Gaming Startup GOALS Raises $15M to Build an NFT-Based Alternative to FIFA

Investors include FC Barcelona star Gerard Pique, Axie Infinity co-founder and COO Aleksander Larsen and Sorare co-founder, Nicolas Julia.
Image source: GOALS

Quick take:

  • GOALS will not be licensing real-life football players for the game.
  • GOALS will take an arcade-like approach to appeal to a broader audience.
  • Players will be able to cash out in-game assets for real money.

Swedish gaming startup GOALS has just raised a $15 million seed round to build an NFT-based alternative to FIFA. The round was led by Northzone, with participation from previous investors Cherry Ventures, Moonfire Ventures and Banana Capital. 

High profile angel investors also participated in the round, including FC Barcelona star Gerard Pique, Axie Infinity co-founder and COO Aleksander Larsen and the Sorare co-founder, Nicolas Julia. 

GOALS revealed its game design today. It will be a free-to-play multiplayer desktop and mobile football game where users can earn and own NFT in-game assets. Unlike FIFA, GOALS will not be licensing real-life football players due to the enormous cost.

Co-founder and CEO Andreas Thorstensson has plans to knock FIFA off its monopoly position in football video games. He told Sifted that FIFA is “not innovating in terms of gameplay” and is “ focusing on revenues”.

“That’s where a startup has the chance to actually beat them. But we want to do things a little bit differently,” Thorstensson told Sifted.

GOALS is sacrificing the realistic, high-definition gameplay of FIFA for a more arcade-like approach to its game. This is so that the game can appeal to a wider audience instead of just die-hard football fans.

While both FIFA and GOALS allow players to earn and buy in-game assets, GOALS plans to give players the option of cashing out the in-game assets for real money, which isn’t possible on FIFA. 

Besides taking a different approach to FIFA, GOALS also differs from most blockchain games which are play-to-earn. The game runs on a play-and-own model in which players can earn and fully own their NFTs for free while playing. Players can also buy assets from other users, on the GOALS marketplace or from supported third-party platforms.

To minimise friction as GOALS aims to onboard millions of users to the game, the platform will set up a custodial wallet for users via its security-audited identity provider so that users don’t have to learn about blockchain, wallets, private keys and pay gas fees to start playing the game.

GOALS has already amassed a community of 8,000 members on its Discord, where fans can have access to early versions of the game for feedback. Thorstensson wants the game to be as inclusive as possible and has hired an Inclusion Lead.

“A lot of games aren’t the best in terms of diversity and inclusion. From a financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense because there’s a huge potential market, but from a human perspective, it doesn’t make sense either,” Thorstensson told Sifted.

Thorstensson said that the rough internal version of the game will be ready this summer, and the full product will be launched in two to three years’ time.

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