ClanPlay has raised $2 million in venture funding for a platform that serves as a social hub for gamers who play in clans in games such as Clash Royale and also rewards gamers for their play. The funding from Bicameral Ventures will help the company leverage its 2 million users and build what it calls the world’s first marketplace for in-game actions.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup is using the Aion blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to create a reward system where gamers can essentially be paid for completing actions in a mobile game, said Leonard Frankel, CEO of ClanPlay, in a statement. ClanPlay plans to launch the Good Game Marketplace in the fourth quarter. The marketplace will enable players to monetize their skills by trading in-game services and participating in large-scale tournaments.
It’s another step toward the what I call the Leisure Economy, where we all get paid to play games. In this case, game developers don’t have to spend their money on expensive ads on Google or Facebook. Rather, the developers can directly pay users to take actions inside games.
Earlier, ClanPlay launched a mobile app and got 2 million users. The upcoming Good Game Marketplace is a new platform that will launch on web and cater to all gamers including PC and console.
“The low cost of transactions, speed of the network, and the ability to seamlessly integrate several blockchains into our platform were all differentiating factors in choosing Aion to develop our platform on and collaborate with,” said Frankel. “Aion’s blockchain platform has given our ecosystem the ability to let gamers profit from their favorite games, without requiring offline bank accounts.”
In an earlier interview, Frankel said that a lot of great gamers have skills, but they don’t have bank accounts. So ClanPlay can issue tokens to gamers as a reward. The other big problem is that advertisers are enriching platforms such as Facebook, and gamers aren’t receiving any of that money.
This marketplace will be based on a new cryptographic utility token called Good Game (“GG”). Earlier, the company had planned to raise money via an initial coin offering, or ICO. But regulators have cracked down on such offerings.
“In the current crypto regulatory state and sentiment, we feel that the market has matured from ‘selling dreams’ towards more conservative approach of demonstrating actual usage,” said Frankel, in an email. “By raising a venture round instead of our (previously planned) ICO, we can leverage our scrappy lean approach to quickly bring a great product to the market that will cater to users and potential investors alike.”
ClanPlay unveiled its vision to change the way gamers are viewed from acquisition targets to skilled individuals that should be rewarded and encouraged to play new games, Frankel said.
Earlier this year ClanPlay became the highest rated app for gamers with a star rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 on both Google Play and iOS. The status was achieved after adding support for two of the most successful mobile games: Clash of Clans and Clash Royale and attracting an audience of more than 1.5 million users.
ClanPlay envisions its marketplace as an efficient system in which game developers can pay users (with ‘GG’ tokens) in proportion to how engaged they are with their games. For players a campaign could be structured to incentivize progression milestones such as watching the game’s ad, downloading it, reaching level five, and even making the first purchase.
Developers will disclose all milestones beforehand and guarantee payment for them with a trust-less solution, coded into the smart contract (i.e. automatically managed by the blockchain). In addition, ClanPlay will let developers harness the power of social promotion by paying influencers (e.g. YouTubers and streamers) a share of revenues generated by players that clicked links they share.
“At ClanPlay, we designed a scalable platform to support millions of active users and in-line with our lean approach that prioritizes time to market, Aion posed an unparalleled opportunity,” said Asaf Semo, ClanPlay’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “The Aion platform solves many of our requirements around currency management, security and ease of transactions. Their interoperability offering (bridging between blockchains), gives us valuable flexibility in an ever-changing future of blockchain diversity.”
Direct revenue sharing would align interests of both parties and create a fair-trade practice that the company expects to be attractive for tens of thousands of game influencers, whose content is currently under-monetized, Frankel said.
To address the second problem described, ClanPlay will enable peer-to-peer trading where interested parties can pay players for in-game actions and services. Authorization providers that access game data, like ClanPlay’s own technology, will verify action completion and automatically approve payments.
For the first time, the GG Marketplace will allow gaming team leaders and esports managers to easily incentivize their players to complete in-game tasks such as joining a team or reaching in-game goals.
In the future, the GG token could be used to attract strong players to join clan recruitment posts and then to encourage activity. The marketplace will offer three types of interactions: Direct Discovery Campaigns in which developers plot a rewarded journey for players to engage with their games; Peer-to-peer interactions between players and Cross-Game Tournaments where any action inside games can become a winning criterion and “game triathlons” can be formed with automatic distribution of prizes, across multiple games and even multiple platforms. Such tournaments would make for a lucrative advertising media as they could attract audiences and form unique entertainment opportunities.
Frankel and Asaf Semo started ClanPlay in 2016. The company has raised equity funding from founders of game companies such as Plarium, Huuuge, Diwip, and Babil Games. ClanPlay is among only two games-related companies in the history of Israel to have received a government grant for technological innovation.
As part of this investment, cofounder of Aion, Kesem Frank and Bicameral CIO, Alex McDougall will be joining the ClanPlay advisory board.
In the upcoming platform, interested parties could pay players for services inside games; gamers would be able to challenge their skill against others; and game developers will pay players directly, to discover and engage with their games.
ClanPlay’s blockchain-enabled platform aspires to facilitate an exchange of value and to allow any gamer to “earn money by playing awesome games,” said Frankel.
The GG token will be one of the first ATS Tokens (Aion’s fungible token standard) and serve Good Game users as they transact in the marketplace, using an Aion wallet to hold their payouts and winnings.
Tournaments will go live in Q4 2018, hosting some of today’s most popular games, such as Fortnite, PUBG and Clash Royale. PvP Challenges on game results will follow suit and trading of in-game services is set as a goal for early 2019.
“ClanPlay is an impressive team with a genuine understanding of gamers’ passion, as demonstrated by
their ability to organically scale to over 2 million users on their mobile app since launch,” said Frank, in a statement. “ClanPlay’s choice of the Aion blockchain is a testament of the network’s capabilities and we are excited about their work which is pioneering real world usage of mass-user high-throughput applications. We are proud to welcome the ClanPlay team as adopters of the Aion network and both Alex and I are delighted to join the platform’s advisory board.”
The company has five employees, and it has raised $4 million to date.