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Play & Earn Metaverse Game & Esports Developer Atmos Labs recently raised $11 million in seed funding for Atmos, a competition-based virtual world set in a sci-fi universe.
The game is designed to accelerate the advent of metaverse native sports where you feel like you are in a sports broadcast with fans cheering you on. It’s like a mix of sports and esports.
You can think of the image of flying around without gravity in Ender’s Game. In Orson Scott Card’s famous sci-fi novel, teams competed against each other in a zero-gravity space. That’s one of the inspirations for Atmos, said Dylan Bushnell, vice president of game design at Atmos Labs, in an interview with GamesBeat. And they want this experience to be better than a real-life sport.
“I don’t want to go to a basketball game. I want to put myself in the battle room in Ender’s Game,” said Bushnell, the son of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell.
In this case, it’s not exactly Ender’s Game. It is a kind of 3D racing and flying game with wearable exosuits that resemble vehicle skins. You definitely need to be able to deliver superhuman performances in these kinds of games.
“If you’re not limited by what a human can do, you shouldn’t be limited by what a human can do,” said Kevin Beauregard, CEO of Atmos Lab, in an interview with GamesBeat. “What we wanted to do was build games like Ender’s Game, and like Quidditch and Harry Potter. They are contextual to the world in which they are experienced, and have a deep history and lore built around them. We think that someone who is a sports fan, but who is not currently an esports fan, can step in and get excited about it because they understand what is happening. †
In some ways, Atmos builds a game like the virtual reality title EchoVR, except not in virtual reality.
“We wanted to answer this question: ‘When you’re on the pitch at a Lakers game in the metaverse, where are you anyway? What do you see? Who’s playing? And what are they playing?” said Beauregard. “Because it’s not basketball. And that was the starting point for how we could build a world where contextual metaverse indigenous sports can exist. And eventually we decided to build an entire world around that.”
Sfermion led the round, including investors Animoca Brands, Collab+Currency, FBG Capital, Alumni Ventures, RedBeard Ventures, DWeb3, LD Capital, GSR Markets Limited, CoinGecko Ventures, Avocado Guild, UniX Gaming and more.
“Atmos delivers a refreshing blend of stunning aesthetics, competition and a true digital economy, all while maintaining that commitment to true ownership of the world’s assets,” said Andrew Steinwold, managing partner of co-lead investor Sfermion. “The Atmos Labs founding team has brought together an incredibly talented group that you would expect from a company many times its age, from game design and mechanics to creative development.”
The funding will be used to build the foundation for the Atmos virtual game world, grow the community and expand the Atmos team.
To date, competitive sports in virtual environments have enjoyed limited global adoption and have failed to definitively refute criticisms from skeptics, such as doubts about viewer legitimacy and exclusive definitions of the term “sport.”
With the advent of virtual reality spaces powered by blockchain technology, DeFi and NFTs – the “metaverse” – ancient notions of gaming and sports are being turned upside down, putting the gamer and even the spectator at the center. are in the ecosystem.
One of the things the team wants to do is bring the sophistication and fidelity of professional sports camera work to video games.
“Obviously we’ve seen this big surge in Twitch and streaming over the past few years. And I don’t think our cameras have caught up at all,” Bushnell said. “I would like some more dynamic cameras.”
The company has 18 employees. Although it is small, the team does some interesting things. It has created a nine-issue comic book from Tommy Lee Edwards and other well-known comic book creators. That captures the backstory and lore of the world.
“That’s one of the great sides of sport,” Beauregard said. “Those specific stories and moments in sport arise. We love this idea of emerging storytelling, combining what users do within Atmos with these other media.”
Atmos, a new play-and-earn metaverse, builds an immersive experience that will link an esports component to the fandom and sense of belonging associated with conventional sports in a new virtual universe.
Aiming to ignite the metaverse-native sports category, the game and story are built by veteran veterans of gaming, crypto, automotive, industrial design, comic books, film, and more. Through NFTs, DeFi and the principles of the emerging metaverse, Atmos players will not only play, but actually own their gear, teams, identities and moments.
The next evolution
For Beauregard, Atmos is the next evolution of gaming.
“People will gather around the spectacle of competition in the metaverse, just as they do in the physical world. We are building metaverse-native sports and entertainment,” he said. “A category that we believe will bring excitement and content to the metaverse concept written big.”
I asked who would be the main audience.
“The honest answer is that we both want people who are native gamers, and we want people who are crypto natives,” Beauregard said. “We want to make sure we bridge that gap. We want to build high quality gameplay first. Blockchain is a tool, something we can use to build better.”
Bushnell added: “We are committed to building a world where players can generate value from gameplay, own and trade interoperable assets in non-exclusive markets, and control the ecosystems they have helped create. Importantly, aside from all the blockchain-related integrations, the games we develop can stand on their own.”
Beauregard, who once played semi-professional hockey for the Louisiana Ice Gators of the Southern Pro Hockey League, has a passion for sports and competition. and he has long been involved in the development of blockchain and decentralized financial DeFi. The company started in 2021 and was incubated within Bloq, a company that focuses on infrastructure and applications for Web3.
Beauregard has been building non-fungible tokens (NFT) and decentralized financing since 2016.
“It comes down to protecting players and player property,” he said. “What NFTs and DeFi unlock is user protection. It’s ownership rights within our game in our ecosystem, and it makes sure the player has them. That doesn’t mean there aren’t rules. It means the user owns what he owns in the game.”
In the coming months, Atmos will launch a transmedia campaign to outline and explore the canonical lore and drop a first large number of playable items. The company is targeting a closed alpha for early adopters in the fourth quarter.
The creators hope there will be several buckets of experiences that will draw people into the gameplay, whether you want to be a competitive gamer or a spectator. Or they can focus on tinkering.
The title will be a competitive flight-based racing game.
“Our goal is to recreate the experience of a triple-A racing game in 3D space,” Bushnell said. “We have not really seen such a world. Plus, our crafting system is super advanced. We’re basically taking the breeding systems you find in many crypto-based games and adapting that into a more conventional asset-modification system.
The suits that players build are made up of modular fabricated parts. So players have a lot of freedom to adjust their colors. Beauregard sees the exosuits as portable vehicles.
“A lot of inspiration came from car design in terms of how those parts fit together,” he said.
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