The gaming sector has never been hotter or had higher expectations from investors who throw billions into startups that can adapt to tides faster than the existing giants want.
Bay Area-based Manticore Games is one of the gaming platforms in other teams that wants to build on the market’s speed. The startup tells TechCrunch that they have closed a $ 100 million Series C funding round, bringing the total funding to $ 160 million. The round was led by XN, with participation from SoftBank and LVP together with existing investors Benchmark, Bitkraft, Correlation Ventures and Epic Games.
When Manticore closed Series B back in September 2019, VCs began to take Roblox and the gaming sector more seriously, but it took the pandemic to beat to truly expand market expectations. “Games are now a super category,”
Manticore’s Core gaming platform is quite similar to Roblox conceptually, the big difference is that the gaming company aims to quickly scale up a gaming and creative platform aimed at 13+ audiences who may have already left Roblox. The challenge will be to lure that demographic faster than Roblox can expand its own ambitions, and do so while other venture-backed game launches such as Rec Room, which recently rose to $ 1.2 billion, are running at the same price.
Like other players, Manticore tries to build a game discovery platform directly into a game engine. They have not built engine technology from scratch; they have worked closely with Epic Games, which makes Unreal Engine and invested $ 15 million in the company last year.
A major focus on the Core platform is to provide creators with a true drag-and-drop platform for game creation with a specific focus on “remixing”, allowing users to select predefined environments, drop pre-directed 3D assets into them, select a game mode and publish it online. For creators looking to inject new mechanics or assets into a title, technical knowledge will be required, but Manticore’s team hopes that making entry barriers low for new creators means they can grow alongside the platform. Manticore’s great effort is on the flexibility of their engine, and hopes that creators will come on board to have the opportunity to design their own mechanics or create their own path to revenue generation, something established app stores would not allow them to.
The creators can implement their own styles of [in-app purchases] and what we are really hoping for here is that maybe the next combat pass-equivalent innovation will come out of this, says co-founder Jordan Maynard.
All this costs extra; developers earn 50% of the revenue from their games, leaving more potential revenue locked in fees directed to the platforms that Manticore relies on, than if they built directly for the App Store, but this revenue sharing is still much friendlier to creators than what they can earn on platforms like Roblox.
Building secondary gaming platforms across platforms hosts many of its own challenges. The platforms involved must not only handle the stacking of revenue tax on non-PC platforms, but some hardware platforms that are reluctant to allow them all, an area where Sony has been a special sticker with PlayStation. The long-term success of these platforms may ultimately rely on greater independence, which seems difficult to imagine happening on consoles and mobile ecosystems.