12 Feb — 18 Feb / 2024

Weekly News Digest #7


# of announced deals
announced deals’ size
# of closed deals

Infinite Reality Acquires Ethereal Engine for $75m


Infinite Reality Acquires Ethereal Engine

Infinite Reality Acquires Ethereal Engine for $75m

US-based web3 metaverse experience company Infinite Reality has acquired US-based tech company Ethereal Engine for $75m. The consideration is paid entirely in shares.

Founded in 2020, Ethereal Engine is the company behind an open-source 3D web engine. It enables developers to construct browser-based games and interactive experiences, incorporating features like voice, video, and expressive avatars for better social interaction.

The acquisition will combine 29 of Ethereal Engine’s employees with 106 people of Infinite Reality. Together, they will keep working on a no-code SaaS platform for brands to create their own experiences with Ethereal Engine implemented into the existing solution of Infinite Reality.

The deal valued Infinite Reality at $2.5B, 35% higher than the $1.85B valuation targeted by the company in Dec’22. Infinite Reality then announced it would go public via SPAC, merging with Newbury Street Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: NBST). Though the deal is not yet closed, the new valuation implies that Infinite Reality secured and overperformed the stated valuation. But in reality, the acquisition brought back Infinite Reaity’s valuation secured back in Jul’22 after the $470m acquisition of esports company ReKTGlobal.

Nevertheless, going public in the current market will likely become a great challenge for Infinite Reality. The story of the esports company FaZe Clan is the best demonstration of that. Back in Oct’21, FaZe Clan initially planned to go public via SPAC at $1B, but when the deal was finally closed in Jul’22, the valuation turned out to be $725m. But that was just the beginning. Since going public, the company’s valuation had drastically declined to $15.8m in Oct’23, when GameSquare acquired the company for $18.5m.

This is an exaggerated example, of course, but it highlights the challenges of going public, especially when the market is down. In our latest Global Gaming Deals Activity Report 2023 , we documented the challenges of the public market and IPOs being paused for quite some time.

Publicofferings QuartersDeals Activity for Platform & Tech segment. Source: InvestGame

Still, we are not predicting the fate of FaZe for Infinite Reality. The esports market is one of the most demanding sectors today, and such a decline reflects the challenges of the whole business model. Meanwhile, Infinite Reality focuses on technologies and infrastructure, making the prospects of going public safer.

Though the Platform & Tech segment is also going through a post-pandemic decline, this acquisition makes Q1’24 compatible with the three previous quarters for the sector. Such market decline might be linked to the increasing difficulty of attracting an audience. Nonetheless, the segment is still active, with AI technologies attracting more investors and inspiring new startups.

Platform&tech QuartersPublic Offerings dynamics in the gaming industry. Source: InvestGame

Be sure to look at the full Report by inserting your email below.

We want to thank MGVC and Xsolla for supporting this digest.

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US-based web3 game developer Overworld has raised $10m in a Seed funding round led by HashedThe Spartan GroupSanctor Capital, and Galaxy Interactive, with participation from HashkeyBig Brain Holdings, and Foresight Ventures . The developer had previously raised $2.5m in funding from Xterio , which currently acts as a publishing partner of Overworld. Funds will fuel the development of its anime-inspired F2P action RPG, the title of which is yet to be disclosed. Despite adding web3 features, the studio aims for mainstream appeal in the gaming space.

US-based tech company Aghanim, formed by three former Xsolla executives, has raised an undisclosed sum from Bessemer Venture PartnersQED InvestorsPoint72 Ventures, and a16z Games Speedrun, entering the direct-to-consumer market. The company offers integrated commerce, LiveOps automation, and a mobile-first billing engine. Aghanim aims to empower studios with standalone game hubs, reducing reliance on traditional distribution channels.