Might & Magic creator raises $7.5M for original blockchain games

GamesBeat Summit 2022 returns with its biggest event for gaming leaders April 26-28. Reserve your place here!


Digital Insight Games has raised $7.5 million to create original blockchain games. It is run by Jon Van Caneghem, the creator of Might & Magic and Heroes of Might & Magic.

Hivemind Capital and Griffin Gaming Partners led the investment in the Los Angeles company, which was co-founded by former Tencent executive Jack Sheng. Sheng and Van Caneghem serve as co-CEOs.

They haven’t said what they’re doing yet, but Van Caneghem said they hope to pioneer web 3 and blockchain technology used in fun and original games.

Other investors include The Hunt Technology Ventures, RSE Ventures and Signum Growth Investments.

In an interview, Van Caneghem said he was pleased that DIG is partnering with experienced investors who believe the vision of Web 3 will be key to the next generation of gaming. I asked him what he thought of the resistance of hardcore gamers in the West to blockchain games, which gamers see as bullshit, a scam, and an environmental waste.

Van Caneghem acknowledges that a lot of people are upset about NFTs because the early games were “financially focused, where it was all about how to make money by the hour.”

Instead of promising you’ll make a lot of money, he thinks more realistic arguments are needed, like comparing owning digital items to selling your used games to GameStop when you’re done playing them in order to make money. for the next game.

“Back in the days of World of Warcraft, players had to do that under the table,” he said. “I think blockchain is a positive for the gaming community and consumers in the long run, instead of spending $50,000 to play this game. Going back to mobile gaming, things were dire. It took the game community a while to figure out a good mechanic. And today, people spend thousands of dollars on Fortnite skins and no one thinks twice.

Van Caneghem said that he studied blockchain games for a while and believes that people will be able to create high-quality blockchain games as long as they remember all the lessons of quality game design. He said the resistance to blockchain gaming reminds him of the early days of free-to-play gaming, which came to dominate the gaming business.

“This whole transition to digital asset ownership and blockchain gaming is very exciting,” he said. “It’s a similar kind of transformation when we go from regular games to free games. Back then, the industry was completely against it, where people said you were going to ruin the industry. And now it turns out that thanks to free-to-play we have 10 times more players and all kinds of new giant and fantastic companies and games to play.

The founders worked together before, most recently on Tencent’s major North American R&D studios and international partnerships and investments.

“Innovation and gameplay have always been my focus in game development, and as digital asset ownership becomes accessible to everyone, the time has finally come to create games that allow players to own, buy, sell, exchange, collect and have control of their digital assets,” he said.

In gaming, Van Caneghem is best known as the creator of Might and Magic and the Heroes of Might and Magic series, and that has earned him Hall of Fame status.

big ambitions

Might & Magic X: Legacy brings back the feel of older RPGs, and not in a good way.

In a statement, Sheng said: “Video game company business models are poised to change in major ways in the coming years, with real-world economies poised to merge with the digital gaming economy. DIG aims to stay ahead of the curve while staying focused on the underlying core/intrinsic value to the community, which is to create a fun and enjoyable web 3 gaming experience.”

My Warzone partner offered a quote on the Digital Insight Games team.

“We are thrilled to partner with JVC and Jack on their vision to create the next generation of engaging triple-A games, powered by next-generation Web3 technologies,” Anthony Palma, partner at Griffin Gaming Partners, said in a statement. “They and their team of gaming industry veterans have unparalleled experience building great studios and great games, and we’re excited to help them push them forward.”

The company aims to build the world’s leading triple-A web 3 metaverse experience, with a user-friendly technology platform for in-game digital economies using blockchain and NFT technology.

The company is pioneering a Games as a Service (GaaS) 2.0 roadmap, and aspires to be an industry leader in free-to-play 2.0, GaaS/live service 2.0, online marketplaces, and NFT/blockchain gaming .

Van Caneghem said he has about a dozen people on board. The team includes veterans from companies such as Take-Two (Jon Horsley, director of development), NX3 Games (Won Chung, director of operations), Crystal Dynamics (Eric Lindstrom, creative director), and Electronic Arts (Jay Lee, chief technology officer). . official).

Members of the broader team have worked on big-name franchises like Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Command and Conquer, Rock Band, Borderlands, and more. The team is spread across locations in Vancouver (Canada), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin and New York. And he’s hiring. For inquiries, please send a message to [email protected]

a long run

Digital Insight Games was started by Jon Van Caneghem and Jack Sheng.

Van Caneghem has been involved in many game companies, starting with New World Computing where he created Might & Magic and Heroes of Might & Magic Games. He was around 20 years old when he started that. He sold that company to 3DO in 1996, and I ran into him when he started Trion Worlds, which created ambitious massively multiplayer online games like Rift.

“I was proud of the games we made as Rift,” he said.

He also ran studios creating free-to-play games for Electronic Arts, and later went on to create mobile games for Tencent, where he met Sheng.

While he enjoyed working with Tencent, Van Caneghem said he has more freedom to explore innovations like blockchain and NFT in a startup.

“For all the years I’ve made games, everyone wanted to have the characters and their items,” Van Caneghem said.

Van Caneghem has always viewed gaming as a hobby.

“If you have a hobby. Why would you stop people from spending more than $15 or $50, right? If I told someone who plays golf that they can only spend $50, they wouldn’t be happy because that’s what they do all day,” she said.

He added: “I noticed that when games became people’s lives, they were all day playing with their friends or family, they wanted avenues to spend, do more things and have more items, and whatever it was, skins or characters or whatever, there was was an avenue for people who want more. And we as publishers weren’t really providing it to them.”

As free-to-play games took off in Asia, Van Caneghem tried to get his former companies to adopt them, with limited success.

Fissure

“I’ve always been a, you know, watching when big trends change. And as a game designer, as well as an entrepreneur, those are exciting times for me,” he said. “And now I’m looking at blockchain and digital property. In the past, players had no way to trade and sell these things to each other legally or safely. So I think that’s very positive. And then I look at blockchain and smart contracts, I’m really excited to see that we create smart game design to take advantage of all of this.”

Van Caneghem believes that those who believe in user-generated content will benefit from blockchain gaming and discover new ways to allow gamers to express their creativity.

“I play a lot of these survival games and a lot of these craft games, and I’m amazed at the thousands of hours some people put into these beautiful creations,” Van Caneghem said. “Now you are constantly working with the community. And I think this also allows players to be a part of the future development of the game.”

Van Caneghem acknowledges that a lot of people are upset about NFTs because the early games were “financially focused, where it was all about how to make money by the hour.”

Instead of promising you’ll make a lot of money, he thinks more realistic arguments are needed, like comparing owning digital items to selling your used games to GameStop when you’re done playing them in order to make money. for the next game.

“Back in the days of World of Warcraft, players had to do that under the table,” he said. “I think blockchain is a positive for the gaming community and consumers in the long run, instead of spending $50,000 to play this game. Going back to mobile gaming, things were dire. It took the game community a while to figure out a good mechanic. And today, people spend thousands of dollars on Fortnite skins and no one thinks twice.

Over time, the competition will lead to better blockchain games. If we have two quality games on the market, and one offers the ability to own your own stuff and the other doesn’t, it will be easy to see which gets more adoption, he said.

“Maybe some of the bigger publishers won’t want to adopt it because it’s taking money from them,” he said. “But the players are going to negotiate with each other. And that’s the revenue the company could have made by selling everything one way to gamers. But that will be interrupted as the new paradigm arrives.”

The GamesBeat Creed covering the games industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how news matters to you, not only as a decision maker at a game studio, but also as a gamer. Whether you’re reading our articles, listening to our podcasts, or watching our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy being involved. Learn more about membership.

Leave a Comment