Mobile Premier League (MPL) is launching a new web3 gaming venture, GGX, multiple sources privy to the development said, as the gaming unicorn taps the play-to-earn (P2E) gaming sector.
GGX is expected to be an in-game non fungible token (NFT) marketplace that will offer a platform for owning and trading in-game assets, like an exchange.
MPL is in advanced talks to raise $10-$15 million through a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFTs) from investors including Spartan Capital, a digital asset management firm and Polygon, valuing the startup at about $200 - $250 million.
In P2E gaming, players are rewarded with cryptos, which they can exchange for real money.
“The aim of GGX is to have multiple games and game developers on its platform. Players who acquire assets across any game on the GGX platform could freely trade them with other users on GGX,” one of the sources said.
The platform will allow any game developer to monetise games using the GGX software toolkit, the sources added.
MPL declined to comment. Polygon and Spartan Group did not respond to ET’s queries till press time Wednesday.
Founded in 2018 by Sai Srinivas and Shubam Malhotra, MPL offers around 70 games across categories such as daily fantasy sports, quizzing, board games, e-sports, and casual games on both its Android and iOS apps.
The company entered the unicorn club – or privately held companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more - last September at a valuation of $2.3 billion.
It laid off around 100 people and exited the Indonesian market in May amid a funding slowdown in the Indian startup ecosystem.
Sources said MPL's foray into web3 gaming is part of a plan to create a gaming group that spans skill-based real-money gaming, play-to-earn, and a recently launched gaming studio, Mayhem Studios.
Mayhem Studios, a subsidiary of MPL, was officially launched in May.
The studio launched its first title - Underworld Gang Wars’ (UGW), a battle royale game set in India last month, and will have synergies with GGX.
“Underworld will have these tradable assets and this trading will happen using the GGX infrastructure. So, basically, underworld gang wars will be a proof of concept of what GGX can do,” said one of the sources.
The P2E segment has attracted significant investor interest after the success of Sky Mavis’s Axie Infinity last year, whose user growth and token value have since tumbled, bringing the sustainability of the entire P2E proposition into question.
The hype around P2E gaming has not escaped Indian founders.
Ncore Games, a venture co-founded by Vishal Gondal and Dayanidhi MG, raised $10 million in Series A funding earlier this year, and Kavin Bharti Mittal's Hike also pivoted into this space and is building a Rush Gaming Universe.
As of May, about $4.9 billion has been poured into gaming and metaverse including blockchain infrastructure as well as guilds and incubators to boost gaming, according to a report by DApp Radar, a tracker for decentralised applications.
Andreessen Horowitz, the backer of Axie Infinity, announced a $600 million Game One Fund “dedicated to building the future of the games industry” in May.
There has also been criticism about the future potential of such games.