Binance Labs, the venture capital and incubation arm of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has announced a $15 million investment in blockchain game publisher Xterio. Xterio describes itself as a developer and publisher of „Free-to-Play-and-Own“ games, which means it adopts the prevalent free-to-play gaming model but also allows players to earn NFTs (non-fungible tokens) by playing its games.
According to the company’s website, Xterio believes that blockchain technology enhances the gaming experience and player accountability is a central aspect of each Xterio game. Currently, the startup is supporting the development of 11 games. These games range from mobile Japanese role-playing games (RPGs) like Blackdawn to massively multiplayer online (MMO) PC games like Blocklords and the RPG Abyss World.
Xterio seems to be taking a multi-chain approach to blockchain gaming, as it will simultaneously release Blocklords‘ crypto elements on Polygon. Recently, Xterio has also set its sights on the Sui Blockchain for their newly introduced game Abyss World.
Xterio has stated that it will use the funds for game and technology development, as well as exploring potential integrations of artificial intelligence (AI) into its titles. Binance Labs highlighted that Xterio is currently developing an „Emotions Engine for Artificial Intelligence“ and its AI toolkit aims to generate 2D and 3D game resources for developers. The startup also utilizes its AI technology to develop the AI companion game AIpal, which is set to launch a closed beta later this year.
Last August, Xterio raised $40 million in funding from investors such as FunPlus, XPLA, and the now-dissolved FTX Ventures. At the beginning of the year, Xterio itself invested $2.5 million in Overworld, a multiplayer RPG game studio led by Xterio co-founder Jeremy Horn, which is developing its own titular game.
„The investment from Binance Labs enhances our ability to bring a transformative ecosystem token and high-quality games to the market,“ said Michael Tong, co-founder of Xterio, in a statement.
When asked if crypto gaming is a primary focus for Binance Labs, a spokesperson from Decrypt stated that the company believes blockchain gaming is a key area of application layers.
Although Binance itself is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers various tokens, its own BUSD stablecoin, and the BNB token, Binance Labs stated that its investments are chain- and sector-agnostic.
Binance Labs also mentioned that it supports traditional game developers and studios in entering the blockchain gaming space, citing its investments in game studios Gomble and Xterio.