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Overwolf has raised $75 million in funding to jumpstart community-created mod experiences for games.
The funding comes on the heels a $52.5 million raise in March, bringing the total the Tel Aviv-based company has raised this year to $127.5 million.
Overwolf makes a modding platform for game developers and publishers. It enables those companies to take advantage of user-created content based on popular games. Overwolf has more than 87,000 creators and 20 million monthly active users.
The Tel Aviv-based company has launched its CurseForge Core user-generated content platform. It will offer the platform as a service for game companies to take advantage of mods or the custom creations of players that can enhance existing games. It enables devs to create software that tracks player performance in games by tapping developer application programming interfaces, or APIs (such as tracking deck performance in card games like Hearthstone).
Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.
Overwolf was able to raise the money in part because of the enthusiasm around Roblox, the user-generated game platform company that went public in March at a $41.9 billion valuation.
Overwolf believes that the industry is entering into a new era of gaming led by community-created experiences that are key to extending games’ longevity and player satisfaction. This era is fueled by in-game creators, a new generation of in-game app creators and mod authors.
Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the round. Previous investors including Griffin Gaming Partners, Insight Partners, Intel Capital, Liberty Technology Venture Capital, and Marker participated. The funding will be used to strengthen and grow the in-game creator ecosystem primarily through CurseForge Core, a “UGC as a Service” solution that enables game studios, intellectual property owners and in-game creators to prosper with game creations.
Uri Marchand, CEO of Overwolf, recently spoke at our GamesBeat Summit Next event.
“In the beginning [UGC involved] hacking and trying to build mods based on reverse engineering games. Then the next phase was when IP holders and game developers released creation kits and allowed the community to build mods,” said Marchand on the panel on modding. “But now we’re at an inflection point through games like Roblox and Minecraft.”
Above: Overwolf sees modders on the growth path.
Overwolf recently announced a fund to support in-game creators and to make investments in studios creating new games that will incorporate community-created mods into their titles. Investments may also be deployed to the community of in-game creators for these studios, in order to establish a strong two-sided marketplace.
Overwolf’s CurseForge Core enables game studios to integrate open-source SDKs and plugins to let players discover and install mods in-game, across all platforms and storefronts. In addition to capital, portfolio studios will have early access to CurseForge Core which will enable them to easily integrate mods safely and seamlessly into their new games.
Marchand said that everybody wins with community-created experiences. Gamers get in-game apps and mods that make gameplay more exciting. The creators of these in-game apps and mods can turn their passion into a profession, earning a sustainable income for their creations. And game studios enhance their games by outsourcing content creation to talented and passionate gamers, maximizing shelf life and engagement.
Marchand foresees gamers participating in a new era of triple-A game creation. Stray Bombay, a co-operative games studio led by Chet Faliszek (a writer for Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and Portal), is the first studio to receive funding from the Overwolf Creator Fund. The studio will integrate CurseForge Core into its first game title The Anacrusis, a four-player, co-op first-person shooter designed from the ground up to be both a play and social space, scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter.
Above: Overwolf has set up a $50 million fund for modders.
Beyond the technical solution, Overwolf offers game developers a full-service UGC experience by managing content moderation including toxicity management, the community of players and creators, IP, UGC-related live ops, compatibility testing, file hosting, and the processing of creator payments. Gamers will have access to an in-game marketplace where they can discover, download, and install approved player-created content without ever leaving the game.
“The biggest social platforms today, including TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, are heavily driven by creators who generate content for friends, family, and the community. As games continue to evolve into social networks, creators and user-generated content will play an equally important role,” said Jonathan Lai, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, in a statement. “Overwolf’s platform makes it possible for any player to become a co-creator of their favorite game thanks to a robust development engine, an app store for distribution, and monetization tools for creators to earn a living from their work.”
Creators use the Overwolf framework to build, distribute, and monetize their in-game apps and mods. More than 20 million gamers use Overwolf’s products monthly and download more than 15 billion apps and mods yearly. In 2021, Overwolf expects to pay out $29 million to in-game creators, nearly three times the amount distributed a year prior.
“Community-created experiences are the future of gaming. No single game studio can compete with the speed of execution and sheer creativity of a passionate community,” Marchand said. “Instead of resisting community creations, we have seen a shift in perception with leading game studios starting to embrace the value that these creators bring to the community and to the studio itself. It is an honor to be able to provide the framework, tools and expertise to usher in this new era of community creation.”
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