With the rise in popularity of NFTs, veteran video game developers are flocking into the blockchain space. Today, another game studio got added to the list. Block Tackle just announced raising $5 million in seed funding to create games that leverage blockchain technology and allow players to own in-game assets (NFTs). The startup will be working on SkateX, a Solana-based skateboarding game, with experienced developers.
The $5 million seed funding round was led by Play Ventures, an early-stage gaming venture firm, and Cadenza Ventures. The funding round saw investments from notable investors, including Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, Coinbase Ventures, Solana Ventures, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.
Block Tackle is a new San Francisco-based Web3 gaming studio co-founded by Rob Oshima and Ben Topkins. Also, the co-founders previously worked together at mobile gaming firm, Kabam and have helped create well-known games like “Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth,” “Avatar: Pandora Rising,” and “Marvel Strike Force.” In addition, Block Tackle’s 13-person team also includes veterans from Apple, Lucasfilm, Supercell, Electronic Arts, and Roblox.
While working on free-to-play games like Kingdoms of Camelot, the co-founders noticed how players spent countless hours and money on games for years, but they own none of the in-game assets. If players wanted to move to a new game, they would need to start back from zero. However, with NFT games, players can sell their NFT assets and potentially use them in other games and metaverse worlds.
In an interview with Decrypt, Topkins said, “When we saw that there was potential for players to participate, both in shaping communities but also in the value that they create through play, we just saw that there was a huge opportunity there. We wanted to be early there, and be some of the first game makers making great games using blockchain tech.”
Block Tackle’s first release will be SkateX, an NFT-based skateboarding game built on the Solana blockchain. Players can own one-of-a-kind NFT skateboards that they can buy, sell and collect. In addition, players can also make money from reselling their skateboards, which might increase value depending on demand and level.
After dropping a 3D-animated skateboard NFT collection, the SkateX game is set to debut in April 2022. According to Topkins, “Players can have a seat at the table and own an NFT that gets them participating in community conversations as we build the game,” he added, “and then they get to skate on the board and complete tricks, quests, and challenges, and level it up.”
Lately, money has been pouring into the NFT and metaverse space. Last November, metaverse giant The Sandbox closed a $93 million Series B funding round. In the same timeframe, KuCoin’s investment and research arm, KuCoin Labs, launched a $100 million fund to invest in metaverse projects. Similarly, Block Tackle aims to piggyback on this growing market while developing new generation games. The team is already brainstorming ideas for other crypto gaming projects beyond SkateX. We might expect the startup to create other games in the not-too-distant future.