Dealing With Controversy

Sanctor Capital
6 min readDec 5, 2023

The authors or their affiliates have ownership or other economic interests or intend to have interests in BTC, ETH, SOL, Axie Infinity NFTs and may have ownership or other economic interests or intend to have interests in other organizations and/or crypto assets discussed as well as other crypto assets not referenced.

The holiday season is upon us and award shows are now on gamers’ minds. It is not yet time to argue about the winners, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any drama. We got launches, we got hostile takeovers, and everything in between:

  • Shrapnel sees turmoil ahead of release
  • Team Liquid is in on Illuvium
  • Horizon unveils a no code platform
  • Axie teases Part Evolutions with Fortune Slips
  • YouTube is in and TikTok is out of gaming
  • Creator coins try to make a comeback

Shrapnel Deals With Hostile Takeover

Neon Machine, the studio developing the anticipated extraction shooter, is battling a hostile take over from one of the investors Cort Javarone and 4D Factory. Details remain few and far between, but the studio founders have filed a lawsuit, and appear to remain in control.


Shrapnel is expected to go into an early access phase this month, so the news is troubling, and it is unclear despite the team’s confidence if the game’s timeline will be affected. This is not the first controversy for Shrapnel in a short span of a time.

The team’s recent token listing was highlighted to be different from its TGE event, and while nothing about that, on its own, is malicious, it feels oddly deceptive. The community though does not seem to care, as token price keeps rising.

Team Liquid Partners With Illuvium

It is great to see major esports brands not shying away from web3, especially after the Creator League PR disaster. It is equally amazing to see studios in the web3 space, working on partnerships that can help with awareness and distribution.


I have already had the pleasure of playtesting the autobattler, and it looks and feels very sharp. The game’s complexity can be daunting, but there is no denying its visual appeal. It can be both satisfying for competitive gamers, and simultaneously pleasant to observe for viewers.

The game is still in its early phase, and the Illuvium ecosystem is in an even earlier phase, but this is one of the few times when CT hype machine did not totally disappoint. I am intrigued to see how the game will be received outside the web3 circles.

Horizon Launches Sequence Builder

The platform offers developers a no code way to set abstracted wallets, launch marketplaces, and integrated payment rails in an easy way. It seems like a convenient solution, especially for web 2.5 gaming teams.


Horizon isn’t alone in its mission to simplify life for game studios attempting to integrate web3. ReadyGames and Stardust come to mind. However, I am worried that the abstraction may have a downside at this early stage of web3 integration into gaming.

Many gaming teams are coming into the space without a clear understanding of the technology, and are not able to utilize it properly to unlock new feature sets for users. Abstraction may be helping teams avoid going down the rabbit hole, which may not help in the long term.

Axie Unveils Fortune Slips

The blog post marking the launch of the product was rather cryptic, mostly teasing the upcoming release of Part Evolutions. In that way this was a long form version of an announcement of an upcoming announcement tweet.


The Part Evolutions may deserve it though, as it promises to bring character progression with dynamic NFTs to the Axie ecosystem. Dynamic NFTs have been around as a technology feature for some time, but have seen limited implementation in games to this point.

It is no secret that I have been a fan of the gaming ecosystem on Ronin, and the way Sky Mavis continued building after the initial setbacks with Axie Infinity. Ronin hasn’t really been a hub for technological innovation, so it will be interesting to see how and what the team ships.

TikTok Out YouTube In

Content platforms are trying to figure out the gaming space. It is hard, expensive, and holds no guarantees. It looks like TikTok is taking a pause on the efforts, which is a bit surprising given the amount of gaming content that is being published there.


Some expect TikTok to be back, but in the meantime YouTube is looking to give it a try, starting with some casual and hyper casual games. The effort seems a lot more lightweight compared to what the competitors have been trying, but may only be the start.

In recent times streaming platforms have been trying to use gaming as a way of justifying subscription price increases. However, unlike Netflix, YouTube does not have its own IPs that it can commercialize, which may put it on a path similar to that of TikTok.

Creator Coins Trying to Make a Comeback

Decentralized social networks have been in development for some time, but have found little traction at this point, as people have been hard to move off of their currently used platforms. However, gambling on creator activity and popularity have resonated with some.


The friend tech approach appears to have supplanted the earlier creator coin attempts, like Roll and Rally. However, attention around similar platforms has been dominated by speculation, and as such may be unattractive for creatives.

P00LS is looking to shift the focus back to the needs of the artists and utilizes a non-transferable token design to focus on artists’ interactions with their fanbases. It would be curious to see what sort of traction a reduced speculation model finds in and outside of the web3 space.

This wraps it up for this entry. As always, if you are working on something exciting in the web3 gaming space, or are a traditional gaming team looking to explore the possibilities, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us at Sanctor Capital. Have a great rest of your week!

Ilya Abugov (@AbugovIlya)

Disclaimer: This commentary is not investment advice. It does not purport to include any recommendation as to any particular investment, transaction or investment strategy, or any recommendation to buy or sell any investment. It does not reflect any attempt to effect any transactions or render any investment advice.

This post is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. It is inherently limited and does not purport to be a complete discussion of the issues presented or the risks involved. Readers should seek their own independent legal, tax, accounting, and investment advice from professional advisors. The views reflected in this commentary are subject to change at any time without notice.



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