Esports and skill gaming app Mobile Premier League (MPL) has backed Striker, a digital sports collectibles platform started by two of its employees, Krishna Mohan Vedula and Nitesh Jain, as it gears up to foray into the nascent but fast-growing Web3 gaming space.
Web3 is considered to be the next iteration of the internet, which will be decentralised and run on blockchain.
This backing is in terms of providing tech/infra support and the company has not made any financial investment to the venture as yet, people familiar with the matter told Moneycontrol.
Vedula and Jain continue to be employees of the Bengaluru-based gaming unicorn. MPL declined to comment on this development.
As per Striker’s website, the platform will enable users to collect digital player trading cards disbursed by the company (also known as ‘drops’) and trade them with others in an open marketplace to earn real money. One can also combine various game assets to create new cards of higher value, it said.
The platform, which is currently in public beta testing phase, works with a community of artists across the country to create digital art collectibles.
Apart from the remuneration the artists get for their creations, Striker is also experimenting with a model that provides them a commission when their art is sold to the fans, sources familiar with the matter told Moneycontrol.
The marketplace will be operated through MPL’s Good Game Exchange (GGX) platform that will allow users to display and trade digital assets such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and Good Game Token (GGT), a utility token used within the games associated with the GGX platform.
This token will not be available or listed on any platform outside of the game or any other associated games, the company notes in its terms and conditions.
According to a person familiar with the development, Striker started as an independent side project for Vedula and Jain early this year and they worked on this project for about six months.
They approached MPL for support in August this year to which the gaming unicorn agreed by offering a few personnel to build the product, the person said.
Fantasy sports tournaments
What’s particularly interesting is that Striker features an online cricket fantasy game where people can create teams with the player cards they own and earn points based on the real-life performances of these players, and compete in a range of fantasy contests, as per its website.
Participants can create teams of five players each and compete against the online teams of other participants.Striker will offer five different types of cards based on their rarity—Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary and Striker.
The first three types of cards will be available to users through free drops on the day of a tournament or a predetermined time. However, Legendary and Striker card types can only be created by users by combining various game assets such as their existing digital player cards, experience points they earn from participating in tournaments and GGTs, the website states.
Increased activity in Web3 gaming space
With growing adoption of blockchain and digital assets, the Web3 gaming space has gained steam in the country over the past year.
Startup founders say that Web3 gaming could also provide potentially better monetisation opportunities for game developers in the country, compared to the current gaming ecosystem.
At a recent industry event, MPL co-founder Sai Srinivas said that the model creates more equitable value for all the stakeholders in the ecosystem including game developers, content creators and the end customer, which didn’t exist before.
“That's the model that I believe will bring meaningful economies of scale into games,” he said.
“Until now, in the world of gaming, the end gamer actually never got anything out of it, apart from enjoyment. They were the last person holding the bag while everybody else was making money. In these new models, the actual customer is going to be a stakeholder who will have value in terms of the assets that they own in the game,” he added.
Srinivas has previously mentioned that Web3 can be as big of an opportunity for India as Web2 was for China, which is currently the world’s biggest video games market with an estimated size of $47 billion.
Also eyeing the Web3 gaming space is Dream11 parent Dream Sports, which led a $120-million funding round in cricket NFT platform Rario through its venture and M&A arm.
In February, WazirX co-founder Siddharth Menon teamed up with Pune-based game development firm SuperGaming to launch Tegro, a Web3 game ecosystem marketplace that claims to have notched up over 400,000 signups within two weeks in August 2022, and is expected to make its debut in the coming months.
BSE-listed Nazara Technologies has also announced plans to create a cricket offering in Web3, while nCore Games raised $10 million in January 2022 to expand its properties and NFTs in the metaverse, as well as launch new games in the Web3 and play-to-earn space.
Social gaming and interactive entertainment platform WinZO also acquired a majority stake in Gurugram-based game development studio Upskillz Games for its Web3 gaming foray in June 2022.