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Mythical Games’ NFL Rivals launched worldwide in early access more than a month ago and it is closing in on a million downloads on the Apple and Google mobile stores.
It is the officially licensed Web3 game from the National Football League (NFL), and NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA). Mythical CEO John Linden said in an interview with GamesBeat that the general manager game with arcade-style gameplay delivers on fans’ dreams of being a GM of an NFL team. It’s certainly one of the best performances for a Web3 game, but give that it is also playable as Web2 game, it’s still debatable whether players will be drawn to the Web3 features.
On average, players have played an average of two hours of gameplay per day, and so far they’ve played more than 10 million game sessions. The game has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on iOS.
“We had a great launch,” Linden said. “We thought it would be a marathon and not a sprint. But we came out of the gates springint and it’s been really nice. It’s been a great 30 days.”
He said there are new content releases coming this week. The game hit No. 1 on the sports games last month. It was also No. 1 on action games and No. 3 for overall games. Linden expects the game will cross a million in the coming days.
The NFL’s launch of the game, incorporating Web3 digital ownership with in-game utility, allows fans to own, collect, and trade digital assets that unlock access to special events, in-game rewards, and other unique features.
The game debuted on April 26 on iOS and Android, coinciding with the NFL Draft. Since that time, the NFL has been in its offseason, and so the engagement with the game has been heartening for the Mythical team, Linden said. He expects that as the pre-season starts in August and marketing efforts ramp up as well, the audience will become more engaged. The season will start on August 24.
Players can play the game as a Web2 game, paying for items inside the game with credit card rather than using Web3 solutions such as cryptocurrencies. And players don’t have to engage in the Web3 economy either if they don’t want to resell their assets. In other words, it’s a soft sell when it comes to Web3. If players want to sell the assets they own in a third-party store outside of the app stores, they can do so.
Mythical Platform protects gamers that may be new to blockchain through a custodial wallet for their digital items while allowing advanced players the freedom to link their own wallets via bridges between the Mythical Chain and public mainnets. With its “gamers-first” focus, the Mythical Platform ensures players don’t need to dive into the intricacies of blockchain to enjoy ownership of their digital collections and have a great game experience.
Linden said Mythical met with the app stores continually to get approval to do the combination of Web2 and Web3 gaming. He said the platforms trusted Mythical to bring in the gamers and protect them in the blockchain transactions while still offering innovations for Web3 gameplay. He said the parties worked out mutually agreeable practices for Web2/Web3 games.
The mobile app stores are fine with a game that has Web3 elements so long as Mythical doesn’t tout Web3 in the apps. For Web3 gamers, Mythical operates its own app store marketplace outside of the Apple and Google stores. Mythical can sell discount cards for that app store to drive traffic to it. In such an environment of Web2 and Web3, the blockchain is optional.
The mobile game players can buy and sell their players on the football team as well as collectible helmets. More items are coming in the future. The average transaction is around $18.
“Since we started it years ago, we wanted to bring these new economies into the games,” Linden said. “We wanted people to concentrate on the game. We are achieving that so far.”
Linden said that the company is seeing a good return on advertising spend (ROAS) in the first 30 days. The secondary sales of game items is making up about 15% of the revenue for the game. That means players are using the Web3 feature of being able to sell their items to other players. Mythical gets a cut when that happens, and it can reinvest that into the game.
“You can totally play the game as a Web2 game,” he said. “But you can definitely come in and trade and interact with other players in the market. We see a lot of collection mechanics. People are coming in and collecting NFL players or selling them off, he said. So far, a minority of players are reselling.
“It’s about a third of the players interacting with the economy of the game,” Linden said. “We’re seeing that number grow every day. We’ve tried to make it seamless, as part of the game.”
And when they do so, they reinvest the proceeds back into the game. That keeps a flywheel going in terms of engaging players in the game over and over, he said. The percentage of total players that are paying for things in free-to-play games ranges from 2% to 5%, Linden said.
“We’re on the higher end of that,” he said.
Clearly, the app stores don’t want to be bypassed. And so it is an interesting question as to whether they will approve the Web3 sales in their games on the app stores. The Epic Games Store has already approved Web3 games on its platform.
Mythical is starting to test its Nitro Nation racing game in local markets such as the Philippines now. You’ll be able to buy and sell cars in that game.
“Once we get that you get these games into 10 million to 20 million players, then a lot of the industry is going to kind of start really thinking heavily about it,” Linden said. “So we’re hoping this is a big first for the industry to really see.”
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