Interested in learning what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Learn more.
Bravo Ready has raised $3 million to develop BR1: Infinite Royale, a never-ending battle royale game that uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The skill-based game uses a “win-to-earn” model, where players wager money to enter a battle royale match and earn tokens for each kill that they get.
The title marries NFT technology and smart contract automation. The investors include Solana Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, Shima Capital, and Fractal CEO Justin Kan. The funding will be used to accelerate game and software development.
BR1: Infinite Royale is a risk-based shooter, where players pay $1 to spawn in the game. They can earn tokens in Solana’s SOL cryptocurrency for every kill that they get.
“Once you start betting on your performance in a game, you never get the same level of thrill unless you always have that associated level of financial risk,” said Evan Ryer, CEO of Montreal-based Bravo Ready, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“This isn’t just a new game – it’s a new way to game. It fundamentally reinvents the financial side of being a player,” Ryer said. “Our mission is to be at the crossroads of great games that people love and a business model that will drive value for all stakeholders, whether you are a gamer, audience member, content creator or game investor, the BR1 ecosystem is designed to drive incentive and reward all while creating a truly next level gaming experience.”
The Montreal company has 18 employees and it started about two years ago in the beginning of the pandemic. The team is spread out.
“We at Solana Ventures are very proud to back Bravo Ready and BR1: Infinite Royale, one of the first shooter games to go live on Solana,” said Justin Barlow, a senior associate at Solana Ventures who led the deal for BR1 and is also advising the BR1 team. “BR1 has introduced an action-packed game that is redefining the rules of the battle royale genre and combining utility-based NFTs with high-quality artwork and graphics. We look forward to supporting the BR1 team in their mission to bring Solana games to the masses.”
“Combining risk-based tokenomics with functional NFT characters and assets, BR1 is redefining what it means to be a blockchain-enabled game and elevating the much-needed industry standards,” according to Yida Gao, general partner at Shima Capital, in a statement. “We infrequently see a team ship quality product as quickly as BR1 and are excited to roll up our sleeves to support the founders and entire team in its next phase of growth.”
Serge Kassardjian, a general partner at 6th Man Ventures, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to back BR1 because the gameplay and economy was unlike anything we have seen in the play-to-earn ecosystem to date. The passion of the community is incredible, and is only outdone by the passion of the founders for the game. They are building a new and exciting way to change battle games, and we could not be more excited to watch this team build and change play-to-earn gaming.”
How it started
Ryer got himself an accounting degree but wasn’t really crazy about it. Instead, he had put thousands of hours into gaming. One of his clients hired him to optimize a Bitcoin mine from a cost accounting point of view.
“At a young age, I got this great opportunity to buy a bunch of graphics cards for pennies on the dollar,” he said. “And I tried to build a cloud gaming solution and had these huge aspirations. And let me tell you, I got eaten alive by the likes of like Google Stadia and Shadow and GeForce Now. I barely got out with the skin on my back.”
Then he started a company with his best friend where they automatically tracked a player’s performance in video games and enabled them to bet on their performance with automatic payouts. The social gaming company grew from his basement to the Toronto Stock Exchange and he sold it to React Gaming.
“It was a hell of an experience,” Ryer said.
He used the funds to start a Web3 gaming company called Bravo Ready.
“This company was based on a real value proposition that was missing in video gaming when I grew up, which was liquidity and provably fair items,” he said.
He grew up playing games like World of Warcraft and RuneScape. But the problem in these games is items weren’t truly scarce. They weren’t provably fair, he said. Companies had no way to record how many copies of a sword existed, and didn’t have a way to get liquidity.
“I hated that I spent thousands of hours in these games, and I had this character I built or these items and it was a waste of time,” he said.
How the game works
The company released the alpha version of its game in January, before releasing any NFTs.
The game has no timer or start time or finish time. You pay to spawn and you start at the edge of the map. Up to 300 players can exist on the map. You work your way toward the center to find better access to weapons, ammo, and equipment. The topography limits your ability to go back to the edge, and so it forces a concentration of players at the center of the map, where the real looting and shooting get under way.
When you eliminate another player, you get either their spawn fee or the greater of 10% of their total stack. When you are eliminated, you retain 85% of your earnings. Then you have to pay to spawn again.
The game has no start or finish because players can spawn in at any time, and the map is a giant island that supports hundreds of players who spawn on the edges and work their way toward the center. Survival-style gameplay places new characters far from other players with little access to items such as weapons, ammo, consumables or equipment, but towards the center of the island they encounter a higher frequency of players and items.
One of Bravo Ready’s key innovations is a generative character-rendering pipeline to produce an infinite number of unique characters. By using a proprietary pathway for randomizing textures, colors and designs, each mesh in the character model is given its own unique sequence of combinations. Once those characters have been generated, the collection is complete and renders those characters in-game for each owner of the NFT.
Will gamers go for it?
It isn’t the best-looking shooter game, but it is aimed at hardcore players.
Ryer said he has been thinking a lot about why hardcore gamers appear to be against NFTs and consider them to be scams. He thinks players who are getting older are still going to play video games, but they’re going to be looking for more thrills — the kind that comes with financial risks. His game is designed for them.
“This is a new type of game and with it comes the burden of education,” he said. “If I know it exists, based on the value of my speculative time, I’m going to want to commit financial risks and participate in them. When it comes to the game that we’re building, it is designed for an aging demographic. We understand we have the burden of bringing in real gamers.”
Over the next year, Ryer believes that the crypto infrastructure builders will deliver ease of use when it comes to wallets and other technical hurdles that stop people from playing now.
The NFTs add a different kind of utility. The company is going to be selling 10,000 NFTs that allow players to enter matches. You can rent one of these NFTs and enter a game for the cost of 10 cents. That’s a pretty low rental fee compared to the $1 entry fee. People with multiple operatives can rent them out to other players, and they get a share of the proceeds. That creates excitement for the game and helps with user acquisition, he said.
“Other players can come and play my game. And you’re getting paid to help them accomplish that,” Ryer said.
To help the game grow, the company worked out some deals with gamer guilds in the blockchain gaming space.
“If you’re good at this game, you’re getting paid to play,” Ryer said, noting that this works well for streamers in particular. “Your audience loves that this is a financial risk-based game.”
Jon Cohen, CTO of Bravo Ready, said in a statement, “In Web3 gaming, the game always needs to come first and the economic model has to support the game. Providing tangible value for the time players spend in video games requires people to want to spend their time playing that game on a daily or weekly basis. Without a fun game that appeals to a wide audience, the most well thought out economic model will crumble under small demand.”
Ryer emphasized the game’s uniqueness.
“Nobody’s experienced a game like this before,” Ryer said. “And our game has your heart beating on the outside of your chest. You spawn the equivalent of you’re like playing poker on your tail pocket aces immediately. The only difference is if you lose this hand, you’re keeping 85%.”
The game calculates your earnings and sends them to you immediately. It’s like an old arcade machine that spits out tickets. The map is pretty big for the 300 players, and so it has a smaller 50-person freemium version that the company will use to acquire users.
The company is using the Solana blockchain as it is more energy-efficient and could handle more transactions. As for the players, Ryer said the people playing in this space today are not gamers. They’re more like speculators and NFT buyers.
“We have the burden of bringing in real gamers into the space and we’re excited about it,” Ryer said. . “We’re at the frontier. That’s the landscape as it stands right now in Web3 games.”
To play the game, visit https://discord.com/invite/br1metaverse.
GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn more about membership.