A group of veteran video game developers from Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Sony have raised $13 million in funding to work on a platform that they hope would take use of the so-called “metaverse.”
According to Decrypt, Bitkraft Ventures led the funding round for Web3 game developer Avalon Corp., which raised the sum.
According to the publication, participants in the round included Coinbase Ventures, Delphi Digital, Hashed and Mechanism Capital, among others. The round received money from angel investors including former Microsoft executive Charlie Songhurst and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, to name a few.
The Unreal Engine 5-based Avalon, which will have certain MMO and metaverse components, is the studio’s debut title.
However, because the term has been appropriated and misapplied, Avalon Corp CEO Sean Pinnock and chief product officer Jeffrey Butler told Decrypt in an interview that they don’t regard Avalon as a metaverse per se.
Butler remarked of the term “metaverse” that “everyone’s kind of leaping onto this word and just pounding the poor word to death,” adding that every significant brand—from fast food to fashion—has declared they are creating their own metaverse.
Pinnock said, “At Avalon we are creating an interoperable universe for creators to build the content of their dreams. And [in] our vision of something like a—not metaverse—we imagine that to build such a thing is incredibly challenging and in fact impossible for a single company to do it. We’d like to empower gamers, creators, anyone to build worlds. And then those worlds over time interconnected could become something like an Oasis from Ready Player One.”
Avalon’s COO was formerly the head of business development at Bandai Namco’s North American division, which owns the intellectual property rights to well-known Japanese properties like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece, according to Pinnock, who also stated that once developed, Avalon could host major brands looking to stake their claim in its universe with their own intellectual property and unique experiences.
Pinnock voiced a strong preference for Ethereum Layer 2 protocols, even if Avalon hasn’t yet chosen a single blockchain to support and enable its interoperable economy (i.e. Polygon, ImmutableX).
Pinnock said, “I personally am a big fan of Layer two Ethereum protocols. What’s great about that technology is the gas price for transactions is significantly less than the cost of a credit card swipe, which has great low environmental impact. We’re also able to get the scalability we need for transactions. In terms of how blockchain will be used in Avalon, digital ownership is going to be key here. So all of our assets inside of Avalon will be certified through the blockchain.”
More than merely a virtual environment to explore, Avalon will also be gamified and allow users to move money across different “worlds” utilising crypto and NFTs.
Pinnock said, “For us, gamification is incredibly important. I grew up modding Warcraft III a lot, I was actually not the creator, but I was an original Dota modder and made my own Dota spinoff as well as a ton of other games. And what I believe made Warcraft III’s modding community so successful was that there was a game to build around, there was a framework. And so we are going to build our own framework.”
Avalon is hoping to collaborate with AI companies to eventually deploy a feature that will let users design their own worlds using generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
While the team realises that not every game may have the PC hardware needed to play Avalon at a high level, their goal is to make it a AAA-quality game.
According to Pinnock, there will be a cloud solution for Avalon, where data is hosted and rendered online as opposed to on the user’s PC. This game is accessible to everyone using a web browser.