CCP Games, the developer behind the sci-fi MMORPG EVE Online, recently announced that it had secured $40 million in funding with the venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) leading the round.
CCP Games plans to use the funds to create a new game within the EVE universe that will incorporate blockchain technology and be classified as a AAA title.
Other investors participating in the $40 million round include the Japanese-South Korean video game publisher Nexon, venture capital firm Makers Fund, the global investment platform for gaming, Web3 and immersive technology BITKRAFT, the London-based investment company Kingsway Capital and the crypto assets fund and community builder HASHED.
The Iceland-based company said in a press release that the upcoming EVE game would incorporate on-chain systems, focusing on “persistence, composability, and genuine open third-party development” to establish a new bond between players and virtual worlds.
“CCP Games is a pioneer in virtual worlds and digital economies with 25 years of experience creating living sandboxes with unparalleled depth. They’re a veteran team and we believe in their ambitious vision to deliver incredible player experiences at the intersection of best-in-class game design and blockchain technology.”
Jonathan Lai, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz
CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson explained that the goal of CCP Games is to design virtual worlds that are more significant than the real world. He said that with the latest advancements in blockchain technology, the company could create a new universe incorporating its knowledge of player autonomy and agency. It also could offer players new ways to interact.
A16z general partner Jonathan Lai said that CCP Games has a long history of creating dynamic and immersive virtual worlds with complex economies spanning 25 years. Lai mentioned that the team behind CCP Games is experienced and skilled, and a16z supports its ambitious goal of providing players with unparalleled experiences that combine exceptional game design with blockchain technology.
Alli Óttarsson, Principal at Makers Fund, expressed excitement over CCP Games’ plans to leverage blockchain technology in expanding the EVE Universe. He added that the intricacies and complexities of EVE have made it a common reference point in the blockchain gaming world.
Carlos Pereira, a partner at BITKRAFT Ventures, shared his insights on the compelling stories of interstellar conflict, lost spaceships, and unpredictable player behavior that have developed in EVE.
He said that he is excited to see how the team will use blockchain technology to give players more freedom to imagine and create in the game world because of the team’s unparalleled passion in the project.
CCP’s foray into Web3
Although this is CCP’s initial step into Web3 gaming, Pétursson has been fascinated with how blockchain technology could transform the gaming industry, particularly regarding user ownership and open economies.
However, he has been practical and pragmatic about the possibilities and limitations of this technology. Pétursson expressed this view to Decrypt in 2020, saying that the market size for blockchain games was limited at the time, making it impractical for CCP to venture into that space.
The CEO also acknowledged the challenges associated with cryptocurrency and predicted that it would take five to 10 years for a blockchain game to become a bona fide “killer app.”
“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,” Pétursson said.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Pétursson elaborated that the inception of this project could be traced back to 2015 when someone inquired about the possibility of putting game assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. Pétursson had limited knowledge of the concept then, but he sought information and consulted with others to gain a better understanding.
“Frankly, some of the deepest thinking on game economies I have observed happens at blockchain conferences, due to the fact that everything had to be so sparse and you had to be very deliberate about what to do.”
Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO at CCP Games
He then embarked on a personal quest to understand the topic and learn more about it. Despite holding a degree in computer science, he found the process of familiarizing himself with the subject surprisingly protracted.
In 2017, Pétursson observed the growth of CryptoKitties, which involved buying and selling NFTs, and CCP Games began exploring its ventures. However, there were numerous restrictions then, such as difficulties in scaling transactions up to large numbers.
He believed that the most profound thoughts about game economies “happens at blockchain conferences” because of the need for intentional and concise decision-making due to the limited resources available.
Throughout the pandemic period, Pétursson further delved into the concepts. As blockchain games gained traction in 2021, the industry solutions progressed significantly, prompting CCP Games to conduct broader experiments.