Binance, FTX, and a16z Backed Game Studio Building NFL’s First NFT-Based Game


On Wednesday (May 25), the National Football League (NFL), NFL Players Association (NFLPA), and next-generation game technology studio Mythical Games today announced a strategic partnership to create “NFL Rivals“.

Mythical Games, which is headquartered in Sherman Oaks, California, was launched in November 2018. According to a report by GameDaily.biz, The founding team at Mythical — CEO John Linden, CCO Jamie Jackson, and CCO Jamie Jackson — has plenty of experience working on major franchises, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero Live, Marvel Strike Force, Skylanders, and others.”

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This report has two interesting quotes.

The first quote was from a press release issued by Mythical Games:

Mythical Games believes future game entertainment will depend on closer ties between players, content creators, brands and developers. The team looks to innovate through providing their proprietary Mythical Platform to top developers to help build player-owned economies on popular blockchains initially focused on the EOSIO blockchain. They will also focus on producing new tools for content creators and brands to customize and provide ownership of game assets.

The second quote was from an interview Linden did with GameDaily:

We will bring games to market as a primary party but we will partner with experienced game and art studios to actually build these games with us…

Player-owned economies can mean different things to different game developers. At Mythical’s core, our goal is to provide the economic engine built directly into Unity and Unreal for game developers to define what player-owned economies mean in their games.  Player-owned economies can be as simple as using blockchain technology to tokenize game objects (race cars, swords, or characters), allowing players to own those game assets and sell them on to other players in or out of the game…

Economies can also be more complex such as letting game developers sell game assets (e.g. race cars) to players or content creators at wholesale and letting them make custom modifications (e.g. tricked out steampunk spoiler) and then sell those new and unique assets back into the game through a marketplace.

On 4 November 2021, Mythical Games issued a press release to announce “a $150 million Series C financing led by Andreessen Horowitz, bringing the company valuation to $1.25 billion and reflecting Mythical’s dramatic growth and success in bringing play-to-earn concepts and playable NFTs to the mainstream in 2021.”

The press release went on to say that the Series C funding included “participation from D1 Capital, RedBird Capital, and The Raine Group, as well as crypto exchanges Binance and FTX.”

It also mentioned that the innovative game studio, which is “a 2022 Inc. Best Workplaces honoree“, had “also received support from notable entertainment brands and personalities including 32 Equity, the investment arm of the National Football League (NFL); The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC; Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic); OneTeam Partners; and pro-sports team owners including Jonathan Kraft and The Kraft Group (New England Patriots and New England Revolution); Michael Gordon (Fenway Sports Group; Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC); and Michael Jordan & Curtis Polk (Hornet Sports & Entertainment; Charlotte Hornets and NASCAR Cup race team 23XI Racing).”

John Linden, co-founder and CEO of Mythical Games, said back then:

Players spend billions of dollars on digital assets each year, but the value of their collections has been locked away from them. Utilizing NFTs in gaming creates a whole new set of game design principles built around scarcity vs. inflationary free-to-play economies.

As gamers and collectors ourselves, we believe players should have tangible assets that they earn and buy. The Mythical Platform leverages playable NFTs and blockchain technology to open the doors to the economy of any game and invite the community in; soon it will seem crazy we as players ever spent time or money on games without getting real value in return.

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Here is how the next-gen game technology studio describes the Mythical Platform:

The Mythical Platform is a full-service system for developers and publishers to build or integrate blockchain-based play-to-earn economies into their games, increasing engagement and unlocking new business and game models by making blockchain accessible and allowing players to become stakeholders in their favorite games.

Our platform can be added to pre-existing game economies or built into the design of a new game from the ground up, and we have built an industry-leading team of game and marketplace veterans to offer you expert-level guidance as you go through ideation, design, architecture and implementation of the Mythical Platform.

Returning to the present, today’s announcement is about a game called “NFL Rivals” that is powered by the Mythical Platform and which is expected to launch — on the web as well as mobile platforms iOS and Android — in 2023.

According to a report by GamesBeat published earlier today, “delivering on the fantasy of being a team general manager, the game will allow NFL fans and gamers alike to compete against other GMs with their assembled player rosters and teams, building, leveling up, and improving their lineup.” Furthermore, “fans will be able to own, collect, and trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of their favorite players through this play-and-own game experience.”

GamesBeat’s report went on to add that “ahead of the NFL Rivals game launch, 32 limited-quantity collections of unique generative 3D NFL franchise-themed NFTs will be released in a series of drops called ‘Rarity League’ and that “this officially licensed collection will provide owners access to special events, in-game rewards, and other unique features.”

Jamie Jackson, chief creative officer at Mythical Games, said in a statement:

Partnering with the NFL to drive new fan and player engagement through fresh game design and the benefits of Web3 is an exciting moment for us. NFTs with utility can add value to players in-game, and we can’t wait to bring these concepts to NFL Rivals to evolve the team management genre by adding the advantages of play-and-own games, offering the community new ways to engage with their favorite teams and players both in and outside this virtual world.

And Terése Whitehead, vice president of consumer products and strategy at NFL Players, the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA, had this to say:

NFTs are revolutionizing the fan experience, and we’re excited to collaborate with the imaginative team at Mythical Games to create a whole new blockchain-based world in which NFL players take center stage.

Billy Schautz, the executive producer of NFL Rivals, told GamesBeat:

It is the only NFL licensed NFT game. Our mission is to challenge the current status quo of NFL games. We’re all in on the fun, not just the NFT aspect.

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Image Credit

Featured Image by “moerschy” via Pixabay.com


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