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Google-backed Glance acquires gaming platform Gambit in NFT push

Glance has acquired India’s Gambit as the Google-backed firm looks to supercharge its mobile games offerings and introduce NFTs to its Gen-Z users, TechCrunch has learned and confirmed.

Piyush Shah, co-founder of InMobi Group and COO of Glance, confirmed the acquisition but declined to share the financial terms of the deal. In an interview with TechCrunch, he said the acquisition will help the Jio Platforms-backed firm to bring live game shows and NFT-based incentivisation to its users to enrich their gaming experience.

Gaming is the latest focus for Glance, which partners with phone makers to bring media, entertainment and news content to users’ lock screen on handsets. The startup, with presence on over 400 million devices, piloted casual games on its platform last year and immediately found acceptance among users.

Glance, which has acquired younger firms Roposo and Shop101 in recent years, is known to acquire small firms and significantly scale their offerings while broadening Glance’s platform.

“Almost 10 million people are watching live game streaming on Glance every month. So our idea was how do we also bring live game shows on the platform?” said Shah.

He said NFTs will deliver a whole lot of benefits to users. “It will have utilitarian benefits — where owning the digital virtual assets will allow users to build strong character in games — and at the same time these NFTs could be listed and traded on NFT marketplaces and exchanges to help users earn and own,” he said.

He declined to reveal which blockchain the startup is using to launch NFTs and the players it intends to partner with, noting that the web3 push of Glance is still in its early days. But said Glance has been evaluating the space for over nine months.

The startup plans to partner with gamers and influencers as well as other gaming firms, he said. The NFTs on the platform will capture micro-moments from the game and high-order virtual avatars, he added. “This will potentially enable creators, streamers and developers to monetize through assets and NFT-based game creation, while giving gamers unique experiences that they love,” the startup said. (Glance is avoiding bringing fantasy sports offerings of six-year-old Gambit, which operates Nostragamus, citing local regulation in India.)

“With Glance and Gambit’s combined strengths and our belief that there is a game for every person, we envision doubling the number of monthly active gamers on Glance Games in the next year,” said Yashashvi Takallapalli, co-founder and chief executive of Gambit, in a statement.

Glance, valued at about $1.7 billion, is the latest major firm from India to make a push into web3.

Fantasy sports giant Dream11 is in talks to acquire 30 to 40 percent stake in NFT startup Rario for about $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. (Indian newspaper Economic Times earlier reported some details of the deal.) Sequoia Capital India-backed NFT startup FanCraze, which maintains an exclusive partnership with the ICC, said earlier this week it had raised $100 million in a funding round.

Indian game developer SuperGaming last month partnered with Siddharth Menon, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, to launch a web3 games marketplace called Tegro.