GAMES FUND ONE: Constructing the Way forward for Video games

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🚨 New fund alert! 🚨

(Sure, enterprise capital funds do drops now!)

At the moment, we’re proud to announce GAMES FUND ONE, a16z’s inaugural fund devoted to constructing the way forward for the video games trade. Having been buyers on this house for greater than a decade, it’s clear to us the trade has entered a brand new period, and there’s no higher time than now to construct a fund centered on supporting the subsequent technology of video games builders.

GAMES FUND ONE is based on the assumption that video games will play a pivotal function in defining how we socialize, play, and work over the subsequent century. Over the previous decade, video games have undergone a radical transformation, from merely being packaged leisure, to turning into on-line providers that extra carefully resemble social networks and scale like shopper expertise firms. Probably the most profitable video games at this time, comparable to Fortnite, League of Legends, and Minecraft, are communities that retain loyal, long-term customers and generate billions of {dollars} in annual income. Moreover, video games are additionally driving innovation throughout your complete shopper ecosystem, pioneering best-in-class mechanisms for person engagement, retention, and monetization, comparable to microtransactions, battle passes, and web3 tokens. And long run, we imagine video games infrastructure and applied sciences will likely be key constructing blocks of the Metaverse, a chance that dwarfs the present $300 billion sport trade itself.

With the $600M GAMES FUND ONE, we plan to spend money on the next themes:

  • Sport Studios: The very best video games at this time are frequently up to date on-line providers whose gamers type an integral a part of the sport by multiplayer and user-generated content material. These “games-as-a-service” have change into wealthy, interactive social networks, with gamers making in-game friendships which can be simply as significant as these made in-person.
  • Video games x Shopper: The speedy progress within the variety of players worldwide has created a thriving ecosystem of shopper apps to help them. As video games change into the dominant method folks spend time, we imagine among the most revolutionary shopper firms will likely be constructed round participant communities. (Social apps like Discord that assist players construct group, or platforms like Twitch the place hundreds of thousands tune in day by day to observe creators livestream video, are only a couple examples of this).
  • Infrastructure: As video games evolve into digital worlds and on-line providers, the demand for instruments and providers wanted to construct nice video games is skyrocketing. Not solely is that this infrastructure necessary for video games in its personal proper, we additionally imagine that the approaching Metaverse will likely be constructed by video games firms, utilizing video games applied sciences. From content material creation to multiplayer enablement to digital economic system administration and reside ops, the video games trade has already solved lots of the issues that must be solved to create the Metaverse.

However why create a devoted video games fund?

GAMES FUND ONE has been practically a decade within the making. Within the 2010s, a16z backed firms like Zynga and Oculus, which helped us construct our expertise with each sport studios and underlying video games applied sciences. Extra lately, we’ve invested throughout the ecosystem, backing veterans from established gamers like Riot Video games, CCP, and Epic Video games, in addition to from shopper tech startups that focus on players, like Z League and Sleeper. Alongside the best way, we have now additionally wager on rising applied sciences, like web3 and immediate video games and VR/AR.

All of this has cemented our perception that video games require a specialised focus–not simply in devoted investing capital, but in addition in operational prowess that’s as distinctive and forward-thinking because the video games trade itself.

At the moment, our video games portfolio firms are supported by a cross-functional crew of specialists from throughout the agency, lots of whom are themselves players—our companion Jon Lai even met his spouse whereas enjoying League of Legends!—and video games trade veterans from firms like Riot Video games, Twitch, EA, Tencent, and Oculus. These companions are devoted to working with portfolio firms and accelerating their time to success throughout core company-building features comparable to Go-To-Market, Advertising and marketing, Expertise, Folks Practices, Capital Networks, and extra. With GAMES FUND ONE, we’ll proceed so as to add extra features and develop deeper networks which can be tailor-made to the video games ecosystem so we may also help our portfolio firms with every little thing from constructing digital communities, to managing their digital economies, to IP licensing finest practices, to serving to construct their growth groups.

We’re proud to be joined on this fund by video games trade leaders and visionaries, together with David Baszucki, founding father of Roblox; Jason Citron, founding father of Discord; Marc Merrill, cofounder of Riot Video games; Mike Morhaime, cofounder of Blizzard; Aleks Larsen and Jeffrey Zirlin, cofounders of Sky Mavis; Kevin Lin, cofounder of Twitch, Mark Pincus, founding father of Zynga; and Riccardo Zacconi, founding father of King.

By way of GAMES FUND ONE, we’re reaffirming our dedication to the video games trade. For those who’re constructing, supporting, or partnering with the subsequent technology of video games, we need to hear from you. And we’re hiring too – on the funding crew, in advertising and marketing, government expertise, and partnerships!

Thanks!

Sport on,
Andrew (@andrewchen)
Jonathan (@tocelot)
James (@gwertz)

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