With Magic Ventures and the launch of in-game storefronts, the top Solana NFT marketplace is doubling down on Web3 gaming.

Magic Eden is the biggest marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the Solana ecosystem. The young startup recently raised a war chest of funds that valued it as a crypto unicorn.

Now we know how some of that money is being spent: the company has set up an investment arm that focuses on games.

Today, the company announced Magic Ventures, a branch of venture capital that will focus on Web3 games. Tony Zhao, who used to work for the Chinese gaming giant Tencent, has been hired as the company’s new head of gaming investments to help it reach its goal.

Zhao told Decrypt that Magic Ventures’ investments will be “purely strategic in nature” and will be used to help developers of NFT-powered video games, not with the goal of making money back.

“We have never thought about returns and we never will,” Zhao said. “Just to make sure our partnership works, right? We really want to be the developers’ first choice when they need help.”

When Magic Ventures signs up game developers, they will become part of the Magic Eden ecosystem. This is a place where new non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be sold for the first time, and where they can be sold again and again. At the moment, 90 percent or more of Solana’s NFT market share is controlled by the Solana-based marketplace. Zhao said the goal is to make it easier for game developers to join the Web3 ecosystem.

“Developers can stick to what they’re good at, which is making great games,” he said. “We’ll help them take care of all the Web3 parts and join the ecosystem,”

Zhao said that Magic Ventures has already made some investments and will make more soon, but he wouldn’t say which projects or startups it had invested in.

He also said that there is no set number for the total amount of money that will be spent on projects and that, because they are strategic, most investments are “pretty small.”

Along with the venture arm, Magic Eden’s Eden Games division announced that it has reached agreements with the makers of several Solana games, such as Aurory, Mini Royale: Nations, and Genopets, to power in-game NFT marketplaces for each. Once the feature is live, players will be able to buy and sell NFTs without having to go to an outside marketplace.

It’s meant to be easy for players, especially those who don’t know how to use a crypto wallet or take care of their own assets. Zhao said that developers are given the infrastructure so they don’t have to build integrations from scratch.

NFTs are blockchain tokens that show who owns an item, like a piece of art, a collectible, or an interactive video game item. In the gaming world, NFTs can stand for things like one-of-a-kind weapons, character avatars, and virtual land plots that can be changed.

As was already said, Magic Eden recently became a “crypto unicorn” with a market value of more than $1 billion. The company raised $130 million last month at a valuation of $1.6 billion. This was only nine months after it was founded as a startup.

In the future, the NFT marketplace wants to support more blockchain platforms than just Solana, but no specific chains have been named yet.

Magic Since Eden is putting more attention on Web3 gaming, it is in direct competition with Fractal, a Solana NFT marketplace that focuses on gaming and was co-founded by Justin Kan, who also co-founded Twitch, a platform for streaming video games.

Fractal only focuses on interactive gaming assets, while Magic Eden also supports profile pictures and other types of non-game assets.

Zhao said that both Magic Eden and Fractal are working to grow the Web3 gaming space. However, he thinks that Magic Eden offers a more complete set of solutions to launch and support Solana-based games, and he said that the results back up his confidence.

“You and I both want to grow the ecosystem. We show data to people who make games, right? “They have to decide who to pick in the end,” he said. “The results show that there’s a good reason for developers to work with us instead of Fractal.”

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