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During the height of the pandemic, no one was driving cars, and that forced a major hub for Drivetime, which made voice-activated games for people to play in the car. And so the company raised $5 million and changed its name to block stars.
The company raised funding through a combination of an equity and token funding round led by Play Ventures through its Future Fund. Existing shareholders of Makers Fund, Solana, Magic Eden, Merit Circle and Citizen X have also invested.
Niko Vuori, CEO of block starssaid in an interview with GamesBeat that the company is building its next game, block stars, a music management simulation game built on the Solana blockchain. Vuori visits Lisbon to participate in the Solana Breakpoint event in Portugal.
In the game, players assemble musicians called Blockstars who write, record and release singles. And they pack their greatest hits into albums, putting the time and effort into improving their skills and ultimately working towards the goal of earning enough money to start and upgrade their own.
The game is designed and balanced to allow both experienced players and complete novices alike to compete for places on the leaderboards, based on a variety of factors that allow for competition across many different playstyles (so yes, of course you can still max your way to a top spot on any of the leaderboards if that’s your problem, but there will be multiple different ways to compete, win and earn).
Winners of various competition categories will earn rewards in the form of $ROC, the game’s main token on the Solana blockchain. The token is used for key game actions (such as minting, buying and selling Blockstars and other in-game NFT assets, as well as determining the governance structure), and is designed to withstand inflationary pressures that some other play-to- – earn games have experienced through careless economic design, the company said. There is a second, in-game utility currency, which is used daily for base game actions.
In addition to Vuori, the founding team consists of Cory Johnson (CTO), Sherrie Chen (chief product officer). Johnson and Vuori were co-founders of Drive.fm and Rocket Games (acquired in 2016), and they worked together at Zynga in the early days. Chen joined Drive.fm as Chief Product Officer and previously worked at Zynga. That moment,
Vuori said Drivetime had a strong business in 2019, when the company picked up a round earlier.
“Everything was going great, but then the pandemic hit and no one was driving their cars anymore,” said Vuroi. “So we had to do this. It’s a totally different genre and a totally different space. We have made the very difficult decision to stop production on Drivetime.”
Blockstars started building the new game in the summer of 2021, just as all the excitement around Web3 games was happening. The car game – where players use voice commands and spoken answers to answer trivia questions – will remain active and generate revenue.
But the company is putting all its energy into the new game, in which the players are the managers of a band. You are trying to grow your music empire.
“I’ve been a big fan of management simulation games for a long time,” says Vuori. “It’s my all-time favorite genre.”
Vuori has been playing Football Manager since 1992, about European football. He thinks management games are great candidates for blockchain games because economies are deep and players stay with them for a long time. Players can own their bands and buy and sell band members. The game will have a tokenized economy with player ownership.
“We chose music as the theme and music management because music is so universal,” said Vuori.
Vuori also started following blockchain in 2016 and he believed it would enable new experiences, consumer products and games. He saw Solana’s efforts to create a new kind of chain with faster transactions and no fees.
The company employs 15 people and is expanding.
“We saw what was enabled by these new technologies and the exciting new design choices developers can make through digital ownership and open tokenized economies,” said Vuori. “So we decided to drive in.”
The company will make multiple Web3 games, Blockstars being the first.
“We’re choosing to focus on where we’re seeing the most heat right now, which is definitely still blockchain despite the crypto winter, you know,” said Vuori. “We believe in the exciting new things game designers can do with blockchain technologies. And so we have been very encouraged by our early-up adopters.”
The company is considering using generative AI to make the numbers.
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