Loco launches India’s first NFT platform for esports
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Picking up on a global trend, Loco has launched Loco Legends, which it bills as India’s first non-fungible token platform for esports.
Loco said it is dedicated to democratizing gaming entertainment in the country, and it said its platform will allow users to own and trade esports collectible assets, helping them turbocharge their fandom and experience the thrill of stepping into the shoes of esports scouts.
Legends will set the stage for decentralization for gaming creators with Loco committing to supporting the game-fi ecosystem in the country, Loco said. NFTs use the blockchain to authenticate unique digital items, and companies around the world are using them to strengthen communities and monetization between esports teams and their fans.
Loco, with 52 million users, brings with it the largest and most engaged community of gamers in each of these categories. The company has raised more than $51 million to date.
Loco Legends launches with exclusive partnerships with the most popular esports teams in India
including 8bit, s0ul, Godlike, Revenant, Blind, and XO among others. These top Indian esports teams are the category dominators in popular games like BGMI, FreeFire Max, and Valorant, and provide fans with the most credible NFT experience, Loco said.
Loco NFT esports cards
Loco has also built a proprietary data system that powers Legends. This system leverages the data generated by the large number of tournaments empowered by Loco, which is the largest backer of esports tournaments in the country.
Loco also said it has signed exclusive partnerships with major esports tournament organizers including Villager esports and Upthrust esports to ensure that its data platform also has the best in class data pipeline.
The first asset on Loco Legends will be NFT esports cards. This offering combines NFTs and free-to-play esports fantasy gaming. Users can purchase NFT trading cards allowing them to buy and sell cards amongst each other and also participate in free-to-play fantasy pools. By collecting, owning, and trading these limited edition digital collectibles, Loco is designing a unique fan experience, where users can truly get closer to their heroes, build real world connections, and enhance their watching experience.
The NFTs will be limited in number and unique to each owner. Loco is the first to build a large-scale consumer platform of this sort in India, that is embracing NFTs and web3.
Founders Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh, said in a statement, “We are passionate about the potential
of Web3 to empower creators and create new fan experiences in the gaming community. Gamers are the earliest adopters of new technology and our community has shown a strong acceptance for these initiatives. We are excited about providing users an easy to use experience so that they can enjoy the power of web3 without dealing with the complexities that other products are often plagued with. We are also pumped about the partners we are bringing with us and the experiences that these partnerships will help us deliver to users. Our team firmly believes that this is a unique opportunity to unlock a new paradigm in gaming and this product is the first step in our roadmap.”
The platform is currently in beta and will be made public in July 2022. As a part of this launch, the
top 1,000 users that waitlist themselves on the platform will get access to free NFTs worth
approximately ₹500, or $6.39 each.
Loco’s popular game categories include BGMI, Call of Duty Mobile, Valorant, GTA 5 etc. Having partnered with giants such as Krafton, Activision, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Red Bull and NBA 2K League and Logitech – G, the platform brings entertainment experiences to the Indian gaming audiences. Loco is currently available on Android, iOS, and the web. The company has 85 employees.
I asked over email how receptive is the local Indian market is to NFTs, as we have seen resistance to NFTs from hardcore gamers in the West.
“The resistance to NFT-based games from some gamers comes from the fact that these games are not fun to play and therefore play to earn can often feel like a chore,” said the founders in reply. “We believe this criticism, which is justified in certain cases, will be addressed by multiple games in the coming years.”
They added, “In our case, this is not an issue because what we are releasing are digital collectibles for esports teams and players. These collectibles can then be used in fantasy pools as well as other game formats that we are working on. These collectibles and the games they are used in, add a fan engagement layer that is currently missing from the esports industry. This layer enhances the watching experience and brings users closer to the streamers they love and support. The Legends platform will allow fans to own and trade esports collectible assets, helping them turbocharge their fandom and experience the thrill of stepping into the shoes of esports scouts.”
They said that the Indian local market is looking eagerly for NFTs. In a recent survey on the platform, 60% of users were aware of Web3 and showed a strong willingness to buy NFTs to support their favorite esports streamers and teams, they said.
As for the tech, the company plans to make it easy for Indian users to buy NFTs and get onboarded to the esports metaverse with minimum friction.
The founders said, “The Legends Web3 app uses Polygon with the rest of infra being built by the Loco team. We are releasing our web product first and this will be followed by android and iOS apps. The first asset on Loco Legends will be NFT esports cards. This offering combines NFTs and free to play esports fantasy gaming. Users can purchase NFT trading cards allowing them to buy and sell cards amongst each
other and also participate in free-to-play fantasy pools. By collecting, owning, and trading these limited edition digital collectibles, Loco is designing a unique fan experience, where users can truly get closer to their heroes, build real world connections, and enhance their watching experience.”
I also asked them about the inspiration for the company.
” Our mission as a company is to democratize Indian gaming. This central thought constantly inspires us to create new products, features, and experiences,” the founders said. “We believe gaming provides a new level playing field in India. In gaming – where you are from is not a constraint. How you look is not important. Your sex or religion doesn’t matter. Your skill, your hard work, your grind – they matter. We
want to ensure that a young person in a small village with minimal resources, can entertain the world or get entertained, with just their phone.”
The added, “We are the platform where gamers can go from being novices to becoming gaming superstars. We are the campfire for streamers – from beginners to the best, they are all here on Loco. We are the platform that turbocharges fan experiences – fans no longer have to be another user in the crowd. We are building tools and experiences that allow users to interact with streamers in ways they could not have done before. We are the water cooler for virtual playgrounds – where fans gather, swap stories, analyze, critique, and support their favorite creators.”
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