Russian cloud gaming startup Playkey raises nearly $11 million in ICO, targets Asian and American markets

Playkey, a Russian startup whose technology allows users to play the latest video games on low-performance computers, raised more than $10.5 million in its ICO which started on Nov. 1 and ended on Dec. 1. This amount comes in addition to some $4 million raised during a pre-ICO sale in October.

In the course of the ICO, no less than 100 million tokens of Playkey’s proprietary cryptocurrency (PKT) were released, 60% of which were available for sale. According to the company, the amount came essentially from individual investors, but three investment funds — Uncharted Capital, Allrise and G2H2 Capital — also got involved, buying over $1 million dollars worth of tokens each.

The amount raised is far from the initially considered $40-60 million target – but large enough to develop the new blockchain platform and accelerate international development, Playkey’s press service told us.

From cloud to blockchain, online gaming for all

There’s no less than 1.8 billion gamers in the world who can’t run the most recent games on their computers. These are potential customers for Play key and its competitors, which include LiquidSky, Nvidia GeForce Now and Playstation Now, among others. These companies have different business models, different solutions and approaches to the problem, but they share one goal: to  allow users to play top-notched games without spending a lot on a high-end gaming PC.

The Moscow-based startup has tried to go further than its competitors in optimizing server runtime – thus lowering operating costs. Playkey also presents as distinctive advantages some of its monitoring tools – in particular, those that allow users to see packets lost, game FPS, resolution and other parameters.

Going further, Playkey now wants to switch to a blockchain-based P2P gaming infrastructure. In this environment, gamers will pay miners with Playkey’s tokens implemented on the Ethereum blockchain, for using their computer capacities. When a sufficient number of miners are on board, gamers will be able to stream from a computer that is in their neighborhood. As a result, Playkey will be able to continue expansion without investing in physical server infrastructure.

“At first, the Playkey tokens will be used to pay for playtime on the service, but eventually they will also be used to make in-game purchase,” explained Playkey CTO Alexey Lykov . “We’re going to motivate players to use the tokens more often, and we are optimistic about the growth of their value in the long term.”

The ICO funding will also be used to support Playkey’s global expansion, with special focus on the American and Asian markets.

The company also plans to set up the Playkey Foundation, which will fund itself by acting as a toll gate for the entire network. The money will be used to develop an ecosystem of gamers with low-end PCs, miners with high-end PCs and mining-farms, and game publishers.

Gaming celebrities

To strike minds, the startup recently announced that Oculus VR co-founder Dillon Seo joined the project as an advisor. A bevy of figures from the gaming and blockchain industries have also joined the company as advisors, including David Carlson, CEO and founder of the biggest mining farm, GigaWatt; Michael Kim, CEO and founder of CoinInside, and former executive of Blizzard, Wargaming and Havok; Ruben Godfrey, cofounder of the Blockchain Association of Ireland; and Albert Castellana, board member of NEM, one of the largest cryptocurrencies for market capitalization, amongst others.

Earlier this year, the startup attracted $2.7 million from the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF, or FRII in Russian). Playkey previously raised nearly $2.5 million, including $1.5 million earlier this year from Darz, a major German data center company. 

The platform currently uses more than 100 servers located in London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Moscow. Playkey has  partnership agreements with such gaming companies as Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Wargaming.

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