Playgig has raised $10.85 million in seed-funding for a new cross-platform gaming studio.
The firm is headed by former Riot Games executive Bruno Schirch, who previously ran esports and global publishing for the maker of League of Legends.
Schirch started the company in January 2021 and kept it in stealth mode until now. The company is creating cross-platform, free-to-play games that are accessible to a broad universe of gamers. March Gaming led the round, with support from additional global investors including Paramark from South Korea, Aream from the U.K., and Gaingels, the largest LGBTQIA+/allies investment syndicate.
“We’ll use the funding to recruit additional talent to join our fast-growing team of 40 game developers
building our first game and original intellectual property, Mystic Kingdoms, and to support our work to serve a global community of gamers with captivating experiences,” Schirch said in a blog post. “We’re grateful to have our investors’ support.”
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At Riot, Schirch said he led a talented team to pioneer the games-as-a-service model. The vision with Playgig is to build a studio from the ground up to bring the fun of deeply engaging multiplayer games to a broader global community of gamers.
Playgig is composed of a diverse group of artists, engineers, writers, game designers, and game development pros who have built billion-dollar entertainment franchises. Schirch said they see play as their life’s work, and will use the power of play to bring people together.
The first game, Mystic Kingdoms, is a team battler set in a fantasy world. It will be fast, easy to pick up, and free to play, but will also offer satisfying depth to players who delight in pursuing mastery, Schirch said.
It will be playable in all major languages, across all major platforms, and accessible to a
global and diverse audience.
“We’re currently testing with hundreds of players whose feedback has been incredibly useful as we continue to make our core gameplay as engaging and fun as possible,” he said. “We plan to increase the number of players for our pre-alpha launch in early 2023. We can’t wait to open the game to even more players for continued testing and feedback as we move toward commercial launch.”
Building a global team
The team is distributed across multiple countries and continents thanks to the fully remote studio culture.
“We believe the best games are developed from a diversity of perspectives that allow us to think about player needs from every angle and a culture where it’s safe to take risks and tackle challenges that are at the edge of one’s capabilities,” Schirch said. “Building a diverse, world-class team with unique perspectives and experiences to help us enhance the games we develop is a core priority for Playgig as we continue to scale.”
He said that ideas are common, but that skillful and rapid execution is rare, so the company hires great
people with a knack for getting things done and with the trait of resilience. The company is investing heavily in hiring developers to build its first game and original IP, Mystic Kingdoms. If you’re interested in joining, you can find open roles here.
Additionally, if you’re interested in signing up for the pre-alpha launch and staying up to date on the latest news, sign up for updates at Playgig.com.
“It is a privilege to support Playgig in realizing their ambitious vision of bringing cross-platform, free-to-play games to a broad market of gamers,” said Louis Gresham at March Gaming, in a statement. ‘The speed with which they have ‘found the fun’ and the power of the IP they’re building is a testament to their world-class team, composed of veterans who’ve led their respective disciplines at billion-dollar franchises. I can’t wait for the world to see what they’ve built, and I look forward to partnering with Bruno and the team as they continue to bring their vision to life.”
Asked how the game will be unique, Schirch said in an email to GamesBeat that Mystic Kingdoms, will be a cross-platform arena battler that departs from traditional MOBAs by packing the experience with action and depth, minimizing time-to-fun for players on every major platform and in every major geography, and making it easy to play and watch with friends.
“Our sense of the opportunity is that the active MOBA player market is huge, but the former- and future-MOBA player market is even larger. We’re building for the next generation of gamers who will graduate from Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite,” Schirch said. “Accessibility is also key to our ambition. Throughout the history of games, there’s been a repeated pattern of success when developers prioritize making it easier to get into deep game experiences. Examples include World of Warcraft, a big step forward in accessibility for MMOs; League of Legends, a huge leap for the MOBA genre; and Hearthstone, which opened up the TCG genre to millions of new players.”
And he said another key differentiator is that Playgig has attracted a senior leadership team with proven track records developing, growing, and operating several of the world’s most successful games including League of Legends, Call of Duty, Dungeons & Dragons, Apex Legends, Tony Hawk, Hearthstone, and more.
He noted that the the free-to-play market is mature and largely frictionless, and that’s where the company is focusing, not on Web3.
“We’re prioritizing broad accessibility and time-to-fun,” he said. “We’re looking to build a long-lasting community where players feel good when they spend money on premium content related to lifestyle and self-expression. We’re not prioritizing innovation in the business model for early adopters at this stage.”
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