Proof of Play, the game studio behind the blockchain-based social role-playing game Pirate Nation, announced today that it has raised $33 million in seed funding in a round co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and Greenoaks Capital.
The studio, co-founded by CEO Amitt Mahajan—previously co-creator of the smash casual game FarmVille at Zynga—says it will use the funding to grow the company and further scale its technology, which enables fully on-chain games that can live on indefinitely.
Emmett Shear, co-founder and former CEO of video game streaming platform Twitch, has joined Proof of Play’s board alongside the raise. Other participants in the $33 million seed round include AngelList co-founder and former CEO Naval Ravikant and entrepreneur and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasian, according to the announcement.
Welcome to Pirate Nation, an on-chain RPG by @ProofOfPlay, built at the intersection of casual gaming, web3 technology, and shared ownership & incentives.
A thread 🧵 covering what you need to know about our game, ecosystem, & team.
Let's jump in. 👇 1/many pic.twitter.com/aS9e4OvAuJ
— Pirate Nation (@PirateNationNFT) July 5, 2023
In a statement, Mahajan said that the experience of seeing Zynga pull FarmVille offline in 2020 inspired him to explore the use of blockchain technology to design and deploy “forever games.”
“Over a billion hours of playtime, creativity, and investment was lost,” he said of FarmVille’s demise. “Realizing this, I felt compelled to find a better way to make games timeless.
“We're creating multi-generational products—games that will outlast us and are owned by the communities that play them,” he continued.
Pirate Nation was originally deployed on Polygon, but it set sail for another Ethereum scaling network—Arbitrum Nova—earlier this year, in search of cheaper network fees. Even though it runs on a blockchain network, Proof of Play says that players can remix and add their own content to the game, customizing and expanding it all the while.
Alongside the funding news, Proof of Play announced Thursday that it is starting to roll out free-to-play access to the game, which means players will be able to create a free character without owning an NFT. However, NFT owners get various added benefits over free players. The free-to-play version is designed to be a more casual experience suited for a broader audience.
Pirate Nation soon goes F2P, starting on a community-invite basis. 💌
Incoming players will be able to create a Pirate for free to access the full game.
A 🧵 of key differences between Pirates (our F2P collection) and Founder's Pirates (our genesis collection).
— Pirate Nation (@PirateNationNFT) August 9, 2023
Proof of Play plans to open-source its tech for building fully on-chain games in an effort to let other creators develop their own games and apps using the same tools.
“We're thrilled to be backing Proof of Play as they build an on-chain gaming future with composability, interoperability, and permanence at the core of gameplay, enabling players to truly own their assets and anyone to create a new game on top of another,” said Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon, in a release.