December 4, 2023

A new NFL-themed mobile game is reimagining how the blockchain is used in mobile gaming.

The National Football League and NFL Players Association launched their first blockchain-based game on the App Store and Google Play stores on Wednesday in collaboration with gaming technology studio Mythical Games. 

In the game, called NFL Rivals, players can run their own teams as a general manager and play as their favorite players in arcade-style gameplay. Thanks to the blockchain, users can also buy, collect, and trade NFT digital items that unlock access to special events and in-game rewards. 

“Collaborating with Mythical Games and the NFLPA to produce an innovative gaming experience such as NFL Rivals is a testament to the NFL’s success in the world of Web3 gaming,” Ed Kiang, VP of video gaming at the NFL, said in a statement.

For the NFL draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday, players can participate in draft-themed in-game events and buy player packs that will transform into the players in the game as they get drafted.

The new game, available for download on mobile as of Wednesday, will feature a simple but interactive experience to target casual fans, according to Mythical Games CEO John Linden.

“It’s super easy to pick up. I can play it for a couple minutes. I can set it down and pick it up again an hour later and play one more match,” he said. “What we’re trying to get to is a bigger audience.”

As part of that push for mainstream appeal, Linden said the company is not advertising the fact that NFTs or the blockchain are being used.

“If you’ve used the words ‘crypto’ and ‘NFTs,’ you’re kind of a crypto- or NFT-type project, right? If you’re using the tech for consumers, you probably don’t even need to mention it, just provide the great functionality,” he said.

Still, by using the blockchain, Linden said, the game will have capabilities that wouldn’t otherwise be feasible with typical game technology.

Enabling these Web3 capabilities is Mythical Games’ transition of its Mythical Chain from Ethereum to a parachain on the Polkadot ecosystem, which Linden said will help with scalability. Linden noted that the Mythical Chain has recorded about 3.2 million on-chain gaming transactions over the past 30 days. 

“We’re playing for massive scale, massive audiences,” he added.

Because of the way Polkadot is structured, with parachains that are project-specific but still integrated into the Polkadot ecosystem, Mythical will have more flexibility, said Björn Wagner, CEO of Parity Technologies, a leading contributor to the Polkadot network. The company also will have more control over gas fees and be capable of faster transaction times, which is important for gaming.

“We are going to see that changing quite drastically—how much you hear about Polkadot, specifically with those projects powered by Polkadot that are more consumer-facing projects,” he added.


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