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Prominent video game hardware and peripherals company Razer is now funding Web3 gaming projects through its new zVentures Web3 Incubator (ZW3I), the company announced Tuesday.
ZW3I aims to help bring Web3-enabled games to mainstream audiences, and will select developers for its incubator program who possess “a strong track record in creating successful games,” according to a statement.
Razer’s Director of Blockchain Lawrence Lin told Decrypt via email that the incubator will focus on providing marketing support, will incubate up to 36 projects, and will not exclude mobile games despite being a PC gaming-focused company.
Razer, which makes everything from laptops to headsets and gaming mice, said that first-generation Web3 games have failed to reach mainstream audiences. The company argues that more work needs to be done to explore and better understand gamers’ motivations and behaviors in order to move forward.
“Presently, numerous blockchain games prioritize the use of blockchain technology over creating an engaging and entertaining gameplay experience, leading to a dearth of player attraction and retention,” Lin told Decrypt.
“We believe that the foundation of any successful game (be it Web2 or Web3) is immersive and engaging gameplay,” he added.
Such sentiments echo what many other game developers are arguing—that early crypto games put too much focus on financials and not enough on appealing graphics or rich gameplay. Some in the fledgling Web3 gaming industry have rejected terms like “play-to-earn” and “GameFi” that emphasize financial gain alongside fun.
Many builders in the space believe that the next generation of Web3 games will be better able to reach traditional gamers by emphasizing compelling gameplay and satisfying social experiences over token rewards. Razer apparently aims to help with that.
Why does Razer’s Web3 push matter? Razer has significant brand recognition among mainstream gamers, giving it potential to help shape the future of Web3 gaming by exposing titles and developers to Razer’s audience of roughly 200 million gamers.
“The gaming experience is the most important aspect of any successful game launch. With blockchain technologies and support from companies with strong gaming knowledge, we are certain that Web3 will revolutionize this experience for all,” Lin said in a statement.
When asked about the amount of funds set aside for ZW3I, Lin said Razer is not able to disclose any financial information due to Razer being a private company. But it’s worth noting that zVentures was a $30 million fund when it launched in 2016.
While Razer’s venture capital interests are not new, the firm is doubling down on crypto and Web3. ZVentures has already invested in Web3 gaming firm Animoca Brands—the publisher of The Sandbox and investor in hundreds of Web3 startups—along with crypto platform Finblox and the DeFi firm Coinomo, to name a few.