Mobile games developer Legendary Play has secured $4m (~£3.06m) in seed funding.
The round was co-led by BITKRAFT Ventures and Modern Times Group (MTG), with 1Up Ventures and Level Up also taking part in the funding.
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According to the release, the funding will be used to develop new mobile titles designed for an esports audience.
Roman Frank, CEO of Legendary Play, spoke on the announcement in a release: “By 2026, there will be 970 million esports fans worldwide, and 70 percent of those fans play mobile games. We are creating mobile titles that provide a way for engaged fans to live their passion in a more casual setting.
“While we have started with manager games, our long-term vision is to roll out a diverse portfolio of esport-themed games including casual games, role-playing games and story adventure games.”
Legendary Play, formerly known as META Games, launched its first game — RIVALS Esports Manager — in 2020. The mobile title sees players coach and manage a MOBA esports team whilst competing against other users.
As part of the developer’s commitment to providing fans with an esports experience, the company has also partnered with ESL Gaming to ‘enable players to rise through the ranks in virtual versions of ESL’s events’. According to the release, Legendary Play also collaborates with esports teams, athletes, casters and influencers to provide a ‘recognisable, immersive and authentic experience’ for users.
Jens Hilgers, BITKRAFT Ventures Founding General Partner, commented: “By developing mobile games that address the entire audience of esports fans worldwide, Legendary Play is tapping into a passionate yet underserved market.
“The team has laid a strong foundation with the success of RIVALS and I’m excited to see them bring their additional games in the pipeline to life as they continue to cater to the needs of esports fans.”
BITKRAFT Ventures recently secured a $2.5m (~£1.9m) investment from India-based gaming and sports media company Nazara, with an aim to help BITKRAFT expand its presence in India.
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Arnd Benninghoff, MTG’s EVP of Esports and Games, added: “MTG is excited to support Legendary Play on their continued growth journey. Their strategy and founding team are well aligned with our highly selective and targeted investment strategy and we’re proud to be the co-leaders of this investment round.
“Legendary Play is targeting a well defined and passionate slice of the gaming community and we look forward to following their progress closely going forward.”
Esports Insider says: In the current oversaturated video game landscape, there are not many titles with gameplay simulating the professional esports experience. Following Legendary Play’s first title RIVALS, BITCRAFT Ventures and MTG seem to have recognised the potential of such a genre and decided to fill the market gap by investing in the company. It will be interesting to see what titles will emerge as a result of the investment and if the genre continues to gain popularity among esports audiences.