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Blockchain gaming publisher Xterio has invested $2.5 million in Overworld, a new partner game studio that will make multiplayer role-playing games with digital collectibles.
Overworld will develop cross-platform, free-to-play games with features such as player ownership and digital collectibles.
Backed in August 2022, Xterio, a cross-platform publisher and developer of high-quality mobile and Web3 games, raised $40 million in funding for itself. The company is on a mission to develop the leading Web3 gaming ecosystem focused on high-quality games.
Switzerland-based Xterio, together with it’s operating company LibeccioTech, is investing the initial funding in Overworld to launch unique game-themed collectibles on the Xterio platform, which will house a marketplace, social community hub, user-centric tools and more. Xterio also has a lot of people in Singapore, and the overall headcount for the ecosystem is over 100 people.
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“At Xterio, we are partnering with global leaders to help us pave the way forward for games enhanced by the power of Web3 technology,” said Brett Krause, council chairman at Xterio, in a statement. “We plan to incubate more studios in the near future, giving them the financing and support to enable them to develop high-quality Web3 games on the Xterio Platform for a wide range of players.”
Based in Florida with a mix of remote employees, Overworld has been incubated by Jeremy Horn, Xterio’s chief operating officer, with an extensive career history spanning games, technology and entertainment.
“We’ve been focusing on building, acquiring or investing in gaming studios that are going to be part of the exterior ecosystem,” Horn said.
That will help build value for Xterio’s token and also help it complete the tech platform that will handle monetization, tracking, user acquisition and other things, he said.
“Overworld is going to be building a multiplayer role-playing game set in a really amazing fantasy universe written by one of the narrative leads from Bethesda that joined us recently,” Horn said. “That game is going to be focusing first on a couple of digital collectible collections, but it will have a much more classic gaming experience that is going to be free to play and accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they interact with on-chain assets or not.”
It will be available on PC and mobile, and perhaps consoles as the user base grows.
“The space is so young that we’re not at a place like mobile, where competition is a big concern. I think building the right project is much more of a concern than competitors,” Horn said. “It’s much more about who’s going to prove that you can build a great fun, nonintrusive, nonabusive game that really adds value to players lives.”
Formerly vice president of strategy at Jam City, Horn is a game veteran with expertise in top-grossing social free-to-play games across multiple platforms.
The Overworld team has eight veterans coming from Riot Games, Disney, Krafton, Jam City and Ubisoft. Horn will serve as COO at Xterio and CEO of Overworld. The company is hiring and is looking for concept artists and 3D artists.
“Overworld is on a mission to create a rich cross-platform fantasy universe that grows in partnership with our community and is strengthened by digital ownership,” said Horn. “Our first game, currently in development, is an online RPG coming to PC, consoles and mobile devices that will build the foundation of the Overworld brand. Overworld’s titles will fuse the accessibility of free-to-play and cross-play support with the incredible possibilities that digital collectibles and community ownership open up for players.”
Overworld’s first release will be a digital collectible drop that will provide holders with unique benefits and early access to the game, with initial assets released in the second quarter of 2023.
At that time, Horn said the company will release its first collection of blockchain assets. That will allow owners to participate in the ecosystem and vote on game development questions, similar in fashion to a governance token. An alpha version of the game is expected later this year.
As for the crypto winter, Horn said that it happened after the company raised capital, and the market has shifted drastically.
“I think there are new rules around compliance, new regulatory concerns, but also the trust has to be rebuilt,” he said. “When you look at the data around purchases of NFTs, it has drastically reduced, and so all of our studios are going to have different strategies. And that’s why we’re building those autonomous studios that are thought of as the exterior ecosystem.”
Each studio team will make its own choices around strategy. Studios in Japan will likely have different strategies than Western studios. Overworld, for instance, won’t be issuing its own cryptocurrency token and it will operate games in both Web2 and Web3 formats.
It will have optional blockchain assets (relying on Xterio’s token) that players can choose to buy if they want, but are not required to buy as on-chain assets. That’s because there is a lot of friction in onboarding players to Web3 wallets and cryptocurrencies.
Overworld still plans to target a global market, though it will focus on Western gamers in particular. It will take time and great games to be successful, Horn said.
“Web is still very much the niche, right,” he said. “It’s not getting to 90% of gamers out there. And that will change over time. But today, you’re still really targeting a very niche segment. So how do you break through the noise? How do you create this community that is going to be the first evangelists and the first believers in a project? That’s definitely something that I learned (at Jam City).”
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