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Sporting Crypto - April 11th 2022: GOALS Raise $15m Seed Round to Build Multiplayer Soccer Game
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Intro Notes, Plugs & Amendments 🔌🔧
Hey everyone, welcome back to another edition of the Sporting Crypto Newsletter.
This piece of content has become something I’ve quickly started to mould my week around. Which is frightening but also exciting.
That is one sentence that I’d also use to describe crypto!
🔌 The latest episode of the Floorcast went live last week!
This Week’s Deep Dive: GOALS raise $15m Seed Round to build multiplayer soccer game
Swedish startup GOALS have raised a $15m seed round to help build an alternative to EA’s FIFA video game series.
Their CEO and Co-Founder, Andreas Thorstensson, a former counterstrike pro turned entrepreneur, is well known in Gaming, E-Sports and Crypto.
That blend may well give GOALS the edge in what they’re trying to build.
The raise was led by Northzone and previous investors Cherry Ventures, Moonfire Ventures and Banana Capital. Several high-profile angels also participated, including FC Barcelona star Gerard Pique, Axie Infinity Co-Founder and COO Aleksander Larsen and Sorare Co-Founder Nicolas Julia.
So what exactly is GOALS?
GOALS is a play-and-earn game that allows users to own in-game assets as NFTs.
It’s being pitched as an Arcade-like football game with less realism than the likes of EA Sports’ FIFA, or Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (now eFootball).
Unlike Sorare and the likes of FIFA, they’re also choosing not to license real footballers or clubs due to costs, instead, concentrating resources on their team and game development.
So they’re sacrificing realism and licensing, for NFTs?
Another massive selling point for GOALS is community involvement. GOALS already has an 8000 person strong Discord community consistently giving feedback to their developers.
Unlike the incumbents, who they’re aiming to disrupt, GOALS is looking to move quickly and be community-oriented in the build of the game.
And when you combine community input with ownable in game items, things could get interesting.
GOALS will primarily be free-to-play, but have play-and-earn aspects to the game.
In short, you’ll be able to play for free, but you’ll also be able to buy in-game assets that are NFTs.
It’s no different to Fortnite, Warzone or FIFA - apart from this time the asset is yours and transportable.
“You have a huge incumbent in a monopoly position. They are not innovating in terms of gameplay. They’re focusing on revenues,”
“That’s where a startup has the chance to actually beat them. But we want to do things a little bit differently.”
To Andreas’ point - FIFA continue to increase revenues here.
But many may argue that the users haven’t had a fair say in how the game is developed.
Or, a fair share in the upside of the market that has been created.
Just how big is the market here?
A $15m seed raise seems huge.
It’s almost five times the amount that Footium raised last week, and it’s almost four times the amount Sorare raised in their seed round.
But games are expensive to make. They’re time and capital intensive, so it’s not a huge shock that GOALS have tried to give themselves as much runway as possible.
The large seed round also speaks to the possibilities here. Investors clearly see a world where Sports, gaming and NFTs intersect - and flourish. We’ve seen this with Sorare, Top Shots but also the greenfield likes of Footium and many others to come.
And I guess we don’t really know what this world will become, especially in gaming. N
In EA’s latest earnings report- they claimed that FIFA 21 has now reached over 25 million players and that 29% of their total revenue came from Ultimate Team…clocking in at $1.6bn.
Sorare went from monthly revenues of $50k to $13m in just over 12 months (Jan 2020-Feb 2021).
Epic Games recently revealed that Fortnite made $50m worth of their NFL skins.
3.2m skins were sold.
The market for sports games and in game assets is monstrous.
There’s really been greater demand.
So Why NFTs?
The main differentiator for GOALS is obviously the NFT aspect of the game.
If people are so ready to throw money at in-game assets, why not ones that they actually own, can transport and do what they want to with?
Gaming is case and point why NFTs will continue to exist, and flourish.
More and more of our time is being spent digitally.
A lot of people play games.
People want to own things online.
I’ll let you do the maths.
I don’t think NFTs will completely replace centralised digital assets like Fornite skins or Ultimate Team cards. There are lots of difficulties in creating the appropriate systems where incentives make sense for game devs to allow for interoperable/transportable items.
But they’ll have a role to play, for sure.
Games that are games first, but have NFTs as prizes, purchasable in-game, ownable assets will be the first to make their mark, in my opinion.
And I think GOALS fits into this category.
Perhaps in the future, interoperable digital items that are truly owned by users exist with incentive mechanisms we can’t quite wrap our heads around at present time.
But right now, the models that emerge where NFTs are part of the attraction, and not THE attraction will be the ones that are most successful and sustainable in this space.
I’m personally intrigued and excited to see what Andreas and the team build with the $15m seed round they’ve just raised.
More sports crypto stories & things to put on your radar
WAGMI United have acquired Crawley Town FC. I’ve written about them in the past and why I don’t think this will work out well. It will be interesting to see how their journey goes.
ESPN & Autograph, Tom Brady’s NFT company, have kicked off a multi-year partnership by releasing a collection of Brady’s career highlights.
Messari has dropped a great thread looking at Sorare and Top Shots, as well as some broader comments on Sports NFTs.
VaynerSports released the VaynerSports NFT pass. More on the following editions!
Crypto.com is paying Bitcoin bonuses to UFC fighters
Blockchain.com have hired Marissa Brooks to lead their Sports & Entertainment partnerships
FC Lorient fielded their starting XI with Common Sorare cards
It looks like Adidas are going to drop an NFT collection…
FTX are in talks to invest in indian gaming startup MPL. They have several popular video game titles and a popular fantasy cricket league product.
Great reads, great tweeting and more general ‘stuff’ that could impact you
Logan Paul starts a marketplace where you can own a fraction of a collectible.
NFTs are in the read only phase of their evolution. Great chart from Andrew.
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This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not financial or business advice. These are my thoughts & opinions and do not represent the opinions of any other business or entity.