Interoperability has long been a key guiding principle of the Metaverse – a vision that we can bring our digital identity and assets with us as we travel between virtual worlds.
Yet today, the largest games and virtual worlds are closed economies that are not interoperable with one another. From Fortnite to Minecraft to League of Legends, most games do not allow players to trade or carry their digital assets outside a centrally defined space.
We believe the next generation of games and virtual worlds will be built with interoperability as a core tenet. Rather than hold players inside walled gardens, the virtual worlds that comprise the open Metaverse will empower players to own their identity and take their digital assets wherever they go. These open economies will be larger and more durable than any closed economy game that we’ve seen yet, with players deeply invested in their assets and driving innovation as co-creators / co-owners of the world around them.
That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading the Series B for Ready Player Me, a leading platform for cross-game avatars, and that I’m joining the board. Ready Player Me (RPM) provides developers a customizable plug-and-play system for 3D avatars. Instead of spending time rebuilding complex avatar creators, developers can focus on what matters most – the gameplay experience – and get to market faster.
Developers love Ready Player Me. Over 3,000 apps across both web2 and web3 already integrate RPM, including VRChat, Spatial, Somnium Space, IGG, Pixelynx, RTFKT and many more. RPM provides developers a distribution advantage by plugging them into a cross-game network of over 5M avatars. Developers can also find new revenue opportunities by selling interoperable skins and assets for RPM avatars – these assets can be traded across the entire network with creators receiving a royalty on every transaction.
For players, RPM makes it fast and easy to create great-looking 3D avatars. Players can create a personalized avatar by simply uploading a selfie (try it out on their website) and export their avatar immediately to any partner experience. The avatars are fully customizable and players love sharing their unique creations across TikTok, Twitter, and Discord. Almost all of RPM’s partners discovered the platform through content sharing or word of mouth.
3D avatar creation via a selfie
Long-term, RPM is building the interoperable identity protocol for the open Metaverse – enabling players and developers alike to take their identity and assets with them to any 3D experience.
The RPM avatar system is the cumulative product of over 8 years of R&D. Early on, the company built custom avatar systems and technology for enterprise customers like Tencent, Verizon, HTC, and Wargaming. Over the years, they aggregated a proprietary database of 20,000+ face scans captured with the company’s own hardware-based 3D scanners. These scans enabled RPM to build a deep-learning solution that can accurately predict and render realistic faces from a single 2D photo. This system runs across desktop, web, and mobile, and is available to developers through a robust SDK and API.
Over the last year, we’ve been privileged to get to know CEO Timmu Tõke and cofounders Kaspar Tiri, Rainer Selvet, and Haver Järveoja. We’ve been deeply impressed by the team’s blend of developer empathy, technical chops, and business pragmatism. The founders have assembled a talented team with experience across games, virtual worlds, consumer social, and enterprise sales. And best yet, they’re looking for more superstars to join the team!
We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Timmu and the entire Ready Player Me team as they build the identity protocol for the open Metaverse!
The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.
This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.
Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.