nCore Games, a venture co-founded by gaming veterans Vishal Gondal and Dayanidhi MG, has raised $10 million in Series A funding as it looks to expand its properties into metaverse and non-fungible token (NFTs) as well as launch new games in the Web3 and play-to-earn space.
The round was led by Galaxy Interactive and Animoca Brands with participation from Polygon and HyperEdge.
Galaxy Interactive is part of Galaxy Digital, a publicly-listed, diversified merchant bank specializing in digital assets and blockchain technology while Animoca Brands (and its subsidiaries) develop and publish a broad portfolio of blockchain games, traditional games and branded products. It is also a prolific investor in NFT-related blockchain firms.
The mobile games and interactive entertainment startup said the investment would be used to "provide the studios additional financial support to create a metaverse that will run across titles".
A clutch of angel investors such as former Google executive Amit Singhal, Polygon cofounder Sandeep Nailwal, Ram Madhvani, Rakesh Kaul, Mannan Adenwala, Sanjay Narang, Taj Haslani, Kristian Segerstrale, Sanjay Gondal, Vedant Baali, Kartik Prabhakara, Peter Leung, Yashraj Akashi and Akshay Chaturvedi also participated in the funding round.
Started in 2019, nCore Games houses gaming studios such as Studio nCore and Dot9 Games. It has released two multiplayer mobile games FAU:G and Pro Cricket Mobile, with more titles expected this year.
nCore Games said it recently expanded its management team with Kanwaljit Bombra as the CEO, Alok Jain as finance head and Agastya Samat leading the firm's business development and legal operations.
"With the establishment of this partnership, we are looking forward to seeing the brightest talent in India collaborate with the stalwarts of the global gaming ecosystem to take nCore to unprecedented levels of success within the Indian gaming industry and beyond" Bombra said.
nCore also has a gaming platform IceSpice that provides tools such as virtual currency, ecommerce store and esports layer along with a publishing house to developers.
“At IceSpice we are building tools to help game developers keep gaming communities engaged with innovative use of technologies. With the help of global leaders in technology investments, we are set to create new benchmarks in gaming with our Virtual Currencies, NFTs and gaming merchandise for gamers” said IceSpice CEO Tejraj Parab.
"This is one of our most promising investments in India, which has a large gaming market with a massive growth potential," said Yat Siu, the executive chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands.
nCORE Games has the team to leverage blockchain and NFTs to deliver digital property rights to players, “and we look forward to many successful products as we move toward a global open metaverse”, he said.
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Animoca Brands has a portfolio of more than 100 investments in NFT-related companies and decentralised projects that are contributing to building the open metaverse, including Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs (NBA Top Shot), Bitski, Harmony, Alien Worlds and Star Atlas.
As reported by Moneycontrol, the emergence of blockchain and NFT-based gaming firms is expected to be one of the key trends in the sector in 2022.
"I think we might be in the very early stages of blockchain and NFT-based gaming and it might be something that will become more predominant in the days to come," 99Games founder Rohith Bhat told Moneycontrol in a recent interview.
Dream Sports CEO Harsh Jain recently said at an industry event that they were exploring a foray into the nascent blockchain and NFT market.
Play-to-earn is also emerging as a new business model in the gaming sector following the success of Axie Infinity, Jain said.
"What we've been doing all this time is play-to-win but now there's an entirely new model being built around play-to-earn, which I think is phenomenally interesting since you don't have to stake something that you can lose. You can only lose an opportunity to gain something" he said.