Hong Kong-based game software and venture capital company Animoca Brands has announced a partnership with venture capital and accelerator firm Brinc to launch the Guild Accelerator Program.
The accelerator programme, which is focused on promoting the growth of play-to-earn (P2E) guild ecosystems, will offer a total of up to $30m (~£22m) in investment capital over two years; $500,000 (~£370,000) of which will be funded per accepted guild.
Animoca Brands has invested in a great number of blockchain projects as well as a few esports organisations — namely Veloce Esports, the operator of Filipino organisation Team Pacquiao and Lando Norris-backed Quadrant, and Talon Esports. The latter announced a partnership with esports NFT and metaverse platform Yesports earlier this month.
The P2E gaming model has risen with the tide of popularity that blockchain technology has experienced recently. Players are rewarded in-game with cryptocurrencies or NFTs which can be traded and sold as a form of income.
Guilds in the P2E blockchain gaming model are organised groups of players that control and distribute resources such as NFTs and tokens to members who might otherwise not be able to afford them. ‘Scholarships’ are often utilised to enable players to better acquire resources in games; such recipients are referred to as ‘scholars’.
According to the release, the Guild Accelerator Program will prioritise admission to guilds with a commitment to sustainability — an important topic for the gaming audience, especially when it comes to blockchain technology. Aspects of sustainability listed include: projects that support and give back to player/scholar communities, emphasise use of energy-efficient blockchain protocols and guilds with lower overall physical footprints.
Animoca Brands Co-founder & Executive Chairman, Yat Siu, commented on the partnership: “As the world enters a new era of work and play, the play-to-earn guilds space has enormous potential for growth. The management of digital assets in games and in the open metaverse represents a significant source of income for hundreds of millions of people.
“The future of work in the metaverse is being written today, and we are proud to foster the guilds that are driving the evolution of these new opportunities.”
Atop of funding, the incubation programme promises to offer various forms of assistance for guilds, such as: performance and growth support, management and operational system advice, expansion of user base and assets, fundraising beyond the startup phase, as well as mentorship.
Members of prominent P2E guilds, Avocado Guild, Yield Guild Games (YGG), and Ancient8 — all of whom Animoca Brands is an investor in —were listed as mentors.
“Web3-enabled guilds provide an onramp for the future of earning in a way that Web2 and traditional industries never could,” said Manav Gupta, Founder & CEO of Brinc. ”The technologies, principles and business models developed in gaming that have enabled true digital asset ownership and utilisation (with aligned stakeholders) can be leveraged across all future areas of jobs and work.
Where esports and crypto/NFT/metaverse partnerships have become a dime-a-dozen, P2E games’ integration into the esports ecosystem has been off to a quieter start.
YGG invested in blockchain esports org BAYZ in December, the first blockchain gaming focused esports organisation operating primarily in Latin America. Guilds in non-blockchain gaming titles have also attracted esports attention. Team Liquid acquired Limit Guild in January and formed a new arm in Liquid MMO.
Esports Insider says: While it may not seem obvious, blockchain gaming and Web3 companies have been courting esports companies behind-the-scenes. The evolution of fan tokens, to NFTS, to big money crypto platform partnerships, logically leads to blockchain gaming. The next phase of esports organisations may very well incorporate blockchain gaming operability and guild structures as revenue sources where the current esports model is desperately lacking. It remains to be seen how P2E might pan out into the esports ecosystem, but we might just see the next great esports start-up come out of this incubation programme, given Animoca Brands’ influence and investment across crypto and gaming.