‘Animal Crossing Meets Minecraft’: Branch Raises $12.5M for Play-to-Earn Project

Mechanism Play, Dragonfly, Polychain and Coinbase Ventures were all participants in the game’s seed round.

May 11, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2022 at 3:24 p.m. UTC

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

Gaming startup Branch has raised a $12.5 million seed round to build a play-to-earn game that keeps the crypto out of sight, the company announced Wednesday.

Participants in the round include Mechanism Play, TCG Crypto, Dragonfly Capital, Polychain, Coinbase Ventures, Three Arrows Capital and Polygon Studios CEO Ryan Wyatt, among others.

Branch co-founder Dayton Mills calls the game “Animal Crossing meets Minecraft with a bit of Runescape,” taking popular mechanics from various titles in the nascent non-fungible token (NFT) gaming sector and combining them into one browser-based, free-to-play experience.

“I can’t think of anything similar in the play-to-earn space because most play-to-earn games require you to buy an NFT upfront to play them,” Mills told CoinDesk in an interview. “But in our world, it's very much designed so that you may not ever even know what an NFT is.”

The gameplay itself will be based around islands that users can own as NFTs, each with a different composite of virtual resources. The resources can be crafted into usable items or structures within the world of the game, with the “earn” component of its play-to-earn label coming from users paying each other to harvest the materials for them, or reselling said items as NFTs on secondary marketplaces.

Mills believes the game will attract multiple demographics from the global play-to-earn player base, ranging from U.S.-based users looking to invest in virtual real estate to Axie Infinity-type players looking to grind an income, as well as the casual gamers just playing for fun.

The Seattle-based startup’s approach of keeping the crypto out of sight could also be a strategic one, possibly avoiding the backlash that has become inseparable from NFT-based games and their accompanying narratives.

Branch says the full release of its game is slated for some time in the summer, with the final product ideally being built out week-by-week with close participation from its community.


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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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