BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Random Games, a new studio reinventing the videogame business through a combination of community empowerment and blockchain, raised a $7.6 million seed round of funding. This multi-million-dollar round was co-led by Resolute Ventures and Asymmetric, with participation from IGNIA, 2 Punks Capital, ID345, Polygon and notable game-developer David Jones.
Random Games is creating the Unioverse, a massive “community-owned franchise” that flips the script on the relationship between developer, gamer and fan. The Unioverse will kick off with a series of videogames, but unlike any other franchises, the assets used to make those games will be made available to other developers and the community, royalty-free. The Unioverse AAA-quality characters, artwork, models, music and more can be downloaded and used by anyone to make their own games, comic books, movies, lunchboxes, T-shirts – whatever they can imagine. Plus, creators can sell whatever they make and keep the money.
“Imagine if Marvel released character art and 3D models and told fans to go make – and profit from – their fan films and comics,” said Tony Harman, Co-Founder of Random Games. “That’s how big this idea is. We have a team of world-class writers, artists and developers building the Unioverse and we are basically giving it away!”
Random Games is co-founded by a pair of gaming industry veterans that bring a wealth of creativity and experience with global entertainment franchises. Harman previously ran development and acquisition for Nintendo of America, launching iconic hits such as Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct; and has run multiple independent game studios responsible for developing such genre-defining franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown. Random Games Co-Founder, Wyeth Ridgway, was Founder and CEO of Leviathan Games, which over the past two decades has worked with dozens of beloved franchises including Terminator, Star Trek, South Park, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Unioverse will use NFTs as part of its path to reinventing the games business. Players will purchase an NFT character avatar, which is used to access and play Unioverse games. Because these avatars are NFTs, players can keep or sell them as they wish, and avatars will be interoperable across games in the Unioverse.
“We’re very excited to back such a strong team and are looking forward to watching them build a franchise that is literally changing the economics of gaming,” said investor Joe McCann, Founder and CEO of Asymmetric. “In the Unioverse, blockchain technology is organically and thoughtfully incorporated and will change the name of the game in the entertainment economy.”
In addition to fostering creativity in its community, Random Games is actively seeking independent studios of all sizes to develop games set in the Unioverse. Third-party developers can use the AAA-quality assets developed for the Unioverse royalty-free to make whatever type of game they want – and can sell those games without paying any royalties. Random Games will also expand the Unioverse by taking revenues from character avatar sales to both establish a Game Developer Fund to finance third-party titles, and also fuel the creation of more assets and deeper lore for the Unioverse.
“Rarely do you see a truly disruptive concept, cutting-edge technology and a stellar founding team converge in a single startup like this,” said investor Raanan Bar-Cohen, Co-Founder of Resolute Ventures. “The Unioverse is poised to change the relationship between game developers and players in a way that benefits everyone involved.”
The Unioverse team is rounded out by a number of high-profile executive and creative talents from across the tech, entertainment and gaming worlds. Paul Walborsky, who was previously Co-Founder of AI.Reverie, SVP at The New York Times and CEO at GigaOM, joined as Random Games' President. The Unioverse narrative is being led by Brent Friedman who has written for such household names such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Call of Duty. Visionary game designer David Jones has once again re-teamed with Harman as an investor in and advisor to the Unioverse. Harman and Jones previously founded hit-making independent game studios DMA Designs (Grand Theft Auto) and RealTime Worlds (Crackdown, All Points Bulletin) and nWay (acquired by Animoca Brands).
Random Games will use the new funding to expand its team, begin work on its first Unioverse games and develop AAA-quality game assets freely available to the community. Those interested in being among the first to learn about Unioverse news and community activities can visit UNIOVERSE.com, follow @TheUnioverse on Twitter and join the Unioverse Discord channel.
About Random Games
Random Games (https://random.games/) is a development studio spearheading an entirely new concept in videogames and franchise entertainment through a combination of community empowerment and blockchain technology. The company’s first franchise, The Unioverse, is a sci-fi epic that will span across videogames, comic books, novels and more. At the same time, the Unioverse community will be encouraged and equipped to create their own stories, games and more with official high-quality artwork and other assets available as royalty-free downloads. To join the robust Unioverse community, visit the Unioverse Discord server.
About Resolute Ventures
Resolute Ventures (https://resolute.vc/) is a lead seed and pre-seed investor dedicated to forging connections with its community of founders who bond over shared tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit. As a community, Resolute is driven by the desire to work on impactful projects, advising startups from the very beginning and providing support every step of the way. Its founders and partners have worked on a broad spectrum of companies, including AI Reverie, Automattic, Bark, Bitium, Opendoor (OPEN), and more.
Asymmetric (https://asymmetric.financial/) is a multi-strategy investment fund focused on early-stage venture and liquid investments in cryptocurrency and Web3.