Azra Games Inc. will release its first non-fungible token collection at the end of the month, including a release of 5,555 tokens for free, for the online role-playing game Legions & Legends it is developing.
Sacramento-based gaming studio Azra Games is building blockchain-enabled games in which players own their characters and earn tokens as they play.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are unique digital assets such as artwork, whose ownership can be tracked with blockchain technology. NFTs can be traded and held as investments, with a rare few, such as some works by the artist Beeple, having sold for millions of dollars.
“The free release (of NFTs) creates a lot of attention,” said Ken Walton, vice president of growth at Azra. “We do believe these will become valuable in the secondary market.”
A lot of the early blockchain gaming companies essentially used their NFT mints as a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding mechanism to raise money, he said.
“We think that’s a mistake,” said Walton, who was a co-founder of KlickNation, the Sacramento region’s most successful gaming startup, just over a decade ago. It was sold to gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: EA) in 2011.
“We wanted to break the cycle and do something that gets attention,” Walton said, adding that the money collected from a mint of NFTs isn’t really enough to develop a major game.
Azra has other methods of funding. In May, the company raised $15 million in an investment round led by Andreessen Horowitz, one of the largest venture capital firms in the world.
Azra is developing immersive, multiplayer role-playing games linked with blockchain technology where the players own assets and can earn them. They can also pay for upgrades. And they can also trade or sell them.
With each NFT release, Azra will also release a small part of a game, but the first full game, Legions and Legends, won’t be released for about another 18 months.
The company will be releasing more parts of the game with every new NFT release. The free token release is a thank you to early fans, Walton said.
The NFTs will serve as unique profile pictures for players. They are also a free pass to any subsequent Azra release. The NFTs will allow owners to get a “surprise pack and access to a bunch of goodies,” Walton said.
Some of those goodies could include things like access to limited-edition weapons in the game.
“No one has released Play Forever Passes before. We think that will get a lot of attention,” Walton said, adding that the company has trademarked the term “Play Forever Pass.”
The first NFT collection, called The Hopeful, will be released on Magic Eden Sept. 28.
San Francisco-based Magic Eden is a 2021 startup that supports 90% of NFT gaming secondary trading volume, according to its website. Magic Eden provides a decentralized NFT marketplace to buy, sell and trade digital assets. It has raised $159.5 million, according to venture capital tracking site Crunchbase.
Azra’s NFTs are part of the company’s upcoming Legions & Legends sci-fi game, and they also will allow access to subsequent titles.
Azra launched in February, and has built up a team of 37 employees, many of them veteran game developers, led by CEO Mark Otero, co-founder of KlickNation.
When the full Legions & Legends launches, it will be accessible by mobile app for free and without the need for a user to have access to a digital wallet “for people who are not into crypto,” Walton said.
To get access to the NFT, players need to have a digital wallet, which is a key to accessing digital assets such as NFTs and cryptocurrency.
Want to stay ahead of who & what is next? The national Inno newsletter is your definitive first-look at the people, companies & ideas shaping and driving the U.S. innovation economy.


Write A Comment