Yomi Games has raised a $2 million seed to build the casual play and earn ecosystem

Yomi Games has raised a $2 million seed round to fund its vision of developing social, casual, and play-and-earn blockchain games. The developer recently launched its first non-fungible token (NFT) collection, Oni Squad, and an accompanying mini-game, Oni Mansion. The Oni Squad collection consists of 6,666 hand-drawn generative Onis (ghosts) that were also playable assets in Oni Mansion.

In-game screenshot of a completed Oni mansion that was minted as an NFT

Oni Squad’s NFT collection launched as a free mint in late January, and reached 300 ETH (> $1m USD at the time) in trading volume on its first day. It was among the top traded collections on OpenSea at the time, particularly notable given it cost early adopters $0 to acquire the assets.

The Oni Mansion game, a casual game where players collaborate to customize and build their own NFT mansion, also featured a free NFT mint on Ethereum. Players participated in daily missions to share, visit, and leave messages at each other’s mansions. As they completed missions, they earned tokens to buy new traits to upgrade their mansion. In this way, the overall rarity scheme constantly evolved as players updated their mansions and unlocked new traits.

The game also innovated by enabling several external Ethereum-based NFT collections to play the game as well. Oni Mansion was one of the first games to feature interactive interoperability across NFT projects on multiple different blockchains (Ethereum & Polygon), without requiring assets to be bridged between them.

Yomi Games aims to be the “Zynga of Crypto” by focusing on casual and social gameplay catering to players new to blockchain and crypto gaming. Future games will be mobile-first, widely accessible, and emphasize easy onboarding for players new to crypto.

Pavan Katepalli, Yomi Games CEO, said in a statement that this emphasis on player inclusivity is what differentiates Yomi from its competitors. “We believe player-owned economies, enabled by blockchain technology, are the future of gaming. We want all of our games to be as accessible as possible to the broadest audience and onboard people new to digital collectibles and gaming NFTs. Current crypto games and NFT projects are gated by high purchase barriers to entry, but we believe eventually the most successful games will meld free-to-play and play-and-earn mechanics.”

“What got me excited about Yomi was that they were of the first games that leveraged the inherent composability of NFTs to bring other NFT collections in-game, creating a third place whereby these communities can interact via a collaborative and social gameplay experience. The team also brings the perfect mix of web2 and web3 operating experience to onramp the next millions of players into this new paradigm via games.” – Jerry Lu, Principal at Maveron

Participants in the round include Hypersphere Ventures, Infinity Ventures Crypto (IVC), Sfermion, Cultur3 Capital (early Axie Infinity investors), Maveron, Momentum 6, and Taureon. Yomi Games’ angel investors include Kevin Lin (co-founder, Twitch), Dan Dinh (co-founder, TSM FTX), Thomas Vu (Riot Games), Alex Chung (founder, Giphy), Dan Sommer (founder, Trilogy Education), Mike Ouye (Cloud 9), Don Ho (Quantstamp), Hubert Thieblot (Twitch), Jeff Kuan (Terraform Labs), and others.