The class that changes the way game brands and companies cut licensing deals
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Class there’s a new way to solve an old problem: how game brands and companies can come together and cut mutually beneficial licensing deals.
Back in May, the Brisbane, Australia-based company announced it had raised over $3 million in funding for its marketplace for licensing in anticipation of the upcoming… reverseuniverse of interconnected virtual worlds, just like in novels like Snow and Ready Player One.
It was started last year by Rachit Moti and Chris Illuk, who were able to work full-time because they were involved in the Starmate accelerator. They raised money from Carthona Capital, Aura Ventures, TEN13, Flying Fox, Black Sheep Capital, Luxem and Tribe Ventures. The IP marketplace connects game companies seeking licenses with intellectual property owners who want to take their brands into new places, including games with hard-to-reach demographics.
“Obviously monetization has changed. And the metaverse-like worlds that people are building are trying to be really immersive, aren’t they? ” said Moti in an interview with GamesBeat. “They are trying to be really culturally relevant. And I was wondering how they are going to do all this licensing when it’s so hard to get a pass. And so we actually started just contacting both sides and started talking to Hollywood producers and film crews as well as toy licensors and game teams. And what we really found was that licensing was very difficult.”
Marketplaces can be used to connect everything from characters to movies. Brands like Care Bears, Animal Planet, Bruce Lee and Snickers are using it. And game companies that use it include Rogue, Addiction Games, Illuvium, Trove, Stillfront, Ready Player Me, Play Way, GoNoodle, Gamigo Group, Aceviral, AviaGames, Shockwave, Crikey and Bookful.
“We can help you get to know these IP owners and these rights holders navigating the game space,” said Moti. “For game companies, licensing the brand will make our fans love our products more.”
Moti and Illuk started last August in the field of accelerators. And in over seven weeks, they created their minimum viable product. Now they have hundreds of assets in the platform. The aim is to take inefficiencies out of the market and change the way game brands and companies meet and make deals.
Moti said he has spent thousands of hours playing the game, but it is not easy for him to find a career in the game. He’s passionate about technology and plays in the rock band next door.
The idea for Layer came about after Moti licensed a song from his now-defunct band into the NASCAR racing game. The song, The more you know, which was included in NASCAR Heat 3. Illuk was plagued by the legal complexity and opaque nature of the licensing process. They have partnered to democratize IP licensing by streamlining and simplifying the entire process.
“It’s great when a little band has a song and a soundtrack,” he said. “That is a dream. But from a technology perspective, it’s exciting to see no more efficient way to make this happen.”
The class matches game developers to IP owner profiles based on commercial claims, audience duplication, and topic relevance. For example, a developer working on a new kid-oriented game could join the platform and be paired with popular kids’ characters based on the parameters they set. Once the two companies are satisfied with a match, they can proceed to the negotiation phase to agree on commercial terms, all handled within the platform.
“We’re building a curated marketplace where, if a match is pushed, for example if you’re a developer getting that match against Care Bears, they’ll say the IP is appropriate. suits you,” said Moti.
Game developers can access the platform for free. But licensors have to pay because Layer helps them better understand the game market and paying publishers and developers who want to license their assets. So the Layer is cut from the licensor.
“Our competition is really old fashioned,” said Moti. “Currently, the market leaders have an unfair advantage, as they have the time and people to do the job. From a software or technology perspective, we haven’t come across anyone opening up this space and focusing on licensing specific games. In the last few years, companies have realized that the game is really big and it’s incredibly diverse. “
More than 90 game companies and 180 brands are using it.
“It’s at publishers, from small self-published developers with teams of five or 10 people, to larger teams,” he said. “We’re at a point now where we’re really expanding the game aspect. And that number is growing rapidly. And we’re starting to see bigger and bigger names featured in the publishing space.
And Layer doesn’t have an army of lawyers behind the curtain. It has a team of 12 people.
Of course, we all get in trouble when we think about intellectual property rights to works of art created by artificial intelligence, like DALL-E from the OpenAI Foundation or MidJourney. Attorneys are just beginning to figure out who has the rights to AI-generated artwork.
“I’m no expert on that,” Moti said.
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