Words With Friends Co-Creator Gets $46M for Web3 Gaming Franchise

CEO Paul Bettner’s new game, Wildcard, is a multiplayer online battle arena where players are cheered on by live spectators.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Jun. 15, 2022
Words With Friends Co-Creator Gets $46M for Web3 Gaming Franchise
Photo: The Wildcard Alliance
Photo: The Wildcard Alliance

McKinney-based Playful Studios announced Tuesday that it would launch a new Web3 gaming franchise with $46 million in venture capital.

Playful Studios founder and CEO Paul Bettner, who is best known for co-creating Words With Friends along with Age of Empires and Lucky’s Tale, has developed a new game called Wildcard. The new game is described in a news release as a hybrid of multiplayer online battle arena, real-time strategy and collectible card game where players compete surrounded by live, interactive fans and spectators. 

Wildcard will be developed by a new Playful Studios subsidiary, called The Wildcard Alliance, which Bettner co-founded with his wife Katy Drake Bettner.

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In developing the company’s namesake Wildcard game, Paul Bettner now finds himself entering the world of Web3 gaming for the first time.

“Web3 platforms present a tremendous opportunity to build entertainment that can include, empower and onboard millions of new players,” Paul Bettner said in a statement. “Despite this opportunity, the current focus of Web3 game development tends to be on finance over fun, economy over engagement, currency over community. With Wildcard, we’re focused on fun first, building a next-generation ‘spectator sport’ to welcome the entire community of competitors, collectors, sponsors and fans to play together.”

The $46 million Series A round was led by Paradigm, with additional support from Griffin Gaming Partners and Sabrina Hahn. Wildcard will be powered by Polygon, an Ethereum scaling solution. The Wildcard Alliance said in a news release that it chose to use Polygon because of its focus on reducing crypto’s carbon footprint.

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