Horizon raises $40m to fund development of SkyWeaver, Sequence

Web3 startup Horizon has raised $40 million in a Series A funding round to develop its NFT game, Skyweaver. Led by Brevan Howard Digital and Morgan Creek Digital, multiple large players in the gaming and Web3 space took part in the funding round, such as Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Polygon, Everyrealm, Xsolla, The Sandbox co-founder Sebastien Borget and Axie Infinity co-founder Aleksander Larsen.

Horizon is developing its own spin on the trading card genre, with cards represented as Ethereum NFT assets that can be traded and sold among the user base — similar to Gods Unchained. The game went into closed alpha testing in 2018 and was recently released into open beta.

The $40 million raised will be used by Horizon to further develop Skyweaver and improve its Ethereum-based development platform and wallet Sequence, which enables developers to more easily create Web3 games and applications. Horizon has also announced that it will be releasing Niftyswap soon, a decentralized marketplace that focuses on trading semi-fungible tokens used for games and digital collectibles.

In light of this announcement, co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian said that he supported SkyWeaver due to his love of digital card games. He previously took part in a 2020 funding round for Horizon, led by venture capital firm Initialized.

Ohanian wrote that though digital card games such as Hearthstone were fun, players have no ownership of the cards themselves. This means that the value of a player’s collection is often called into question, especially when new changes are introduced. Blockchain technology solves this problem by allowing players to own the cards by turning them into NFTs and bringing rarity and scarcity back into the genre.

“One of the benefits that blockchain technology provides is digital cards with real ownership and secure transferability. This means that digital cards can now be unique and scarce the same way that physical cards can be. In SkyWeaver, you’ll own your cards, and you’ll be able to trade them, sell them, and play with them,” wrote Ohanian on Medium.

Ubisoft and Take-Two’s blockchain investments

Ubisoft’s support for SkyWeaver does not come as much of a surprise as the company has been experimenting with blockchain technology for years. It recently launched in-game NFTs for Ghost Recon Breakpoint alongside supporting numerous other blockchain startups and projects. The company also created a platform called Ubisoft Quartz, which allows players to enjoy a play-to-earn experience inside its existing games and purchase NFTs with in-game benefits.

“Ubisoft Quartz is the first building block in our ambitious vision for developing a true metaverse. And it can’t come to life without overcoming blockchain’s early-form limitations for gaming, including scalability and energy consumption,” said Nicolas Pouard, the vice president of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab, as per Decrypt.

Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive acquired mobile game giant Zynga — which is now placing its focus on blockchain gaming — in January of this year. Though the chief executive officer of Zynga, Frank Gibeau, was initially skeptical of cryptocurrency and metaverse technology, he said earlier this year that blockchain gaming was a “process that I think conceptually we have a lot of faith and belief in.”