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Fenix Games has raised $150 million to build a new breed of blockchain gaming publisher.
The idea is to create a publisher and platform company that will play a key role in bringing blockchain games to market. Fenix Games intends to acquire, invest in and publish both existing games and future blockchain games.
Investors include Phoenix Group and Cypher Capital. The new company suggests that blockchain gaming — which has been going through something of a Cambrian explosion in recent years — is headed for a consolidation where larger companies emerge by acquiring or funding all the stronger startups. In other words, Fenix Games hopes to be in a good position to roll many companies together into one strong company with a large portfolio – one that can survive the current doldrums in the blockchain game.
“You can think of us as a venture capital fund,” said Chris Ko, CEO and co-founder of Fenix Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “The market is the same as before [mobile gaming at the rise of free-to-play games] But it has yet to find its own Clash of Clans for blockchain game. We use the VC arm to fund the next generation of games. We’re starting with a really big capital base to invest in those studios. We want to use our balance sheet to buy some existing games in the Web2 space to expand the portfolio. And that will be the perfect basis for our portfolio.”
Chris Ko is the CEO of Fenix Games.
Historically, there have been participants in the gaming industry that provided a market or platform for both
gamers and game developers. Consoles included platforms such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. And for mobile, the platforms are Apple and Google.
In both cases, an entire market was created and this led to an ecosystem to facilitate the consumption of the content. However, for blockchain gaming, this market does not currently exist, Ko said. The company was founded by a group of veterans from the gaming, blockchain and financial markets.
“We intend to acquire, invest in, publish and operate select case games and studios,” said Ko. “We will have a few hundred million to execute our strategy.”
The chains represent a potential platform similar to previous game cycles, but at this stage the focus is not on creating a market for gamers, Ko said.
“We think this is temporary as the most important apps in the chain will be gaming,” said Ko. “The infrastructure, tools and support are simply not there. We believe there is an opportunity to elevate our role in the gaming ecosystem to that of publishing.
Matt Nutt is the COO of Fenix Games.
More veteran game developers are expanding into blockchain gaming, especially in the wake of Apple’s privacy push in mobile games. But Fenix Games believes that a very limited set of games have been developed for the blockchain platform so far.
“We believe there is a structural gap – we are aiming to fill this gap with a redefined publishing group leveraging some of the traditional publishing functions, but with a new function,” said Ko. “Just as mobile free-to-play games blended analytics and product management functions to launch, scale and operate live services, we believe blockchain will see a similar ‘blending’ of gaming features.”
Fenix Games seeks to combine its people’s skills in game publishing and product management, as well as functions that are part of product management, but with themes and capabilities from financial services, primarily wealth management.
The combination of these disciplines is what the company calls the game market economy. In its simplest terms, it will create the market for the game or games to maximize the potential players for the game. An important function of game market economies will be to measure community before games are launched.
Antonio Hallack is co-founder, CIO and CTO of Fenix Games.
Similar to the work of Live Operations, which is made to sustain a game for years after launch, Fenix Games believes that the economics of the game market play a vital role in the months and even years leading up to launch of the game. Will Perform This activity is necessary to fill the gap being filled by the platform owners.
“It’s a bit of a roll-up, but it’s also investing,” Ko said.
Fenix Games will focus on the marriage of the game market economy and live operations to provide publishing services for all game models – premium, free-to-play and blockchain gaming across all platforms.
“I see a huge gap right now with different developers experimenting with game infrastructure, middleware and so on. No one really fills the role of a publisher trying to figure out how to successfully market. Go,” Kevin said. “By taking a publishing approach, we separate ourselves from technologies. We play Switzerland when it comes to technology and we minimize risk.
In addition to raising its own funds, Fenix Games also gains access to allies among investors with large amounts of capital – in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ko said that Fenix Games is a next-generation game publisher that will enable the transition of the next billion gamers to a blockchain-integrated future. While traditional Web2 games have mature distribution platforms and markets that bring together billions of players and developers, Web3 lacks the infrastructure, tools, and support to facilitate mass adoption.
As more and more quality developers adopt blockchain technology and design principles, Ko said the company sees an opportunity for publishers to increase its value in game design, go-to-market and operation.
“And what this means is we’re not tied to one technology, we’re not tied to one ecosystem,” Ko said.
Ko previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Legendary Games. He has nearly 20 years of gaming experience and has held general manager positions at Electronic Arts and Kabam. Prior to that, he was a portfolio manager at BlackRock and an equity research analyst at JP Morgan.
Other co-founders of Fenix Games include Rudy Koch, chief business officer and co-founder of Mythical Games. Koch has over 15 years of game development experience and has worked on some of the biggest names in the industry: Club Penguin, Call of Duty, Skylanders, and World of Warcraft.
Rudy Koch is Chief Business Development Officer at Fenix Games.
Antonio Hallack is CIO/CTO and co-founder. Hallack was previously Global Head of Electronic Trading at Credit Suisse; Head of Prop Trading, Market Making, CTO and other senior roles in IB (Citi, Merrill, Goldman, Salomon Smith Barney, Bridgewater, etc). He has been involved in prop trading, market maker and wealth management in the crypto markets since 2017.
Matt Nutt is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Fenix Games. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer and Head of Games at Mythical Games. Prior to joining Mythical, he was Vice President and Group General Manager of EA Mobile. He previously oversaw studios at Glu Mobile, ran indie studio C Games (and sold Glu for $100 million in 2014), and held management positions at Blizzard Entertainment and Square Enix in business development roles.
“All four of us are moving forward for the company to expand from our previous incarnations into what we call “blockchain gaming markets,” said Ko.
And a happy Thanksgiving to you all.
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