People seem to love the concept of the Battle Pass.
The battle is made popular by Fortnite to a large extent and rewards players for playing well and often. The better you are, the more XP you earn. The more XP you earn, the more things you unlock (new looks for your character or winning dances that are fired at the end of a shootout). Are you ready to spit a few dollars for an optional “Premium” combat pass? This opens up a whole host of new rewards. The model has found its way into countless games in recent years, from PUBG to Rocket League.
Zelos, an LA-based company from Y Combinator's Winter 2020 batch, aims to make the same concept work across multiple games. Complete challenges in one game, earn rewards for another – or use your points to buy new games overall.
Every day, Zelos offers a handful of challenges for each of the supported games, e.g. B. 10,000 damage in League of Legends or 5 kills with Wraith in Apex. When you complete a challenge, you will receive "zippers". Most of the challenges I've seen bring the player between 15 and 150 zippers, depending on how difficult it is to pull them through.
Once you have a stack of zippers together, you can redeem them for all kinds of virtual extras. The more something else would cost, the more zippers are needed. For example, with 60,000 zippers you get a $ 5 Steam gift card – or 90,000 zippers for $ 10 apex coins. As soon as you reach the ZIP range of 50,000 to 200,000, you can redeem it for digital download codes for games like Rainbow Six Siege, Monster Hunter: World and Tabletop Simulator. Getting the good can mean mastering many challenges, but keep in mind: these are games that people play anyway.
In addition to the zippers, each challenge brings a little EXP to the player. EXP improves your Zelos profile. With each level you unlock a bundle of zippers, additional challenges and items for your Zelos avatar.
Zelos currently publishes challenges and tracking statistics for seven games: Fortnite, Apex, League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, DOTA 2, Counter Strike: GO and Clash Royale. Stat tracking works slightly better in some games than in others, depending on how open a game's developers are with the data. With League of Legends, for example, you can ping Riot Games' dedicated API to get a huge backlog of game data. With Apex, on the other hand, they can only get statistics based on a handful of unlockable trackers that players can turn on between games.
Jeffrey Tong, co-founder of Zelos, tells me that they are focused on ensuring that they stay overboard with the data they retrieve and that they comply with each supplier's ToS. Of course, this makes sense: if you go on the bad side of a developer, it can mean that you lose access to the data firehouse and thus affect Zelos' ability to support a game. The more popular Zelos can support games, the better the whole idea works.
So if you give away things that you don't sell yourself because of challenges in games, how will you make money? Just like the games mentioned above: a premium battle pass. Tong tells me that they are currently testing a subscription-based combat pass that unlocks new challenges, more prizes, and a higher rate of points.
This is not Tong's first foray into the game room. Previously, he built and sold OverStats, an analytics system that tracks a player's esports statistics over time. Co-founder Derek Chiang was previously a senior software engineer at the decentralized computer company Dfinity.
Tong tells me that in the days after the YC demo day, they raised $ 2.8 million to keep an eye on the expansion of the platform, the games supported, and their team. The Zelos team currently consists of three people and plans to hire another "six or seven" in the coming weeks. They currently see over 50,000 active users per week, with 55% of their users playing two or more games on the platform.