Non-fungible token (NFT) play-to-earn startup Yield Guild Games (YGG) completed a $4 million Series A round of funding led by gaming and esports firm BITKRAFT. Animoca Brands, a returning investor, also contributed to the financing.
Yield Guild Games is promoting an economy where players are potentially able to earn living wages playing video games. The company does not develop the games but instead gathers a pool of players to play NFT-based play-to-earn games. The Guild was launched in 2020 and had 2,500 members in March of this year. That figure has now risen to 16,000.
The company was developed by Philippine Gabby Dizon, an early fan of the Axie Infinity game, which uses NFTs to reward players the more they play. Axie Infinity is one of the most popular games played on the Guild.
The group takes money from investors and money earned in the games and reinvests it in NFT in-game assets. For example, the Guild spent over $100,000 on 88 plots of Savannah in Axie Infinity and a 12-by-12 virtual land sale in Animoca’s The Sandbox.
One service provided by YGG is scholarships. A scholarship is a profit-sharing model where an Axie NFT owner can rent their NFT to new players who don’t have any money upfront to invest in the game to start playing and earn in-game tokens. Profits are split between the NFT owner, the player, and the Community Manager. Community Managers are like employees in YGG and are responsible for recruiting and training new players.
Community Managers are present in the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, and Venezuela, and YGG is looking for partners in Thailand.
As for living wages, the group splits profits from playing the games. Axie Infinity, for example, yields a currency called Smooth Love Potion (SLP). As of March, one SLP was equivalent to four U.S. cents, and the group had acquired four million SLPs, equivalent to $160,000. Today, over 14 million SLPs valued at a total of $2 million have been earned to be split among 1,900 scholars. In places where wages are low, or unemployment is high, this money makes a difference.
The Series A investment will go towards investing in NFTs and onboarding more players. In the future, YGG is also looking to develop an NFT-based play-to-earn game of its own. Ultimately, YGG wants to become a globally recognized esports brand.
“Our primary goal is to scale play-to-earn to millions of players around the world” said Dizon.
Meanwhile, NFT play-to-earn game developer Mythical Games, which recently partnered with Burberry for in-game NFTs, raised $75 million in a Series B round of funding. Animoca’s subsidiary nWay is also working on a play-to-earn video game through its Olympics rights licensing deal.