The Wildcard Alliance raises $46M for Web3 game developed by Playful Studios

A division of Playful Studios, maker of Words With Friends and Lucky's Tale, unveiled a Web3 game and raised $46 million.

In an interview with GamesBeat, Paul Bettner, cofounder of Playful Studios, said the Wildcard Alliance wants to bring 'the next billion gamers' to Web3.

'For us and for the team, this is a really big moment to finally announce this game and to let the community connect with us and grow around it with us,' Bettner said. 'I'm thrilled that we are finally on the next phase of that journey.'

The company has made a playable game first before discussing its blockchain technology, which sets it apart from the rest. This game has been in development for five years on and off.

During the company's search for fun, there were some painful times. The company decided to scale down the large team and focus on one main project rather than go full tilt with multiple projects in 2019. Eventually, the pandemic struck, and it turned out that was the right decision for the company. Many of those employees have since returned. It isn't ready yet since it is in the pre-alpha stage, but I've seen Bettner play it.

'Five years ago, we had the vision from the beginning to create a connected, empowered community that would include not just the competitors but the fans, spectators, and the entire audience as well,' Bettner said. In a lot of cases, games will make this distinction between the players and those tuning in to watch, and we still do this with Wildcard.

As game developers, we often don't think about those people as our customers until they install our game and start competing with us. We've always asked them with Wildcard, 'Well, what if we treat all those people as part of our audience, whether they're coming in through a web browser, whether they're coming in via Discord, in whatever way they're engaging with the IP, we should treat them as players from the moment they come on board.'

The game looks like a high-quality title, with battles taking place in an arena where spectators can watch. I've interviewed Bettner over the years during the heyday of virtual reality (with Lucky's Tale at Playful) and mobile gaming as part of Zynga.

Having a big vision

A division of the McKinney, Texas-based company, The Wildcard Alliance, is the company's move into the blockchain gaming world. It is similar to games like Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering, where you manage card decks. Bettner said it also has the action gameplay of a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game or an arena game like Rocket League.

Big investors

The round was led by Paradigm Capital, which funds crypto and Web3 companies, with support from Griffin Gaming Partners and Sabrina Hahn. It's a pretty high-end group of investors.

Players compete surrounded by live, interactive fans and spectators in Wildcard, which is a blend of MOBA, real-time strategy, and collectible card games. the game was created by veteran game designer Paul Bettner. Known for developing games including Age of Empires, early VR hit Lucky's Tale, and co-creating the wildly popular Words with Friends with his brother David.

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