Years before the first blockchain was created, the sci-fi space MMO EVE Online proved out many of the core principles that define web3 today. This is why we are excited to be partnering with CCP on a new project set in the EVE Universe.
Released in 2003 by Icelandic developer CCP Games, EVE Online is a persistent virtual world in which items ranging from drones to massive dreadnoughts are made by players and freely tradable in an open economy. In contrast to scripted games, EVE is a giant sandbox where players determine the narrative, self-organizing into corporations (“guilds”) with their own progression, politics, and incentives.
Since 2018, 50 million EVE players have manufactured over 276 billion items and engaged in some of the biggest and most expensive wars in games history (ex. the Guinness World Record-holding M2-XFE battle where 3k+ spaceships worth over $378k were destroyed). And on top of this economy, the EVE community has built a rich ecosystem of third-party tools and apps supported by an API, showing that there is great interest among players to participate and collaborate in building virtual universes.
We believe the next generation of web3 games will share these same principles: built from the ground up to merge proven gameplay with open economies, player-driven social systems, and composability. CCP has long led the way, and that’s why we’re excited to announce that a16z is leading the seed round in CCP’s new game. This new AAA title will combine CCP’s 25 years of game design experience with the latest in blockchain technology to enable a new frontier in player agency and autonomy, and will also be set within the EVE Universe.
The CCP team is uniquely qualified for this endeavor. Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time with CEO Hilmar Pétursson and came away impressed with his thoughtful approach to web3, his experience running CCP through multiple business cycles, and his pragmatism as a veteran entrepreneur and studio leader. Hilmar has been on the bleeding edge of blockchain gaming since 2017 – long before crypto was mainstream – and has continued to bring mainstream recognition to the opportunity, speaking at forums as distinguished as the Nobel Prize Week. To lead this new title, he has assembled an independent team of world-class experts from CCP including director Sæmundur Hermannsson. Through many meetings, late-night conversations and meals , we’ve gotten to know the CCP team well, and even celebrated as one with the player community at EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik. The team has already made great progress in product development and we’ve been very impressed by the playtests thus far.
Together, we share the belief that player ownership and governance within an open platform can be a key source of fun that serves to amplify great gameplay and captivating game design.
Congrats to the CCP Games team – we at a16z couldn’t be more excited to join this journey with you to build the next generation of virtual worlds.
Jonathan Lai is a General Partner and founding investor of A16Z GAMES. Jon focuses on investing at the intersection of games and consumer, social, web3, infrastructure, and fintech.
Eddy Lazzarin is the chief technology officer for a16z crypto.
Carra Wu is a partner on the a16z crypto investment team.