Overwolf raises $52.5M for its platform to build, distribute and monetize in-game user-generated content – TechCrunch

Gaming company Roblox, which went public This month with a strong start, Replaced the game (so to speak) for the role that creative input can play in making the game more loving, more engaging, and much more Entrepreneur. Today, a startup that is taking a version of that model – focused on in-game apps and modifications – is announcing some funding and the launch of a new toolkit to double that opportunity.

Today, a startup is called Overwolf, Which has created a popular platform for gaming fans to build modifications and mods for all types of PC games, announcing $ 52.5 million in development funds and a new content creation SDK. The introduction of – underscores its development and demand in the market to bring more user-generated content variations, especially in the gaming universe.

The company’s platform has some 30,000 creators, 90,000 mods and add-ons, and 18 million monthly users across thousands of games, including Fortnite, World of Warcraft and Minecraft. Over the last year, which has seen an increase in gaming activity as more people stay indoors during the epidemic, Overwolf’s revenue has risen by 300%.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Uri Marchand, CEO and co-founder of Tel Aviv-based Overwolf, said, “We want to be YouTube for YouTubers.” “Just as YouTube is a one-stop shop for videos, we want to be a one-stop shop for creating apps and mods.”

Series C is being led by Insight Partners and Griffin Gaming Partners, a VC who specialize in gaming content. Other investors in the round include Ubisoft, Warner Music Group, Meg Whitman and General G-Co-Founder Kevin Chow. The valuation is not being disclosed.

Crucially, with funding, Overwolf is introducing a new service, called CurseForge Core, an SDK that can be integrated directly into a game to make it easier for gaming enthusiasts and developers So that users can generate content for it. Curseforge Core is essentially the next iteration of Curseforge, which is Overwolf’s mods platform Last year, Amazon acquired Twitch For an undisclosed sum.

Buyers and acquaintances are building a close relationship here, with even Overwolf preferring to work with others, such as Discord, which creates a large ecosystem of communication and activity between gamers outside of the game’s core experience. . on one’s own.

Prior to launching this SDK, Overwolf had already built a large community of users – on its own Steam and through the acquisition of CurseForge. At this time it focuses solely on PC games, with plans to expand its reach to other platforms including Mac, console games and mobile gaming next year.

The difference in the market that Overwolf has identified and made is the demand from avid gamers for more tools to improve their game experience, sometimes very specific ones that may not be core to everyone’s experience, But certainly enough are wanted by people to the best of their ability. Creation.

This could be, for example, maps to navigate your way around a game, or dashboards or leaderboards to better keep track of the various stats of characters and other players, tools to modify characters, or App to communicate with other players while you’re inside. A game. Marchand says that he first came to this world himself as a mod maker, years ago creating a Skype app for the world of Victor.

“We are ready to create mods and additions to create a platform for others by creating mods,” he said. “When you think of all the aspects that need to be addressed – they include telemetry, interactive UI, analytics, installers – they can be very complex. So we provided the platform necessary to help developers find it. “

While game developers may have a very specific vision of how they want their game to look, as Marchand told me, it’s a big part of the PC gaming culture to make them unique about those experiences. Is able to play with. To each player. But handling the work of third-party ecosystems is usually not within their core competencies.

“The scale and diversity of that material is impossible for the game maker to capture and do,” Marchand said. “History has proved that game makers want to encourage UGC, so they can’t do it and that’s why we exist.”

Even if building the SDK that sits inside the game is a logical next step, it also represents a kind of increased trust between Overwolf and the game publishers.

Overwolf is developing the Holy Grail of Publishers for UGC for both publishers and in-game creators. To allow all major publishers like us to manufacture mods in an active, secure, authorized and profitable manner; Is a game changer for all creators and IP holders, ”said Oscar Navarro, head of corporate development for Ubisoft.

Indeed, tradeoffs are more tools for game publishers to potentially engage users. The SDK will cover tools such as cross-platform modding for players to find and install in-game across all platforms and storefronts; An analytics dashboard has better visibility into how well the various mods are performing; Moderation tools to better serve third-party content; Monetization tool to bring in more creators. Along with other platforms that encourage creators, these include an author award program, fund investment, developer competition, and hackathons.

“We have been following UGC in gaming for many years and believe Overwolf has established itself as a leader in this category,” Teddy Verdi, MD of Insight Partners, said in a statement. “AAA wants to allow game studios to create and express themselves, and Overwolf is positioned as a platform to ensure that creators are recognized for their contributions, And the creations are easily integrated into the games. Overwolf has proven itself to be a strong champion of the producer community and we look forward to helping them in 2021. “

Financial incentives will continue for these creators, who today take most of their money not from paid mods and apps, but from in-mod or in-app advertising, which is run by Overwolf. Marchand said that the most successful developers can bring in $ 100,000 in revenue each month.

While Marchand prefers Overwolf to YouTube, investors see a parallel in Unity, another major toolkit for the game developer community.

“Similar to how developers use Unity to create a game, we see Overwulf as a framework for all things UGC related to games. Overwulf allows for one of the only means of demonetization for thousands of creators, in turn, translating to increased engagement for publishers and more content for gamers. Services like Overwolf set the stage for the industry to see a new generation of user-generated content and we are excited to invest in leading the company to advance this space, ”Griffin Gaming Partners and Managing Director Co-founder Nick Tusto commented. Liontree, in a statement.