Esports veterans join Ember Sword following $203M Metaverse land deal
Veteran esports gamer Dennis "Thresh" Fong and former World of Warcraft main designer Rob Pardo will counsel the Ethereum play-to-earn game. Bright Star Studio has added new funding for Ember Sword, its upcoming Ethereum play-to-earn game. The round features a selection of esports and video game veterans, two of which will also guide on updates.
Digital land sales are rising due to Facebook's efforts in the metaverse, and the upcoming Ethereum-based virtual game Ember Sword is anticipated to be a game-changer. It sold for over $200 million worth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) land in July. The game's developer has raised new funding and hired skilled veteran game industry talent to help achieve its objectives.
Last week, developer Bright Star Studio revealed an investment round spearheaded by BITKRAFT Ventures that introduces several veteran esports and gaming luminaries as investors—and two of them will also operate as advisors to the team.
Former chief creative officer at Blizzard Entertainment Rob Pardo, and main designer of the extremely popular World of Warcraft, will serve as one of the advisors, alongside veteran esports player Dennis "Thresh" Fong, popularly recognized as the pioneer professional competitive gamer.
Similar to Blizzard's genre-defining World of Warcraft, Ember Sword is also a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Thus, the introduction of Pardo in the team would make a statement for traditional video game enthusiasts, some of whom have expressed concerns with NFTs and crypto games.
Mark Laursen the founder and CEO of Bright Star Studio told a news outlet that Pardo will guide Ember Sword's play-to-earn game design and ongoing updates, and also assist to hire new talent.
Laursen said, "He really liked where Ember Sword was going and the potential for this, and what we can do for moving the gaming industry forward."
At the same time, he is convinced that Fong can assist Bright Star to make the change from a startup to a big studio. Fong is a veteran startup founder and investor which explains why Laursen has so much confidence in him.
Ember Sword will also have competitive gameplay, which can make it suitable for esports similar to Ethereum's top game Axie Infinity.
Apart from those two veterans, Bright Star has also recruited several outstanding esports and gaming industry players as investors, like G2 Esports co-founder and CEO Carlos Rodriguez, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, renowned video game streamer Dr. DisRespect, YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt, as well as the Sandbox co-founder and COO Sebastien Borget.
Bright Star and BITKRAFT did not announce the round's funding estimates. Lauren revealed that the round's objective was "quite strategic" in focusing on popular game industry trendsetters, who can promote the team and eventually popularize the game. The studio's past $2 million funding round occurred in May and aimed at investment and VC companies.
Virtual land sales in metaverse-style games such as Decentraland and Sandbox have increased recently due to Facebook's recent metaverse launch, which included changing its parent firm to Meta.
For instance, late last month, collectors bought over $100 million worth of virtual land across multiple games.
Similar to other metaverse games, Ember Sword players can buy virtual plots of land featured in the game, allowing them to personalize and even monetize the space. Landowners will benefit from trading fees and also earn the game's Ember token on Ethereum. Players can buy the plots as an NFT, which serves as a deed of ownership for a digital commodity.
Ember Sword's mega land sale took occurred in July, before the recent rise in metaverse demand, when over 35,000 players collectively used over $203 million to buy NFT land.
Laursen announced that his team was surprised by the huge sum raised from the land sale, but disclosed that they had intentionally targeted individuals likely to be serious players instead of NFT-flipping gamblers. He said, "We made an effort to really single out the community people, or trainers, or guilds in that regard, instead of singling out speculators or investors."
With new advisors, supporters, and funding in its reserve, the Ember Sword team is now dedicated to providing a playable experience to its users. Bright Star focuses to begin launching parts of the game to land buyers by March 2022, and then gradually introducing more players in with beta testing periods across the year.
Last month, the team disclosed that it will unveil the game on Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution Immutable X instead of the competitor Polygon. The team will also introduce an open beta sometime year.
Many investors, both investment companies and NFT buyers have put their money into crypto games recently. Leading game publishers such as Ubisoft and Square Enix are also getting into the metaverse. Laursen is convinced that blockchain-based games can change old business models while allowing content creators and communities to get a share of a game's profits.
He said, "It's a match made in heaven, if you ask me as a game developer." Concerning the pairing of cryptocurrency and online games, Laursen said, "I think it will change everything."
First published on Dec 15, 2021