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Crypto Raiders has raised $6 million in funding for its “play-to-own” role-playing game (RPG) with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The company is one of many blockchain game companies that are trying to combine high-quality games with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use the blockchain to authenticate unique digital items.

The Los Angeles company is making a dungeon crawler RPG with a retro art style. The game rewards players with randomized NFTs that they can keep, trade, or sell. That gives players a sense of true ownership for the items that they earn in the game.

“We look at the NFT space very early on and instantly fell in love with it,” said Nicholas Kneuper, CEO of Crypto Raiders, in an interview with GamesBeat. “After watching a lot of other projects come out with these really cool ideas, we thought there was a huge opportunity in the NFT gaming space to create just a really fun RPG game. Like a Runescape style or a World of Warcraft style game.”

He added, “We just think the use case for NFTs is so strong with all the items you get in games and the assets that you own as you’re playing the game. And so we launched it in June of last year. And we’ve just been quietly in stealth mode, shipping new content, new updates, new dungeons, all sorts of new features to the game like player-versus-player (PvP).”

About four months ago, interest starting picking up in the game, as people noticed how much content the team was building, said Kneuper. The game has thousands of players now, with no real spending on user acquisition. That traction enabled the company to raise its money.

“It’s going to allow us to really scale up the team and just keep building this awesome game,” he said.

Investment

A Halloween look for Crypto Raiders.

DeFiance Capital and Delphi Digital led the round with participation from GuildFi, Merit Circle, Three Arrows Capital, Yield Guild Games and others.

Crypto Raiders is creating a more accessible NFT market through an interactive, ever-changing gaming landscape. Built on transparency, Crypto Raiders is creating an engaged community of players unified by trust, collaboration, and ultimately, the blockchain. The team still considers its game to be in alpha testing, with just thousands of players.

NFT games have been a flashpoint for hardcore gamers in the West and some developers too. They worry about scams, crappy games, environmental damage of blockchain computing, and pyramid schemes. But Kneuper said the people who are in the community are already playing the game and enjoying it.

And his game is attracting younger people who evidently don’t mind experimenting. The game’s Discord channel has more than 20,000 members. The development team has 22 people.

“There are a lot of gamers out there that like don’t want to hop into NFT games. And I think that’s for a variety of reasons. I think some of them think that the games aren’t that interesting, right? Or maybe not that fun. I think a lot of people are also like concerned about how you have to spend $500 to be able to play the game. That’s kind of ridiculous,” Kneuper said. “Our number one focus is making the game very accessible for all players.”

Retro style

Crypto Raiders is an NFT dungeon crawler.

The classic retro style is aimed to appeal to gamers of every generation. The company hopes its network of dungeons and dangerous mobs keeps players coming back.

The enemies in the games are called “mobs.” And if a mob kills a “crypto raider,” players can lose or gain loot, said David Titarenco, cofounder, in an interview. The mob that kills a raider gets a certain percentage of the loot.

The game has PvP tournaments that happen on a daily basis. Players level up their characters and eventually sell them for a profit, Kneuper said. If players get tired of a character or a weapon, they can sell it to a merchant and recover some of their investment.

Right now, the team is porting the game over from a web-based browser to Unity. And they will issue a number of updates coming out in the next three to four months. There will be more complex battles and player-versus-environment combat. After that comes out, the company could do more marketing for the game.

Over time the company hopes to target iOS and Android — once those platforms figure out what they’re doing with blockchain games. The company also hopes to get published on the Epic Games Store.

“Epic Games has been very welcoming of blockchain games,” he said.

Kneuper, Titarenco and Matt Powell cofounded Crypto Raiders because they saw a gap in the global NFT market. The trio didn’t find an NFT game that they wanted to play but understood the ability of gaming to grant easy access to the NFT market. So they decided to build their own game. The capital will enable Crypto Raiders to expand the development of the game’s art, music and narrative teams to create a better player experience.

“Community-driven crypto native games are few and far between. However we believe that the team behind Crypto Raiders have pioneered a different approach to blockchain gaming — one with the hearts and minds of the community placed first,” said Arthur Cheong, founding partner of DeFiance Capital, in a statement. “DeFiance Capital is delighted to be able to support Crypto Raiders in its journey to become a full-fledged play-to-own game built on Polygon.”

Merging worlds and finding the right fans

Crypto Raiders has special events.

Built to meld the gaming and crypto worlds, Crypto Raiders makes NFTs accessible for everyone. Its “play-to-own” model makes it possible for players to truly own their game.

“Delphi Ventures is pleased to announce an investment in Crypto Raiders. Crypto Raiders has taken an innovative path in building a Web3 dungeon crawler and RPG experience that players truly enjoy while also providing avenues for players to ‘play-to- own’. Along the way, they’ve managed to build out a loyal community,” said Ryan Foo from Delphi Ventures. “They also have successfully integrated various primitives from DeFi and NFTs, and continue to ship at a breakneck pace. We are excited to be able to support them in this journey, and can’t wait to send our Raiders into increasingly challenging tournaments, raids and battles.”

Players have the ability to buy characters and mobs, go on missions, build teams in a virtual universe all while discovering NFTs they then own. Crypto Raiders is built on the Polygon blockchain, and all NFT loot is randomized, ensuring that the value of all discovered loot is random as well.

As noted by John Osvald of Gala Games, a lot of blockchain games can become profitable on a smaller base of players than free-to-play games because of the strong interest in owning NFTs. Players pay for them and that helps make a game profitable more quickly, as 98% of the players in free-to-play games pay nothing at all. And so free-to-play games need a base of millions upon millions of players to become sustainable.

Games like Axie Infinity are the breakout hits of the space, but even that game from Sky Mavis only has about 1.8 million daily players.

“The players we currently have are early adopters, and they are really excited about what the game can become,” Kneuper said. “And we feel confident with this investment deal and the new features that will be added shortly into the game that we’re gonna see some really explosive growth. But you are right. It’s not a typical game in that there is a lot of money being thrown at” user acquisition spending.

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