AI-powered Web3 gaming platform Ultiverse raises $4M

AI-powered gaming platform Ultiverse has raised $4 million through a private token sale to enable Web3 game production and publishing.

IDG Capital led the round with additional funding from Animoca Brands, Polygon Ventures, MorningStar Ventures, Jacob Ko (partner at Superscrypt), Taiko, ZetaChain, Manta Network and DWF Ventures. This funding brings Ultiverse’s valuation to $150 million.

“The capital allows us to accelerate our vision of building the most intuitive AI-powered platform for Web3 game creation,” said Frank Ma, Ultiverse CEO, in a statement. “Going forward, Ultiverse remains committed to delivering an ecosystem with accessible tools and captivating experiences to nurture the next generation of AI-driven Web3 games. Next week, Ultiverse will release Ulti-Pilot, an immersive portal to the universe’s diverse gaming experiences, powered by AI.”

Ultiverse is using AI-powered NPCs.

Ultiverse is poised to unveil Ulti-Pilot, a portal to diverse gaming experiences within the universe powered by AI. The platform aims for gaming interoperability through the integration of AI and blockchain, with plans to launch the Gaming Launchpad, Restake Rollup, and additional decentralized applications (dApps) in the future.

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“To reach our users, we cannot simply rely on the playability of the game,” said Jimmy Liu, cofounder of Ultiverse, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We have to make sure we have enough infrastructure to deliver the incentives and monetization for each game we publish. And most importantly, we need to have a closed loop to ensure our governance token has the right type of utility.”

Since its inception in 2022, Ultiverse has hit milestones like the launch of its genesis NFT, Electrisheep, with a floor price of 2 ETH and a market cap of $30 million.

The introduction of the Ultiverse Main World, supported by AI, marked a pivotal moment in the platform’s development. Additionally, Terminus PC and Vision Pro versions featuring AI-powered non-player characters (NPCs) have been released on Steam, along with the launch of three dApps: Meta Merge, Terminus City, and CricketFly.

The company will partner with other game companies and help bring them traffic through its platform. Then it will also launch games in its own ecosystem when it makes sense. Liu believes that many of the investors can help with partnerships as well.

IDG Capital said in a statement, “Ultiverse’s mission to catalyze mass adoption of Web3 gaming, augmented by AI, aligns seamlessly with our commitment to pioneering innovation. They are not just creating a platform; they are defining a new paradigm in gaming.”

Ultiverse scene
Ultiverse scene

Founded in 2022 by Ma, Jimmy Liu, and Joe Chou, Ultiverse has seen remarkable growth, with registered users surpassing 7.3 million as of December 2023. Many of the seven million users are Web2 gamers. The company hopes to convert many of them to Web3 gaming.

Monthly active users (30-day average) are at 830,000 globally. Previous investors in Ultiverse include prominent names like Binance Labs, Sequoia, DeFiance Capital, Emirates Consortium, MorningStar Ventures, GSR Ventures, and Foresight Ventures.

“We have very good partners with a strong presence in gaming,” Liu said. “We have also good partners with all of these chains.”

Looking forward to the first half of this year, Ultiverse expects to launch its Ultiverse Main World as well as the launch of the Terminus PC and Vision Pro versions. And it expects the launch of three AI-powered Web3 DApps: Meta Merge, Terminus City, and CricketFly.

The Terminus City is our flagship experiment, where we are building on Unreal a triple A game that fully integrates AI NPCs.

“We will use Terminus City as a showcase,” Liu said. “Every two or three months, we will bring a huge event with a lot of attractions.”

In the second half of the year, the company expects to launch the Ultiverse Gaming Launchpad, the Ultiverse Restake Rollup, and the launch of 3 additional DApps.

After the Ulti-Pilot launches, people will understand what Ultiverse is doing and how to interact with the company when it comes to interoperable games, Liu said. The company is working on making AI as efficient as possible to help with Web3 game production.

“AI as a utility is becoming more of a daily habit with us,” Liu said.

Ultiverse has raised another $4 million.

The company said the funding history was as follows: It raised a seed round in March 2022 via a token sale, taking in $4.5 million at a valuation of $50 million. It raised an equity round in March 2022 of $5 million at a post-money valuation of $50 million. It raised a private round of $6 million in a new token round with a valuation of $100 million. And this latest $4 million came in the form of a token round with a valuation of $150 million. The company has 40 employees.

The company said it is now one step closer to making gaming interoperable through AI and blockchain tech. Liu said the investors buying the latest token will hold onto it for about 18 months. IDG Capital has also invested in game companies such as NetDragon, Lilith, Animoca, Double Jump Tokyo and many others.

“Ultiverse is leading the Web3 gaming evolution with an all-in-one solution, integrating AI into game development to cut costs and decrease development times, while helping in user acquisition and engagement by rewarding gamers,” said Shreyansh Singh at Polygon Ventures in an email to GamesBeat.

During the past couple of years, the company pivoted from doing a hardcore game to a line between midcore games and casual games, said Liu. Attention spans are getting shorter, and the company is taking that into account in choosing which games to make.

The company is building a platform and infrastructure to launch Web3 games as part of its community.

Ultiverse’s plans

Liu said the company was lucky in a way. While other Web3 companies launched NFTs and saw the value of their community drop, Ultiverse has been able to maintain its valuation over time, thanks to better retention. The market has gone up and down, but it’s back up now.

“We realized the market was not quite ready for heavy gamers,” Liu said. “We launched our NFTs and built a Web3 platform.”

Liu said the blockchain gaming environment seems better now after a slowdown and then a new recovery for the cryptocurrency market, which may put Web3 gamers in a mood to spend money again. The company is always on the lookout for key opinion leaders who could help the company get more attention.

“We believe in this opportunity. And we’re going to do whatever we can to achieve our goal, one step at a time. If we bring a good result, we’re going to win a debate with others,” he said. “Players remain optimistic and positive for new things.”

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