on certain Breakers cybernetic upgrades, currently a mystery. Holding a Breaker NFT enables the owner to become a part of a community that will, according to Metatheory, directly influence the development of the Duskbreakers metaverse and upcoming Metatheory experiences.
Each DuskBreaker NFT has a distinct uniform, helmet, and set of accessories. Source: OpenSea
Metatheory is led by Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, who is very experienced in building digital experiences and creating communities around them. JT Gleason is Metatheory’s CTO and worked with Lin as a senior engineer at Twitch. David Barthwell, Metatheory’s CDO, is the founder of Verge Studios, a graphic and web design studio based out of Chicago. At Metatheory, Lin says, “we’ve built a team of industry vets who are focused on embracing blockchain across multiple media categories with a focus on elevating standards of consumer experience and shared ownership.” Metatheory’s team now consists of 46 individuals, including gaming engineers, an Emmy winner, experienced content creators, and metaverse creatives. The team is also advised by Dreamhaven game studio, created by the cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.
Though some NFT prices have dropped in the recent past, parts of the gaming ecosystem are now fairly reliant on NFTs – and increasingly continue to be – for attracting market share. NFTs, which represent ownership in the metaverse, are obviously integral to play-to-earn games and aren’t going anywhere.
Metatheory plans to release more games, NFTs, and interactive experiences as they build out their metaverse offerings. In particular, they plan to release a new collection with companion games in Q322, followed by a P2E competitive game in Q422. At the end of 2022, Metatheory will launch an esports program to support the P2E game. Beyond that, Metatheory will continue to build out a thriving metaverse experiences and new IPs, complete with stimulating games, NFT collections, and a vibrant community. Through these developments, they’ll become the one-stop gaming studio with a world of offerings.
- Paul Veradittakit
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Hi, I’m Paul Veradittakit, a Partner at Pantera Capital, one of the oldest and largest institutional investors focused on investing in blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies. I’ve been in the industry since 2014, and the firm invests in equity, early stage token projects, and liquid cryptocurrencies on exchanges. I focus on early-stage investments and share my thoughts on what’s going on in the industry in this weekly newsletter.