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Semper Fortis will become one of the first professional esports companies to enter the play-to-earn market via its very own division of the SMPR team
Semper Fortis Esports PLC, the esports company focused on establishing esports teams, forming brand and technology partnerships, and providing business to business advisory services, is pleased to announce its entry into the blockchain based, Non-fungible Token (NFT) video game, Axie Infinity and collectible card game, Hearthstone.
The company’s esports team, SMPR has made an official signing of Aleksei Bakumenko (‘Iner’) to compete in both Axie Infinity and Hearthstone for the upcoming season. The player has signed a three-month contract with an option to renew for an additional six months thereafter. They will receive an annual salary and performance-based incentives.
The new hire is the first competitive esports players competing in the play-to-earn division of Semper Fortis Esports, where players will be incentivised to compete on behalf of the company for cryptocurrency-based returns in the form of NFTs.
Axie Infinity is a trading and battling game that allows players to collect, breed, raise, battle and trade creatures known as “axies” (characters based on axolotl), which are digitized as NFTs. The game uses a “play-to-earn” model (also called “pay-to-play-to-earn” model) where participants can earn a token which is traded on Binance as an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency. Players can also exchange in-game assets as NFTs. Axie Infinity allows users to cash-out these tokens for monetary gains every 14 days.
In October 2021, Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis the developer of Axie infinity raised $150 million Series B at a $3 billion Valuation with highly renowned investors involved including Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Cuban. As of October 2021, the game nears 2 million Daily Active Users and has generated close to $2.3 billion in total sales volume since it was launched in 2018.
With this appointment, the company will be one of the first professional esports companies to enter the play-to-earn market via its very own division of the SMPR team. The company will look to expand on this division through development and recruitment to earn NFT based rewards through games as a revenue model going forward. Axie tokens are currently trading at circa $120, a staggering 1,200x their initial offer price from 2020.
In addition to Axie Infinity, the newly recruited Aleksei Bakumenko (‘Iner’) is a current ranked Hearthstone player and will also look to compete in the popular free-to-play online digital collectible card game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. The game is played as an esport, with high-level tournaments such as Blizzard’s official World Championship featuring a prize pool of up to $1 million.
Iner’ is currently ranked in ninth place in the Hearthstone EMEA and comes with a digital footprint of almost 75,000 followers across social media channels comprising of 1,475 followers on Twitter, 68,200 followers on Twitch and 4,770 subscribers on YouTube.
Iner’s addition takes the total number of active players on the SMPR roster across to nine and opens the brand up to two new competitive esports and audience types across a digital presence. The player comes with a distinguished digital footprint and a significant following from his competitive region of Russia, a market which the Company sees as a large opportunity to capture in the esports space.
Kevin Soltani, CEO of Semper Fortis Esports, commented: “Our team is extremely proud to share the additions of Axie Infinity and Hearthstone to our esports games participation and to further strengthen our player roster. Semper Fortis is determined to revolutionise the play to earn space, in merging it with competitive esports play. Our latest signing will pioneer our strategy to build out the SMPR play-to-earn division, opening doors for a new pool of players entering the esports space and diversifying the company’s revenue model. Gaming and blockchain are two of the fastest growing industries and with our team being highly experienced in both, we are geared for an exciting season ahead.”
Nolan Bushnell, a Non-Executive Director of Semper Fortis Esports, commented: “The play-to- earn movement is currently in rapid growth and we are very excited to see its evolving nature in the world of competitive esports.”