Proof of Play, a Web3 gaming startup led by Farmville’s co-creator Amitt Mahajan, announced this week that the company successfully secured $33 million in funding to begin developing new games that veer away from the “play-to-earn” gaming infrastructure.
Farmville, which initially launched in 2009, lasted for nearly 11 years before suffering an unfortunate fate at the end of 2020 when its parent company, Zynga, shut down the game – and users were pissed.
Mahajan, who serves as Proof of Play’s CEO, shared in an interview that he wanted to make sure that the gaming startup’s users avoid the fate that Farmville users suffered that cost them the time and money they invested into the game.
“All that player investment and creativity, and that universe building that the community of players built, just disappeared because the game creator decided that the game had to be shut down for whatever reason,” he said.
But now, Mahajan believes that blockchain-based games can work to “outlive their creator,” where gaming assets and developer code will still exist up and until somebody stops funding the “nodes” that power the designated blockchain behind the game.
“As one of the creators and lead developer of Farmville, the #1 Facebook game played by over 300 million people, I saw first-hand what the amount of energy and storytelling players put into games they love. When the game shut down in 2020, however, over a billion hours of playtime, creativity and investment was lost. Realizing this, I felt compelled to find a better way to make games timeless. Proof of Play is committed to building fully on-chain games, and the technical tools to power them, in order to facilitate autonomous worlds, ensure game longevity, and create a more immersive player experience. We’re creating multi-generational products — games that will outlast us and are owned by the communities that play them,” said Mahajan.
The funding round, according to the Sept. 21 announcement, was jointly led by a16z’s Chris Dixon and Neil Mehta of Greenoaks, with participation by the founders of Twitch and Web3 firms Anchorage Digital, Mercury, Firebase, Zynga, and Alchemy. Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear also serves as a board member.
After announcing the closing of the $33 million funding round, Proof of Play also announced the same day that it launched a “free-to-play” mode of one of its most popular gaming titles, “Pirate Nation,” having launched in closed beta back in December.
The game, which is entirely blockchain-based, has continued to release weekly updates, including card-based combat, island building, and community-led world boss raids.
One of the company’s key selling points is its ability to address the common hurdles faced by players when engaging with Web3 games, asserting its development of a “set of technological and product innovations” that promise to swiftly immerse players in an enjoyable gaming experience without the need to grapple with complex blockchain concepts.
In March, Pirate Nation migrated from Polygon’s Ethereum sidechain to Arbitrum Nova, due to exorbitant gas fees ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 per day.
By showcasing Pirate Nation as a “Forever Game” that can operate autonomously without relying on external servers or the intervention of creators, Proof of Play also was transparent about its future intentions of open-sourcing its technology framework.
And Pirate Nation is just the beginning.
“Our vision is to create permanent, fully extensible games with the potential to become the basis for non-gaming worlds & societies, known as autonomous worlds,” the startup tweeted on X.
Last May, Zynga, also known for its iconic 2009 title Words With Friends, was acquired by Take-Two Interactive for $12.7 billion. In August, Zynga added its first-ever blockchain game, Sugartown, into Take-Two’s extensive portfolio of gaming franchises, which include Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, NBA 2K, BioShock, and more.
Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-3.5.