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Summoners Arena, a GameFi role-playing game (RPG) developer in Vietnam, closed a $3 million funding round that was led by Pantera Capital and that counted Coinbase Ventures and Impossible Ventures as participants.

  • In an interview with CoinDesk, Zoe Hoang, Summoners Arena's chief marketing officer, said that the team is hoping to differentiate Summoners Arena from other entries in the genre by making it a game that people actually want to play, not just play-to-earn, calling her company's model "play-own-earn."
  • The team plans to use the proceeds to hire more staff and further develop the game by enhancing the graphics and adding support for virtual reality. It also plans to create a universe of other games with the same characters.
  • Hoang said that gaming is the “perfect use case” for NFTs (non-fungible tokens) because it can create a sense of ownership for gamers. When playing a game, gamers might "invest" dozens of hours of time, but before GameFi, there was no way for the gamers to claim ownership over their achievements.
  • Interest in gaming in Vietnam has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, with gamers primarily using their mobile phones or PCs. Consoles are pretty much nonexistent in the market because of their high cost and limited utility.
  • Using NFTs to represent ownership of achievements in the company's video games – and not just for speculation– is what caught the attention of Pantera Capital, Hoang said.
  • “By prioritizing building an amazing game first and layering in crypto-economics second, their play-own-earn model is setting a strong example for other projects in the space, learning lessons from early attempts at the play-to-earn model," Paul Veradittakit, a partner at Pantera Capital, said in a press release.
  • Although play-to-earn games are on shaky regulatory grounds in parts of Asia, Hoang said that the Vietnamese government hasn’t taken a position on crypto and existing laws haven’t caught up with the technology. Still, the government is meeting with stakeholders and has an open ear to their feedback on developing new laws.
  • GameFi tokens now have a $23 billion market cap, according to CoinGecko.


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