BOULDER, Colo.–(COMMERCIAL WIRE)–Random Games, a new studio reinventing the gaming business through a combination of community empowerment and blockchain, has 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 Universe, a massive “community-owned franchise” that flips the script on the relationship between developer, player, and fan. The Universe will start with a series of video games, but unlike other franchises, the assets used to make those games will be available to other developers and the community royalty-free. Anyone can download and use Unioverse’s AAA-quality characters, artwork, models, music, and more to create their own games, comics, movies, lunchboxes, t-shirts, anything they can imagine. Plus, creators can sell what they make and keep the money.
“Imagine if Marvel released character art and 3D models and told fans to make, and benefit from, their fan movies and comics,” said Tony Harman, co-founder of Random Games. “That’s how big this idea is. We have a world-class team of writers, artists, and developers building Universe and we’re basically giving it away!
Random Games is co-founded by a couple of gaming industry veterans who bring a wealth of creativity and experience with global entertainment franchises. Harman previously led development and acquisition for Nintendo of America, releasing iconic hits like donkey kong country Y Murderous instinct; and has led several independent game studios responsible for the development of genre-defining franchises such as Grand Theft Auto Y Campaign. Random Games co-founder Wyeth Ridgway was the founder and CEO of Leviathan Games, which over the past two decades has worked with dozens of beloved franchises, including terminator, star trek, South ParkY pirates of the Caribbean.
Universe will use NFT as part of its journey to reinvent the gaming business. Players will purchase an NFT character avatar, which is used to access and play Universe games. Because these avatars are NFTs, players can keep or sell them as they wish, and the avatars will be interoperable across Unioverse games.
“We are very excited to support such a strong team and look forward to seeing them build a franchise that is literally changing the economics of gaming,” said investor Joe McCann, founder and CEO of Asymmetric. “At Universe, 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 Universe. Third-party developers can use royalty-free AAA-quality assets developed for Universe to create any type of game they want, and can sell those games royalty-free. Random Games will also expand the Universe by taking revenue from character avatar sales to establish a Game Developers Fund to fund third-party titles and also drive the creation of more assets and deeper lore for the Universe.
“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 Universe is poised to change the relationship between game developers and gamers in a way that benefits everyone involved.”
The Universe team is rounded out by an array of high-profile creative and executive talent from across the world of technology, entertainment and gaming. Paul Walborsky, who was previously the co-founder of AI.Reverie, Senior Vice President of The New York Times, and CEO of GigaOM, has joined as President of Random Games. The Universe narrative is being directed by Brent Friedman, who has written for such household names as Star Wars, star trekY Obligations. Visionary game designer David Jones has re-teamed with Harman as an investor and adviser to Universe. Harman and Jones previously founded the successful independent game studios DMA Designs (Grand Theft Auto) and real-time worlds (Campaign, Bulletin of all points) and nWay (acquired by Animoca Brands).
Random Games will use the new funding to expand its team, begin work on its first Universe games, and develop AAA-quality game assets freely available to the community. Those interested in being among the first to hear about Unioverse community news and activities can visit UNIOVERSE.com, follow @TheUniverse on Twitter and join the Universe Discord channel.
About random games
Random Games (https://random.games/) is a development studio spearheading an entirely new concept in video game and entertainment franchises through a combination of community empowerment and blockchain technology. The company’s first franchise, The Universeverse, is a sci-fi epic spanning video games, comics, novels and more. At the same time, the Unioverse community will be encouraged and equipped to create their own stories, games, and more with high-quality official artwork and other assets available as royalty-free downloads. To join the strong Universe community, visit the Universe Discord server.
About Resolute Ventures
Resolute Ventures (https://resolute.vc/) is a leading seed and pre-seed investor dedicated to forging connections with its community of founders who are brought together by shared tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit. As a community, Resolute is driven by a desire to work on impactful projects, mentoring startups from the start and providing support every step of the way. Its founders and partners have worked across 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 cryptocurrencies and Web3.