Limit Break raises over $200 million to launch ‘free-to-own’ model

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Global Web3 gaming startup Limit Break has raised over $200 million across two rounds of funding to launch its innovative “free-to-own” monetization model. The funding rounds were led by the chair of mobile gaming firm Mino Games, Josh Buckley, alongside investment firms Standard Crypto and Paradigm.

The company, whose name was inspired by a combat mechanic popularized by the Final Fantasy series, was founded in 2021 by Gabriel Leydon and Halbert Nakagawa, formerly of Machine Zone. Machine Zone itself was known for hit titles such as Game of War, Final Fantasy: XV, and Mobile Strike and was sold to AppLovin for $500 million.

“[Leydon, Nakagawa, and the Limit Break team are] already legendary gaming entrepreneurs. The Limit Break team pioneered free-to-play… They’ve proven an ability to take unorthodox approaches that get adopted as the right way,” wrote Standard Crypto co-founder Alok Vasudev about the company and its founders, as per Venture Beat.

The “Free-to-Own” model

Both founders are well-versed in the free-to-play market and are now looking to introduce what they consider to be the next step in mobile game monetization. To set itself apart from other Web3 MMO developers, Limit Break has created a new blockchain-based business model called “free-to-own” (F2O), which the company believes will replace free-to-play monetization models.

“If you match free-to-play up against free-to-own, there’s no way for free-to-play survive. I don’t see how anybody goes back to free-to-play after that. Free-to-play is download the game for free by a bunch of virtual items that you can’t own essentially. We’re completely reinventing the game industry,” said Leydon.

The main principle of the free-to-own model is the community’s ability to mint NFTs without paying an upfront cost. The main advantage of this model is that players do not feel pressured to make back their investment since they do not start at a deficit. Instead, players are more likely to stay for a longer time and recommend the game to others, stimulating the organic growth of the community. Another benefit is increased trust from the community, as this model will avoid a situation where NFTs are sold, but the game is not delivered.

“Free to Own (F2O) is built around free mints for Genesis NFTs. These Genesis NFTs lead to other NFTs through airdrops and more, none of which involve gimmicky fundraising tactics,” Limit Break wrote on Twitter.

Support from Paradigm

Paradigm co-founder Matt Huang said Limit Break would be the company to push the boundaries of what is possible with Web3 gaming. He believes that Limit Break’s “unique vision” and innovative F2O model will change the landscape of Web3 gaming as a whole.

“Web3 gaming has enormous potential, yet remains misunderstood especially in the gaming space. Paradigm is excited to back Limitbreak to help realize that potential,” wrote Huang in an email to GamesBeat.

“Gabe, Hal, and the rest of the team are truly deep, orthogonal thinkers who have a unique vision for the potential of Web3 gaming. Their track record in mobile gaming speaks for itself, and we believe they’ll make a similar mark in Web3.”