Yuga Labs Metaverse is on the way. The company behind three of the biggest NFT brands in the market has today announced that it has raised $450 million in seed capital after being valued at $4 billion. The company whose investment portfolio also includes the Bored Ape Yacht Club says that it plans to use the seed capital it raised to build a media empire around NFTs. The planned media empire will include new game projects as well as a Metaverse project known as Otherside.

The team behind this new project describes Otherside as an MMORPG project meant to create a connection between the broader NFT universe. According to Wylie Aronow – a co-founder at the Bored Ape Yacht who also uses the pseudonym Gordon Goner, Otherside will basically create an interoperable world that is gamified and decentralized. “At Yuga Labs, we think that the Real Ready Player One experience will be run by the players themselves.”

The announcement on the funding for the Otherside Metaverse project comes just a few weeks after the company moved to consolidate its hold in the NFT space by acquiring Meebits and CryptoPunks from Larva Labs. The recent acquisitions by Yuga Labs put three of the most lucrative NFTs under one roof and it gives the company a larger IP roster to use once it starts building its own Metaverse and games. Yuga Labs also recently launched a cryptocurrency known as ApeCoin which will be governed independently and be used as the primary currency in all the company’s properties.

Yuga Labs Metaverse logo

Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz says that the company is currently partnering with a few other different gaming companies to help actualize Otherside. Otherside will not just be limited to Bored Ape holders rather it will contain development tools that will allow other NFTs to work inside this Metaverse. “What we are effectively hoping to do is to bring down the walls that are often found around projects of this kind and saying that everybody is welcome to make their contribution.”

Yuga Labs Metaverse

As it is, Metaverse and NFT projects are the most attractive projects in the digital space (even Facebook has changed its name to Meta). However, Yuga Labs thinks that other firms working on Metaverse projects are going about it wrong – which is the main reason the company’s Otherside project stands a high chance of succeeding. According to Greg Solano – a co-founder at Yuga Labs who also goes by the pseudonym Gargamel, people in the Metaverse will not bond simply by sharing a virtual space rather they will forge bonds from being in a position where they have to collaborate.

Solano opines that the only reasons players enjoy a game and start bonding with fellow players on any platform is because of the fun that comes from getting an ass kicking. “At Yuga Labs, we are of the opinion that deep social experiences arise from more than just a ‘meet-and-greet’.” Yuga Labs has so far declined to provide a release date for Otherside. However, the company plans to release a play-to-earn game later on in the year.

The funding for the Otherside project – one of the largest funding campaigns for an NFT company to date was led by the company Andreessen Horowitz which has been investing heavily in the Web3 space. The company has previously participated in funding campaigns for other companies dabbling with NFTs such as Open Sea, Dapper Labs and Coinbase. Other firms which participated in Otherside’s fundraising campaign include Crypto firms MoonPay, Coinbase, and, gaming studio Animoca Brands, among others. Chris Lyons – a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz is expected to join the board of Yuga Labs. The funding talks between Andreessen Horowitz and Yuga Labs were first reported last month by the Financial Times.

“THERE’S A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE WHERE META IS THIS KIND OF DOMINANT DIGITAL EXPERIENCE PROVIDER” – Chris Dixon (Head of Crypto at Andreessen Horowitz)

Speaking to The Verge, Chris Dixon – head of Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto arm said that Yuga Labs and other emerging players in the Web3 space are crucial to counterbalancing established companies like Meta. He goes on to say, “there’s a dystopian future where Meta is this kind of dominant digital experience provider and all of the money and control goes to that company.” Interestingly, Marc Andreessen – a co-founder at Andreessen Horowitz sits on the board of directors at Meta and he was an early investor in Facebook.

Yuga Labs has continued to post enviable profit margins to date. According to a leaked pitch from deck, the company made $137 million last year with a huge cut of the profits coming from its NFT brands which provided a 95% profit margin. (The company declined to comment on the financial data leaked by deck).

It is however worth pointing out that Yuga Labs has built fairly little up to this point. Its NFT brands have 40,000 users at most, according to data from Open Sea. So far, the company has only released one game for a limited period of time. This basically means that Yuga Labs has been given hundreds of millions of dollars to build a gaming company, or at least a Web3-ified version of a game from scratch.