Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) were some of the earliest social networks. In the late 1990s, MMOs like Ultima Online and EverQuest hosted hundreds of thousands of players who adventured together in 3D virtual worlds. Blizzard’s MMO World of Warcraft would eventually grow to become one of the most popular games of all time, reaching 12 million subscribers in 2010 and becoming a cultural icon globally.
Long before the emergence of web3, MMOs also provided early evidence that players valued ownership of digital assets and would trade them with one another for real money. Browser-based MMO RuneScape launched in 2001 with free trading between players and developed a vibrant virtual economy around player-vs-player combat where victors could claim their opponents’ items and sell them for real money. The space MMO Eve Online also featured robust player trading around in-game assets and a currency called PLEX which represents 30 days of subscription time.
Core Loop is a new game studio innovating at the intersection of the MMO genre and web3. Core Loop is building a modern cross-platform MMO with a blockchain-based virtual economy, playable across PC and mobile devices. The team is innovating in many different areas — including designing an AI-directed, dynamic world that evolves based on the actions of the community. And in a nod to Eve and RuneScape, the game’s economy will be player-driven with the ability for participants to truly own the assets they craft/earn, and to potentially make a living in the game long-term.
We first met founders Vincenzo Alagna and Dan Chao nearly 2 years ago and bonded over our shared love of MMOs and community-driven games. They are uniquely well-suited for this project — Vincenzo was CTO and President of Machine Zone, where he oversaw multi-billion dollar franchises such as Game of War and Mobile Strike. Dan was the lead game designer at Funzio (acquired by GREE) and launched one of the first NFT strategy games called CryptoAssault. The two have known each other for almost a decade, and together epitomize the convergence of games, social, and web3.
Vincenzo and Dan have impressed us with their execution and hustle, developing an impressive early prototype of their game and growing the team to over 15 talented developers, pulled from many of the top studios in the industry. Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading the Series A for Core Loop and will be supporting them closely through both the a16z games and crypto teams.
We believe the next generation of MMOs will combine the best of social and systems design from traditional MMOs, with web3 powered virtual economies built on true ownership and the ability for players to earn a living in the game. Core Loop is leading the way and we couldn’t be more excited to work together. Check out their Discord for early access to the game!