Seattle’s Neon Machine has secured $20 million in Series A funding, helmed by Polychain Capital, to advance development of its blockchain-integrated shooter game, “Shrapnel.”

Seattle-based game studio Neon Machine recently announced a $20 million influx from Series A funding led by Polychain Capital with participation from Griffin Gaming Partners, Brevan Howard Digital, Franklin Templeton, IOSG Ventures and Tess Ventures.

The funding is earmarked for the continued development of “Shrapnel,” a first-person shooter game, at what the company identifies as a “critical time,” as they gear up to release an early-access version in December, with a full launch slated for 2024.

Originally part of HBO Interactive, Neon Machine has established itself independently, amassing $37.5 million in funding from various rounds since its inception. The company boasts a workforce of over 70 employees, according to CEO Mark Long, and has diversified its portfolio, venturing into comic books and launching a PFP NFT collection in the previous year.

“Shrapnel” is set to offer a blend of solo and team-based gameplay, with a significant emphasis on user-generated content (UGC). The game’s innovative approach allows players to create in-game items using the studio’s technology, which can then be minted as NFTs. This feature, along with the integration of blockchain technology for asset ownership, represents a foray into relatively uncharted territories in gaming.

The game’s reliance on blockchain and NFTs does raise questions however about the game’s accessibility and the potential for a steep learning curve for players unfamiliar with these technologies. Furthermore, the volatile nature of the crypto market could pose risks to the in-game economy, potentially alienating players and undermining the game’s long-term stability.

Despite these concerns, the recent funding round indicates investor confidence in Neon Machine’s vision. The inclusion of notable venture partners suggests a belief in the potential of combining blockchain technology with gaming.

It remains to be seen how the team will navigate the complexities of this integration and whether it will resonate with the broader gaming community.


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