On November 16th, the number one player in the crypto game field a16z announced. In order to support the next generation of game startups and cross-industry verticals (social, web3), a16z has introduced two newest general partners (GP). Jonathan Lai and James Gwertzman. They will work with Andrew Chen as the consumer investment team GP.
The two newest general partners
Jonathan is the product team of Riot Games, where he participated in the company’s flagship game “League of Legends”. Its global players exceed 100 million. As an early employee, he released the Riot Games API and witnessed the rise of games as the premier e-sports asset and cultural force. After Riot Games was acquired by Tencent. Jon transferred to Tencent in 2015 and led Tencent’s North American game investment team. Cooperate with Epic Games, Discord, Klei, Proletariat and other companies. He is a board member of Mountaintop, Raid Base, Singularity 6, etc.
James is a serial entrepreneur who founded PlayFab. Provides a cloud backend for some of the most famous games in the world. PlayFab becomes part of Azure. Today there are billions of player accounts used in thousands of games.
PlayFab previously founded two game studios. One of them was acquired by PopCap. There he developed the “Plants vs. Zombies” game. At PopCap, James developed their Asian business. And opened a large studio in Shanghai. Focus on developing free variants of PvZ and other PopCap games for the Asian market. Under his leadership, PopCap is one of the most successful Western game companies to penetrate the Chinese market.
Jonathan Lai and James Gwertzman also shared on Twitter. Why did they choose a16z and their understanding of encrypted game.
- Why is it a game? Gaming is the passion of a lifetime for me-growing up in a rural town, gaming is where I find friends, status and greater opportunities.In 2012, I was fortunate enough to find a job in the gaming industry as a product manager at RiotGames, and I have never looked back since.
- Games are also misunderstood by investors to a large extent-most people think that games are a kind of entertainment, but they have grown to more. Today’s games are social networks such as Fortnitegame, creator economy such as roblox, employment platforms such as axie infinity, and more, all of which are the building blocks of Metaverse.
- Part of the challenge is that games are not easy to understand for outsiders in the industry. As the alchemy of art and technology, “finding fun” in games is as important to success as building a scalable back-end or virtual economy.
- This is why I am very happy to form a team with James, who is a serial entrepreneur of two iconic game companies, Azure PlayFab and popcap. We spent a few hours researching our favorite games and the challenges faced by gaming startups, and I know the founder will also like to work with him.
- With the emergence of new technologies and business models, this is a magical moment in today’s game industry. The game team at a16z is ready-we are very excited to serve the next generation of founders. Let’s build it!
Crypto games in the early days
In September 2021. Jonathan Lai said after comparing Axie Infinity, Diablo, EveOnline and CSGO games. I am very optimistic about crypto game and believe that crypto game are still in the early stages. There are still many things that need to be figured out. But there are also many game developers who can learn from previous games. Because the advantages of both parties can be combined.
- My career has been supporting game developers, first in creativity, then PlayFab’s back-end services, and most recently at Microsoft. I am very excited about the new chapter in a16z and serve creators more directly in terms of investment!
- There has never been a more exciting moment than a game. Cryptocurrency and NFT are bringing a large number of smart new talents to this field. Game technology and game developers will build the metaverse.
- I look forward to bringing my background in game infrastructure to Jonathan Lai. I focus on games, and Andrew Chen, who focuses on social.