The crypto gaming industry is continuing to grow in popularity as more capital is deployed in the space and traditional Web 2.0 gaming studios look to enter the web3 market.
Immutable, an Australia-based web3 gaming firm, launched an inaugural $500 million developer and venture investment fund, Robbie Ferguson, president and co-founder of Immutable, exclusively told TechCrunch.
The capital will be used to fund projects building web3 games and NFT-focused companies on its layer-2 Ethereum-focused platform, Immutable X.
Immutable’s main goal is to enable the next generation of web3 gaming at scale, Ferguson said. Gaming developers and IP holders already building on its platform include GameStop, TikTok, OpenSea and Illuvium, to name a few.
“We see gaming being one of the biggest opportunities in web3 to have ever existed,” he said. “The total addressable market is going to be enormous and much bigger than what gaming is today -- a $100 billion industry for in-game items alone.”
Ferguson noted that the total addressable gaming market is compounding 10% year over year, so the industry could have a $1 trillion price tag for ownable assets under the assumption that movies, TV shows and music will end up inside of games.
The half-billion-dollar fund was pooled together from a “mixture of places,” Ferguson shared. “There’s obviously all our venture partners who are using their balance sheets and VC allocations to come in on these deals, there’s cash backed on [Immutable’s] balance sheet and there’s also the foundation’s grants, which are specifically designed for this purpose to incentivize and build the Immutable ecosystem.”
Its fund will also collaborate with other web3 gaming and NFT-focused investors including BITKRAFT, Animoca Brands, Arrington Capital, Double Peak, AirTree, King River Capital and GameStop, as well as strategic gaming publishers, for additional investment opportunities.
In March, Immutable closed a $200 million Series C round led by Singapore-based Temasek, which valued the firm at $2.5 billion. To date, Immutable Ventures has made investments in a handful of web3 firms including StarkWare, Stardust, PlanetQuest and Topology.
“It’s the perfect time to start really building long-term games that will have true in-game economies that will get a hundred million to a billion players on web3,” Ferguson said. “I have strong conviction that the first hundred million users will come from a [Web 2.0] game. All it takes is a breakout here and that’s a reasonably sized successful game where NFTs can be used under the hood, completely frictionlessly, and reap the benefits.”
Over the next 24 months, Ferguson expects mid-market gaming studios to break out into the web3 world and be the fastest to market. Then, over the next two years, more games will seep into the web3 ecosystem, he added.
“The main thing is that it takes time to integrate web3 and takes time to build a good game,” Ferguson said. “There’s going to be a huge influx of web3 games in eight to 12 months, and there’s going to be hundreds of Triple A games over the next few years.”