Gabriel Leydon Makes Comeback with $200M Funding for New Blockchain Game Company Limit Break

The former co-founder and CEO of Machine Zone is creating a blockchain-based “free-to-own” game.
Image source: Critical Path

Quick take:

  • Gabriel Leydon raised $200 million for his new blockchain game company, Limit Break.
  • He teamed up with Machine Zone co-founder, Halbert Nakagawa, to create a new blockchain game.
  • The game will be “free-to-mint” to build a big community of fans from the start.

Gabriel Leydon, the former co-founder and CEO of free-to-play mobile gaming and tech company Machine Zone, is making a comeback with a new blockchain game company called Limit Break, as first reported by GamesBeat.

Once known as “the man on the Iron Throne of gaming”, Leydon has raised $200 million for Limit Break. The funds were secured last year from Buckley Ventures, Paradigm, FTX, CoinBase Ventures, Shervin Pishevar, Anthos Capital, SV Angel and Standard Crypto. Pishever and Anthos Capital previously invested in Machine Zone.

Leydon left Machine Zone in 2018 to explore cryptocurrencies and sold Machine Zone in 2020 to AppLovin for $600 million. Last August, he teamed up with Machine Zone co-founder Halbert Nakagawa to create a new blockchain game which will be “free-to-mint” and “free-to-own”.

“Our focus is on a what I believe is going to replace ‘free to play’ with something I call ‘free to own’ games,” Leydon said in an interview with GamesBeat. Despite the popularity of play-to-earn games, Limit Break is eschewing that model by giving away free NFTs to players from the start. Leydon told GamesBeat that the free-to-own model can reduce scam-like behaviour in the blockchain gaming space, where game studios sell NFTs but fail to deliver games.

Not only does Leydon want to turn fans into evangelists for the game that Limit Break is developing with free NFTs, but he also he believes that the free-to-mint model could “wipe out” the free-to-play and play-to-earn games.

Eliminating free-to-play could prove difficult as the business model generates $120 billion in annual revenue—more than half of all game revenues, according to GamesBeat. However, Leydon is optimistic about it.

Speaking to GamesBeat, Leydon said: “If you match free to play up against free to own, there’s no way for free to play survive. I don’t see how anybody goes back to free-to-play after that. Free to play is download the game for free by a bunch of virtual items that you can’t own essentially. We’re completely reinventing the game industry.”

Details on Limit Break’s new game are scarce, but the studio is sharing free NFTs with early fans who can sell their digital assets on NFT marketplaces. Limit Break will also keep an undisclosed percentage of the NFTs for itself. If the NFTs become valuable, Limit Break could sell them at market prices – alongside the ones being sold by the fans – to generate revenue.

Earlier this month, Limit Break gave out its first NFT collection, named DigiDaigaku Genesis. The collection consists of 2022 cute female anime characters who “live in a mysterious world unknown to outsiders.” Currently, the collection has a floor price of 13 ETH on OpenSea.

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