As Web3 grows in popularity, indie game investors update their wish lists

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2021 was a record year for investment in the gaming industry, with game deals above $85 billion across 1,159 deals announced or closed. This year has already surpassed that record, with more than $107 billion in total investment deals in the first six months of 2022 alone.

But with money pouring in from all sides — from players, esports viewers, individual investors, mergers and acquisitions, growth funds, and more — it’s still hard for indie games to get noticed and get the support they need in an increasingly more competitive market, Owen says. O’Donoghue, co-founder and CRO of InfiniGods. This is especially true now that interest in Web3 innovations is accelerating.

“My feeling is that VCs will become more conservative in terms of what they invest in over the next year,” he explains. “Growth funds will increasingly look for real traction from companies they plan to invest in. It may not mean fewer funds are invested, but they are less likely to take a risk on a pure idea.”

Why investors want a solid team

In the mobile gaming space, VCs dig deeper into practicalities and want to see more advancements including minimum viable product, user engagement, proven revenue, scalability, and more. However, the strength of the development team is increasingly central to a company’s pitch.

Investors are looking for industry experience, such as whether they’ve been able to scale a business (especially if it’s a gaming company), and their past hiring success. They want to know that team members have not only been able to successfully ship a product, but also keep abreast of updates, fixes, bugs and player feedback, and be able to optimize. Investors expect a game and business plan to change over time, especially in web3, but they want to be able to invest in the right team to ride that wave. While the idea is still paramount, they’re also looking more closely at the team’s ability to pivot based on changes in the market, or if new stats come in once the game is live.

“Investors are more likely to say that this team has done this multiple times with larger companies or through similar startups, and had a level of success, a level of learning,” he says. “They are happy to support that team even if they think the idea may change over time because they believe the team will be able to evolve and adapt given their track record.”

For example, when O’Donoghue and his partners met investors for InfiniGods, they drew heavily on their experience as individuals, he says: The company’s co-founder bootstrapped and scaled a company to nine figures within the mobile gaming space, while O’Donoghue Donohue himself has helped multiple businesses scale and monetize Facebook.

“Some investors said this was a real team game when they expressed their interest in investing, and others said there is an opportunity within this team – we know the industry will change here, and we believe this team can adapt to it,” he explains. Focus on your unique differentiator as a team, in your capabilities. It may not be the game. It could be your ability to excel in user acquisition or live operations or game analysis.

Teams are still key for Web 3 investors

As blockchain technology gains traction, investors regularly deposit funds into crypto games. Blockchain Gaming Companies Saw $2.5 billion in investment in Q1 2022 alone — and analysts predict that figure could grow to $10 billion by the end of the year. Blockchain game companies regularly raise $3 million+ rounds based on their ambitious plans to not only make a game, but also create a platform or an innovative tokenomics loop.

Investors continue to put money into the infrastructure; for example, Thirdweb, which provides NFTs as a service, recently raised $24 million, some of it from Shopify, in a third round of funding. In terms of gaming, VCs are starting to move away from those web3 games that are primarily focused on a tokenomics loop, as many of those pay-to-earn loops they’ve invested in have proven difficult to scale.

Even in web 3, investors are going back to fundamentals. They’re not interested in complicated tokenomics pay-to-earn models, but want to see team experience, an understanding of the genre the developers are aiming for, and why a web 3 version will be just as good, or better than the comparable one. mobile or web 2 games that preceded it. They want an acquisition strategy, a monetization strategy that goes beyond just NFT mints, and a live operations strategy.

“VCs are not taking the risks they were before, in teams with very limited gaming experience but backgrounds in crypto and financial products,” he says. “We are leaving that phase of supporting any project that has ‘metaverse’ or ‘blockchain’ associated with it. Let’s talk about realistically getting a million players into your game. Because we know that not everyone will play to earn.”

For more insights into how VC interest is changing in a Web3 world, a deep dive into how O’Donoghue and his team found funding for InfiGods, best practices and good advice for landing a meeting and pitching, don’t miss this VB not Live event!

Registration is free here!


  • Pitching basics from crafting to delivery
  • What kind of investor is best?
  • How do you find and convince the right investor?
  • Where to find alternative financing sources?
  • And more!


  • Owen O’DonoghueCo-Founder & CRO, InfiniGods
  • Lawrence MienoDirector Partner Experience, Xsolla
  • Nathan SölbrandtBusiness Development Manager Europe – Financing, Xsolla
  • Dean TakahashiLead Writer, GamesBeat (Moderator)