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Guild of Guardians, a mobile squad-based action role-playing game that uses Web3 technology, has teamed up with eight esports organizations.
The game is being published by Immutable Games Studio and was developed by Stepico Games. Today, the companies are announcing a multi-year partnership with eight of the world’s biggest and most prominent professional esports organizations.
Together, the partners will build the future of Web3 gaming and digital entertainment and open Guild of Guardians pre-registration to the largest esports communities around the world.
Under the partnership, esports household names, including Cloud9, Fnatic, Navi, Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG, SK Gaming, T1, and Team Liquid will join the fantasy world of Guild of Guardians. Their esports brands will be full-fledged playable characters.
These characters will be tradable as digital collectibles on the fully carbon neutral scaling solution, Immutable X. Guild of Guardian’s unprecedented partnership with the world’s leading esports teams will help expose millions of their fans — in addition to over 250,000 already pre-registered players — to the future of web3 gaming.
“This is an incredible opportunity to team up with some of the most prominent and recognizable names in the professional esports space,” said Derek Lau, vice president and game director for Guild of Guardians, in a statement. “GOG is a mobile team RPG which is built for players and designed as a highly accessible game, making it the perfect gateway into the world of Web3 for all players.”
Esports enthusiasts will be able to support their favorite teams and players in new and meaningful ways, by representing their favorite team in-game, via digital assets. With true digital ownership, fans will be able to create, own, and trade their digital assets, in addition to competing against others to earn rewards.
Five of GOG’s partner organizations are among the top 10 most valuable esports teams in 2022, according to Forbes, and combined, the eight participants have a valuation of nearly $2 billion.
Similarly, the organizations have massive and active fan communities on their social media platforms, bringing together millions of esports enthusiasts. On Twitter alone, the teams are followed by more than 6.3 million users combined.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Guild of Guardians in what we believe to be a hugely symbiotic relationship for both our industries – gaming and esports. We firmly believe that esport brand integration into games is the future, enabling closer interactions between fans and teams,” Pietro Fringuelli, chairman of the executive board of The World Esports Association (WESA), in a statement. “We’re excited by the notion of digital ownership and the ability to earn and trade in-game characters.”
WESA includes five of the participating teams and has been chosen to develop a new commercial model for a unique landmark cooperation with a publisher. This announcement comes in line with persistent growth in the popularity of esports, which boasts an estimated global revenue of $1.3 billion in 2022.
Immutable, the company behind Guild of Guardians, also has a proven track record in the Web3 gaming sector, having raised $200 million in a funding round last March.
I asked Lau if this was tantamount to an esports league.
In an email, he replied, “Not exactly. This is a partnership to introduce eight popular esports teams into the Guild of Guardians world itself. Each esports team will be represented as a unique playable character, allowing fans to both literally support their favorite franchises as well as represent them in-game. These esport-branded NFTs may also grant users access to special events, rewards, and prizes, including exclusive “early adopter” editions of characters, leaderboard competitions, special events and collaborations between esport teams and their influencers, and so on.”
He noted that in terms of partnerships, this is one of the largest Web3/esports partnerships that has ever been done.
“We believe that the landmark partnership between GOG and major esports IPs is significant because it represents a fundamental shift in how publishers and esport teams work together,” Lau said. “Historically, esport teams bring a massive audience and attention to games but don’t actually get paid by the game publishers. We are experimenting with a new approach, where both GOG and the esport organisations are focused on a long-term, win-win partnership where both the game and the teams share the upside of success.”
This is just the beginning of a gaming esports IP integration where incentives are aligned; the long-term vision is to create a win-win cycle where GOG is making both the teams and their fans more successful, Lau said.
The first step in the roadmap was to launch a pre-alpha demo. Despite not having actual blockchain integration yet, and only some of the planned content, it has given players a chance to learn the feel and basics of the title before anything permanent goes live. This has been released already with a positive reception by about 20,000 players, many of whom were new to Web3 games, Lau said.
“The next phase is the Alpha launch. This is a functionally complete version of the game that isn’t yet polished but will allow us to test the core gameplay and economy in a safe space with a wider audience,” Lau said.
Following that is the beta launch. Now, the blockchain component will live and there will be a true digital economy, and the core gameplay will be more robust and polished. After this, the game will be globally available and will continue to operate as a live services game with new content and game modes.
Guild Of Guardians started talking to the esports teams last year and only decided to work together after careful collaboration and alignment over a nine-month discussion period.