NFL Rivals crypto game scores nearly 3 million players as revenue climbs

Quick Take

  • Since the NFL season got underway, user numbers, revenue and retention rates have all grown for blockchain game NFL Rivals, said Mythical Games’ CEO John Linden.
  • The game’s in-game marketplace is slowly becoming fully operational with the help of the Apple and Google app store policy teams, he also said.

Easily one of the highest-profile blockchain-powered video games on the market, the mobile title NFL Rivals is closing in on 3 million signups as revenue is on the uptick and both Apple and Google have approved its in-game marketplace, according to Mythical Games CEO John Linden.

"We’re closing in on 3 million [new players]," Linden told The Block in an interview. "Since the NFL season started, we're seeing a lot more growth … we're seeing more players stick in the game. We're seeing more players engage in the game. DAUs are going up. MAUs are going up. Revenue per player is going up."

Linden, a video game veteran with years spent at both Activision and Niantic, is in charge of taking Mythical's web3 gaming titles mainstream. NFL Rivals' arcade-style gameplay appears to be catching on with more than 20,000 new players downloading the game each day, he said. Mythical benefits from strong brand recognition as it forged partnerships with both the NFL and the NFL's Players Association. The company has also signed promotional partnerships with the Miami Dolphins and Amazon Prime Gaming.

So far, although gaming has long been seen as a path toward convincing mainstream consumers to adopt blockchain-enabled computer applications, the sector has struggled to catch on. For a brief time during the pandemic, Axie Infinity was a hit, but the game's popularity then eroded significantly.

NFL Rivals is free to play and utilizes the Mythical's Mythos blockchain.

Getting Apple and Google on board

Both Apple and Google have approved early versions of NFL Rivals' in-game marketplace, which allows players to trade NFTs like official player cards, said Linden. Navigating Apple and Google app story policies has been one of the most significant challenges facing crypto games hoping to launch on mobile, where the vast majority of gamers live.

Having the two tech giants allow for players to purchase NFTs as they seek to improve their gaming experience has been "huge," said Linden. "We’ve seen a nearly 50% increase in transaction volume," he added. In total, Linden said NFL Rivals has generated "millions of dollars" in revenue since launching fully in August, just ahead of the football season.


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Rolling out marketplace in three phases

Apple and Google are allowing Mythical to roll out the in-game NFT marketplace in three phases, said Linden, as the companies are keen to protect users. Linden said the first phase allows for players to purchase assets from other players through a "recommendation engine."

Now Mystical is working on the second phase, which when complete, will allow players to sell game assets in-game through a "credit system." The third phase will involve the entire marketplace going live, he added.

Linden admitted that some might argue that NFL Rivals is not a fully web3 game, but he said convincing tech giants like Apple and Google to allow for trading of digital assets minted on the blockchain is a process that will take time.

NFL Rivals' user and revenue growth should come as welcome news to Mythical's long list of investors. The company was valued at $1.25 billion in 2021 after raising $150 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz. In June, Mythical then raised an additional $37 million from a group of new investors like Cathie Wood's ARK Invest, Animoca Brands and MoonPay.

The company currently aims to raise another $38 million, said Linden.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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