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Random Games, a game studio focused on its community-owned franchise Unioverse, unveiled Reyu Genesis, its first collection of Hero non-fungible tokens.

Based on the story of the Unioverse, Reyu is a Ja’Din warrior and one of the main characters in the sci-fi franchise.

Each Hero NFT will be unique across dozens of visual parameters. The NFT provides real utility by granting holders access to forthcoming Unioverse games. The company will release 20,000 unique Reyu Genesis Hero NFTs available across different rarities, each one a fully-rendered 3D game-ready character. Eleven of the most rare Reyus will comprise the Pinnacle Collection.

“Our community is the bedrock of the Unioverse, and we are eternally grateful to the early adopters who have been actively engaged in our community and following along with our development,” said Tony Harman, CEO of Random Games, in a statement. “Giving away this Reyu Genesis Hero NFT collection is our way of saying thank you, and get ready for all the great things ahead.”

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The Reyu Genesis Hero NFT mint will be free on Ethereum for those who have been collecting Unioverse collectibles and earned Protens, the Unioverse equivalent of loyalty points. In the lore of the Unioverse, Protens are the energy source that powers all of the alien technology.

In the real world, Protens are earned by collecting the free Unioverse collectible NFTs. The more Unioverse collectibles held, and the longer they are held, the more Protens a community member can earn. With enough Protens, community members can redeem them for other digital assets such as the Reyu Genesis Hero NFT.

3D Unioverse Hero NFTs offer real utility

Reyu is part of the latest collection at Unioverse.

Owning a Unioverse Hero NFT will provide access to all forthcoming Unioverse games, with the ability to play as that character across different types of games. The Unioverse viewer allows users to browse thousands of unique next-generation, fully-rendered 3D Unioverse Heroes across all rarities— and includes manual controls to spin, tilt, pan and zoom in to inspect every little detail of the NFTs.

The company said the Unioverse community gained significant traction since Q4 2022. It is No. 6 in sales volume across all blockchains on Opensea. About 820,000+ collectible NFTs have been claimed. There are about 104,000 unique NFT owners on OpenSea and 130,000 registered Unioverse accounts. The Discord has grown 70% in the past month to 24,000.

The Boulder, Colorado-based company has more than 30 employees. The development team includes storytellers, writers, comic book artists who have worked on everything from Star Wars and Star Trek to South Park and the Walking Dead.

Random Games raised a $7.6 million seed round co-led by Resolute Ventures and Asymmetric, with participation from Ignia, 2 Punks Capital, ID345, Polygon and renowned game-developer David Jones. the company was started in 2021.

“My cofounder Wyeth Ridgway, who is the CTO, and I have been in the gaming industry for decades,” said Harman, in an email to GamesBeat. “I started my career at Nintendo and have always innovated – from creating early console games to massively multi-player and even mobile games – and worked on hits like Donkey Kong Country and Grand Theft Auto, and APB, the one of the first user-generated content games.”

He added, “Wyeth has 30 years of experience at the forefront of game design and engineering. He’s worked on games and major licenses including Pirates of the Caribbean, MLB, The Terminator, Lord of the Rings and South Park. We both saw an opportunity to marry our love for user-generated content with blockchain and NFT technology to fix a broken business model. The current game business is rigged so that the majority of revenue goes to stores in a massive transaction fee, as well as user acquisition, to work your way up the charts to even be noticed in these stores.”

He said the company is using NFTs, and smart contracts specifically, to generate revenue that goes back into the game and content development. It’s a virtuous circle of better games and content, which keeps the community more engaged and entertained and hungry for fresh content, he said.

“With the Unioverse, our first franchise, we’re giving away millions of dollars worth of triple-A-quality assets to the community and independent game developers. They can then use these assets for their own projects. It’s like Disney opening up Star Wars so the community can make their own derivative products with no licensing fees,” Harman said.

I asked what the company thinks about the negative reputation of blockchain games among Western gamers.

“The criticisms are valid, as thus far the NFTs have been more of an afterthought than thoughtfully incorporated into the gaming experience,” said Ridgway, in an email to GamesBeat. “Both the founders of Random Games are decades-long veterans of the gaming industry, so we are approaching this from a gamer-first perspective. We are laser-focused on making this a world-class entertainment franchise that will only get better, not just a flash-in-the-pan money-making scheme. We listen to and understand what the community wants, and have actually given away the Unioverse assets with a very unique Community License that allows creators to use triple-quality artwork in their own projects for free.”

Ridgway added, “We designed our Hero NFTs with real utility to support our games — they are the admission ticket to all the content and games in the Unioverse. Also, our business model is geared toward constantly improving the game experience. The status quo in the game industry is that a lion’s share of the revenue is going toward paying gatekeepers (like Apple, Google, Steem) or marketing for user acquisition. Instead, we are using NFTs to fix this by dedicating 50% of NFT revenue to a Game Developers Fund. This fund will finance indie developers who are interested in making new and better Unioverse games.”

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