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Axie Infinity Raises $152M from a16z to Accelerate Play-to-Earn

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Sky Mavis, the developers of breakout game Axie Infinity, announces that it has successfully raised $152 million that will be used to build its global team, scale its infrastructure and build a distribution platform that game developers can use to create and distribute their blockchain games. The series B round is led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and participated by Accel and Paradigm. A16z previously invested in play-to-earn gaming group Yield Guild Games, which has more than 3,000 scholars playing Axie Infinity.

While the play-to-earn (P2E) model, which means literally playing the game and earning something from it, has been discussed for years now, Axie Infinity is the first game to have successfully implemented it. “Sky Mavis’ marquee game, Axie Infinity, has introduced a new way for anyone to turn their time into money through Play-to-Earn,” said Arianna Simpson, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. The game’s growth, she said, is a testament to how deeply this model resonated with people around the world. 

The latest data from Axie Infinity shows a 7.62% increase in in-game battlers (representing DAU – daily active users), and a monthly volume increase of 6.57%. As of October 4, 2021, there are 1,997,500 users. 

By playing and winning in-game, players are rewarded with the cryptocurrency SLP, which can be exchanged for cash through various off-ramp options. In its prime market –  the Philippines, some merchants and people are readily accepting SLP in exchange for their products and services. 

For a young startup with almost 2 million players, the issue has been with how to scale the game and how to ensure that it can handle an influx of players. This issue was addressed in the recent Axie Dev Chat with Co-founders Aleksander Larssen and Jeff Zirlin together with their Esports lead Andrew Campbell. 

Finally, as the leader in the play-to-earn space, Sky Mavis has demonstrated the possibility that players and developers can own the game and without having to rely on a middleman or third party platform to distribute the gaming experience. So the critical information in this recent press release is Sky Mavis’ re-affirmation of its commitment to utilize Mavis Hub, its gaming platform available on PCs and MACs that can be used by other game developers to build and distribute their blockchain-enabled games.

“In traditional gaming, the publishers and the distribution platforms (app stores) have all the power. Sky Mavis is seeking to cut out the middleman and further build out its vision of a community-led digital nation by revolutionizing how games are distributed by building its own platform, The Mavis Hub,” the press release noted. 

Axie Infinity exploded in popularity in the Philippines after a documentary narrated how a rural Filipino town was able to earn a living by playing the game amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prior to that, an article on Coindesk, which BitPinas expanded on, narrated how many Filipino players have discovered that their earnings can complement or even eclipsed their daily work salary. In a previous interview with BitPinas last December 2020, co-founder Jeff Zirlin saw the metaverse as where job seekers will shift their attention to, and this was accelerated by the current pandemic. “The pandemic has accelerated a shift in the nature of work. Many physical jobs have vanished. Digital work and contributions to blossoming blockchain ecosystems is becoming a new source of income and we saw this with the rise of play to earn.”

This article is published on BitPinas: Axie Infinity Raises $152M from A16Z to Accelerate Play-to-Earn

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