Mainframe raises $23M led by a16z for a cloud-native multiplayer game
Mainframe Industries, the startup behind the first cloud-native massively multiplayer online game, today announced it has raised $23 million in new funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.
All previous investors including Riot Games invested in the Series B round and new investors included Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Huuuge Games founder and Chief Executive Aton Gauffin Cedric Marechal and European Super Angels Taavet+Sten. This round brings the total funding raised by Mainframe to $33.7 million and is the second time a16z invested in the company.
Although Mainframe has been quiet about the exact details of the game itself, it will take advantage of cloud game streaming – the same technology behind services such as Microsoft xCloud, Google Stadia and Amazon Luna.
The most popular MMOs such as “World of Warcraft” and “Final Fantasy XIV Online” require a gaming console or expensive PC hardware to play, but with cloud streaming, they can be easily played on any screen.
“We’re creating a persistent living world that people will call their home for years and hopefully decades,” Thor Gunnarsson, co-founder and chief executive of Mainframe, told SiliconANGLE. “With this formidable group of returning partners and new industry friends on board, we will field a world-class team able to make our vision for the future of MMO games real, and open to gamers from any screen they choose to play on.”
The power of cloud game streaming technology allows players to experience games from anywhere at any time without the need for expensive hardware. As a result, players could as easily play the game on their TV from their couch as they could on a tablet, or on their PC as they would with a mobile phone. The only difference would be the control set and the bandwidth available.
According to Mainframe, the company is not building its own cloud streaming infrastructure. Instead, it is building a fully cloud-native MMO game that will take full advantage of the cloud and cloud streaming services.
“Streaming removes a huge amount of friction from gaming, from the frequent multi-gigabyte game update downloads to worrying if you have a good enough GPU to run a game and have the money to invest in new gaming hardware,” Sulka Haro, design director of Mainframe, told SiliconANGLE in an email.
Haro also mentioned that the recent chip shortages have squeezed gamers even further when it comes to graphics cards and hardware, making it inevitable that more games would push to become cloud-native. For gamers, being able to continue to play a favorite game on older hardware without having to turn down settings is a major selling point.
“We see streaming as a great way to democratize games and bring new gaming content to a wider audience than ever before regardless of the player’s choice of hardware he or she wants to use for what we’re making,” he said.
With cloud streaming and the ability to access the game from any stream, players are no longer locked to their chairs or couches to enter the game world. As a result, they can still be social with their friends from anywhere – even if they’re not able to participate in the most challenging elements of the game from a mobile phone because of the controls.
For example, Haro mentioned, he sees people taking the opportunity to pop into the game during the day from their phone if it’s convenient to prepare for an adventure or raid later that they’d be enjoying on the PC or console in the evening. It also means they could log in from the kitchen while they’re cooking dinner and stay in contact.
The new funding will go toward the continued development of the game itself, Haro said. The company will focus on building the team, which has doubled in size since last year and prepare for something that can be revealed to the public.
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