Players have always been the lifeblood of games, whether we’re talking about the retro arcade titles of the 1980s or immersive modern metaverses like Alien Worlds and Decentraland. And yet, until recently, players lacked organizational strength and clout: gamers were seen as the grunts on the ground who kept the enterprise moving, yet had little influence when it came to decision-making. With the advance of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations – DAOs – that is finally starting to change.
Systems governed by smart contracts and code, but designed to reflect the will of the people, DAOs are empowering an entire generation of gamers, content creators and entrepreneurs, all of whom can make their presence felt in their chosen web3 ecosystem. Gaming DAOs tap into the wisdom of the crowd to help players better monetize their endeavors in virtual reality, as well as manage and leverage a war chest of NFT assets. Some DAOs are even going a step further, financing promising gaming ventures on their own to rival the established tech giants of old.
Below are 10 of the most talked-about gaming DAOs operating in the web3 space today.
The memorably named GameDAO aims to enrich the gaming space by uniting players, content creators, GameFi investors and eSports organizations under one roof. In its constantly evolving ecosystem, participants can come together to form collaborative clans that pursue common objectives, whether that involves crowdfunding a new game, forming battle-hardened player guilds, or entering lucrative tournaments. Built on ZERO Network, a bespoke multi-chain network designed to level up the games industry, GameDAO has already sponsored an eSports team (SPARX Secret) with another partnership in the pipeline. Founded by veteran game designer and tech entrepreneur Marco Bahn, this venture is definitely one to watch.
Ancient8 has a lofty goal: to “educate and empower the next 100 million metaverse citizens with blockchain and GameFi.” To that end, the company is building a DAO and infrastructure layer for gamified finance, building on experience gained from running Vietnam’s biggest blockchain gaming guild. Having already raised $10 million during two private funding rounds earlier this year, Ancient8 is focusing on broadening its scholar base, partnering with more GameFi projects and strengthening its Solana-focused launchpad, Ancient8 Dojo.
3. Ready Player DAO
Formed during the GameFi boom of summer 2021, Ready Player DAO (RPD) launched after raising over 1,000 ETH; capital it soon deployed in a range of play-to-earn ecosystems such as Axie Infinity. Since making its debut, the fast-growing DAO has brought thousands of ‘scholars’ under its umbrella and expanded its portfolio of web3 projects, making equity investments in game studios, metaverses, and artist collectives. Like Ancient8, RPD has also raised an 8-figure sum after welcoming investment from the likes of 1kx, ConsenSys Mesh and Fourth Revolution Capital.
Created by an ardent community of blockchain gamers, Avocado DAO has invested in dozens of web3 games and NFT/GameFi platforms since debuting in July, 2021. Its scholars, meanwhile, have opportunities to pool resources and play/earn across a swathe of gaming worlds including Pegaxy, The Wasted Lands, Cyball, Elpis Battle and Karmaverse. Earlier this year Avocado launched its very own token ($AVG), an asset that can be staked in any of the platform’s three pools to earn rewards. Later in 2022, the DAO plans to launch a series of Treasury Vaults specific to different games and platforms.
The BAYZ DAO has four pillars: guild management; consultancy and advisory services; content creation; and game distribution/publishing. Founded by eSports OGs Matt Rutledge and João Borges, BAYZ is community-owned and operated, with a relentless focus on creating resources players need to maximize their earning revenues in P2E. To date, most of BAYZ’ community fund has been deployed in Axie Infinity and The Sandbox, though a flurry of recent partnerships (MonkeyLeague, MetalCore, Elemental Raiders) has expanded its horizons.
6. Cerebral Gaming
Rather than being purely pitched at players, Cerebral Gaming is geared towards streamers – the sort followed by millions on Twitch, TikTok, YouTube etc. Ostensibly, the model works by ensuring a percentage of streamers’ ad revenue flows back to Cerebral, which then conducts buy-backs of its native attention token to further its ambitions. Streamers, meanwhile, get to earn crypto tips from their followers while the Harmony-based DAO pursues investments such as metaverse land purchases. Next year, CG plans to host several eSports tournaments and build an NFT platform that allows streamers to integrate better monetization models into their content.
7. Merit Circle
Formerly affiliated with Yield Guild Games (YGG), the Merit Circle DAO is one of the industry’s most popular, with a thriving community of over 3,750 hardcore gamers spread throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The platform specializes in educational content and one-to-one mentorship sessions to enhance the performance of its various members, who chase profit by leveraging in-game assets held in its treasury. Speaking of profit, Merit takes a flat 30% of scholars’ earnings, leaving them with a healthy 70%.
8. Alpha Gaming DAO
Like Cerebral Gaming, Alpha Gaming DAO is built on the Harmony ONE network, where its goal is to “expand the metaverse and generate revenue via scholarships, as well as leverage our community-owned assets for maximum utility while sharing profits with token holders and gamers.” If you’re a gifted gamer who wants to be rewarded for your time and effort, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Interestingly, each game in the portfolio has its own sub-DAO complete with multi-sig vault, with guild gamers currently busy harvesting resources and completing quests in ecosystems like Defi Kingdoms and Cosmic Universe.
Built on Arbitrum, TreasureDAO started life as an NFT platform before evolving into a comprehensive decentralized network of games and communities. Powered by its native $MAGIC token, Treasure’s ecosystem is made up of the original NFT marketplace, an AMM (MagicSwap), and Bridgeworld, a game of “strategic commerce, trade and domination” that sits at the centre of the “Treasure metaverse.” Boasting over 100,000 members, TreasureDAO seeks to build bridges between disparate gaming ecosystems, unified by a single belief: the player comes first.
10. Pro Gamer DAO
Pro Gamer DAO has been busy making waves of late, partnering with other gamer-focused DAOs (Avocado, States) to broaden its own expanding ecosystem of seasoned players. Based in South Korea but with global ambitions, PG DAO styles itself as the go-to portal for elite gamers, many of whom currently operate in the League of Kingdoms MMORTS game. Although still a small fish in a big pond, this DAO’s penchant for bringing value to players is sure to expand its footprint in the years to come.