Azarus has raised $1.8 million from some well-known investors to build out its blockchain-based “Smart Challenge” platform, which offers gamers the ability to compete for digital assets in both casual and competitive gaming challenges.
The money comes from from Galaxy Digital via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund, Kleiner Perkins, and SVK Crypto, among others. Launched in late 2018, Azarus’s “Smart Challenge” platform motivates players by using in-game applications programing interface (API) data and information pulled from Twitch extensions to measure victory conditions in online games, paying out rewards to the victors and theirs fans alike.
Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, said in an interview with GamesBeat that retention and engagement are critical in successful online games. The Azarus challenge and reward platform gives players a bigger stake in what is happening in the game.
The “Smart Challenge” platform empowers users to create their own rules and challenges, the terms of which are notarized on the EOSIO blockchain in order to maximize transparency and fairness. (Blockchain is a transparent and secure decentralized ledger that powers innovations such as cryptocurrency or supply chain security).
“I like blockchain and competition, and I like the brand approach as well. I knew [cofounder] Erik [Whiteford] when he was at EA Sports and Madden. He hosted the Madden tournament at the Super Bowl for multiple years. I trust his nose for bringing competition to gamers,” said Gordon. “He has been doing high-level, head-to-head esports since the 1990s.”
Viewers and players earn AZA credits by watching Azarus-enabled amateur and professional esports streams and answering historical or predictive questions based on the broadcasts. AZAs can be redeemed at the Azarus Marketplace in exchange for rare in-game items, in-game currencies, digital assets, and more.
“Azarus’ implementation of blockchain tech and the EOSIO protocol is precisely what we look to invest in from the Galaxy EOS VC Fund: a scalable and consumer-friendly gaming platform that demonstrates the promise of blockchain technology,” said Sam Englebardt, cofounder of Galaxy Digital and the firm’s co-head of principal Investments, in a statement. “We have tremendous confidence in the team’s vision and ability to execute.”