Investing in Mainframe

The games industry has consistently found new ways to reduce barriers to entry.

In the 2000s, the success of Adobe Flash-based games showed us the power of browser-based games which, for the first time, could be shared virally through a simple web link. The recent resurgence in instant games shows us that frictionless onboarding is even more powerful when coupled with modern video and social platforms that augment sharing. Cloud gaming (the streaming of high-end games from servers in the cloud) builds upon instant games by marrying the accessibility of browser links with the deep multiplayer systems and production values of AAA games, historically found on PC or console.

The true potential of cloud gaming lies not just in expanding access to games, but also in creating new types of cloud-native gameplay — only possible when the entire world, both client and server, is hosted in the cloud. For example, cloud-native gameplay could enable interactions between spectators and players, real-time content generation as players explore a world, or personalized onboarding delivered via URLs. Web3 is also a uniquely good fit for cloud games. It will allow players to leverage browser-based crypto wallets while in-game, and eventually create and own real value from the assets they earn in-game.

We believe that a combination of new gameplay mechanics, distribution channels, and business models will be key to unlocking the next 3B gamers. To this end, I’m thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading Mainframe Industries’ Series B and I’ll be joining the board. Mainframe is building one of the industry’s first cloud-native MMOs — a persistent, living world based in the cloud and accessible from any Internet-connected device. It’s been a privilege working with CEO Thor Gunnarson and team as they’ve innovated along many different dimensions from novel gameplay modes to cloud distribution to virtual economy design.

We first invested in Mainframe at the Series A last year. Since then, the team has realized their product vision, built cutting-edge infrastructure, and grown to over 55 strong. The Mainframe team is truly unique, combining the best of AAA PC/console talent from companies like CCP, Remedy, and Blizzard, with mobile and free-to-play expertise from companies like Next Games and Sulake.

Long-term, Mainframe will be a critical building block of the Metaverse, providing an easily-accessible, shared virtual space where players can live out alternate identities with rich social and economic networks. As new technologies like web3 and instant games continue to emerge, the future for Mainframe is bright. We couldn’t be more excited to continue supporting the team in the next phase of their journey!

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