EVE Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in outer space, boasts one of the most hardcore, engaged audiences in gaming. And today, developer CCP Games announced that it has raised money to expand the EVE universe with a new Web3 game.
CCP revealed today that it has raised $40 million in financing in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz to develop what it’s calling “a new AAA title utilizing blockchain technology, set within the EVE universe.” The $40 million round also included participation from BITKRAFT, Nexon, Kingsway Capital, HASHED, among other investors.
The URL of the announcement website suggests a “Project Awakening” name for the initiative.
In a press release, the company explained that the new EVE game will feature on-chain systems, with an emphasis on “persistence, composability and truly open third-party development to create a new relationship between virtual worlds and players.”
“Since its inception, CCP Games’ vision has been to create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life,” said CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, in a statement. “Now, with advancements made within blockchain, we can forge a new universe deeply imbued with our expertise in player agency and autonomy, empowering players to engage in new ways.”
EVE Online is celebrating 20 years of existence this year and has cultivated a die-hard audience of players that have formed factions within its sci-fi world. The game has yielded an annual convention in Iceland, an array of spinoff games, and even books documenting historical in-game battles between its contentious rival crews.
While this is CCP’s first move into Web3 gaming, Pétursson has long been interested in the potential for blockchain to revolutionize concepts like user ownership and open economies in the gaming world.
But he’s been realistic about it.
In 2020, Pétursson told Decrypt that he thought the addressable market for blockchain games was too small at the time for CCP to make any moves. He also noted the complexities around handling crypto, and said that it could be five to 10 years before a blockchain game had the potential to be a true “killer app.”
“I’m not sure necessarily that it will be a tipping point,” he said in 2020. “But you could foresee a time where there’s a killer app, where you just really have to get involved regardless of whether you need to figure something out, and that pulls in a wave of people and kind of starts an avalanche.”
CCP Games isn’t the only major traditional game maker to enter the Web3 world.
Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft has been experimenting and investing in the space for years, for example, while Final Fantasy creator Square Enix is actively developing NFT games—such as the upcoming Symbiogenesis on Ethereum scaling network, Polygon.
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