NFL Rivals Web2/Web3 game is thriving on the app stores | Mythical interview

Mythical Games has been working on Web3 games for years. Recently, it worked out a way to get its NFL Rivals game on the mobile app stores, and it turns out the hybrid Web2/Web3 games are gaining momentum.

That’s the word based on my interview with John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games. The significant milestones hit by NFL Rivals is helping the company establish better cred in the blockchain space and expand its reach to other games, Linden said.

In fact, that momentum is what helped Mythical announce a deal last week with the brand developers of Pudgy Penguins. Mythical Games and Pudgy Penguins have teamed up with create a Web3-enabled mobile game using some of the same strategy of NFL Rivals. And Linden said that Mythical plans to take Blankos Block Party to mobile app stores using the same kind of strategy that is working with NFL Rivals.

To date, Linden said that NFL Rivals has had more than five million players, and the Mythos Chain (MYTH) has more than a million active wallets.

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How Mythical found a better model with Quick Trades

NFL Rivals is a mobile game in the app stores. It's also a Web3 game.
NFL Rivals is a mobile game in the app stores. It’s also a Web3 game.

NFL Rivals is a good model, Linden said. The game has a Web2 free-to-play version (where you make purchases normally in the app stores, buying items with normal payment methods instead of crytpocurrencies, which aren’t allowed on the Google and Apple stores). The Web2 version can reach a wide audience on the app stores.

To enable secondary trading on the Web3 off-store site, Mythical agreed to create a virtual currency that is required for the transactions. Players have to buy this virtual currency from Google or Apple, using traditional payment methods. Then players can use that to initiate trading on the secondary market, off the stores. Deals can take place in the secondary market, but Apple and Google still get paid.

But through the Mythical web site, there is a version of the game that can exploit Web3 features. Players can find the Web3 version off the app stores and make purchases using wallets and cryptocurrencies if they like. And they can sell their goods on a secondary market.

John Linden is CEO of Mythical Games.
John Linden is CEO of Mythical Games.

Back when Mythical first added secondary trading to NFL Rivals, there was a 10% to 15% lift in overall revenue. So that new chunk of revenue came because players believed in the value of owning the Web3 assets and then trading it with other players.

Now that secondary trading has grown to a 50% lift in revenue, Linden said, particularly as new functionality has come into the game. For instance, players can merge their assets into each other, burning some assets and then coming up with a new one they can trade.

Mythical also came up with something called Quick Trades, started in December. These trades happen when players agree to a trade of their players where they agree that the price for the players can be the same. No money changes hands at all. These deals get priced in real time in the marketplace.

“Now it’s becoming a huge part of the business,” he said. “It’s very powerful. Gamers have loved it. We’ve also cleared it with Apple and Google and so we have those Quick Trades directly in the mobile game itself. You can do that from the NFL Rivals game itself, and it’s a huge driver of activity. We were seeing 100 transactions a day in the secondary market for the NFL Rivals. Now we’re seeing 6,000 or 7,000.”

Since it’s a cashless transaction, there is no need to pay the app stores. It’s an even trade with no money changing hands on the consumer side. Behind the scenes, the trades happen quickly on the blockchain. Mythical buys one card from one seller and then sells it to another one in real time. The assets may trade hands multiple times, with six different parties involved in one transactions. But to the gamer, it’s an even trade.

“We’re basically matchmaking all those transactions in real time behind the scenes,” he said. “We’re facilitating that trade with matchmaking of the transactions behind the scenes. Transaction fees are generated for the game developer on what is essentially an even trade to the developer. It’s driving a lot of value to the economy, and the developer is benefiting from it. And so many more players can trade.”

Passing muster with the platforms

Mythical has launched the Web3 game Nitro Nation World Tour.
Mythical has launched the Web3 game Nitro Nation World Tour.

As revenue has gone up in the game, the developers are better off, and so are Apple and Google.

“We’re applying this to other games like Nitro Nation, our racing tool, and we think we will do it with” the mobile version of Blankos Block Party, Linden said. Nitro Nation is in soft launch now, and it’s being built by CM Games, a game developer in Estonia. It has about 500,000 players in soft launch.

“It’s getting closer,” Linden said.

After there are multiple games on the market, Mythical will be able to enable trading across games, not just trading within one game. And that’s when the whole market could take off further, Linden said. Players can even figure out a way to do an even trade across multiple games.

“With the Quick Trade system, individual transactions are happening behind the scenes, and so every game developer gets paid,” Linden said. “That is definitely where we’re heading next.”

I asked if there was a further kind of economy with trading across other Web3 game companies. Right now, Linden said it’s just limited to Mythical’s chain (based on Polkadot).

There are fewer blockchain game companies around as it has taken longer to get to the mass market than many expected. But there are high-quality developers coming onto the market with games that have been in the works for a long time. These are coming from developers who have been successful in games before, Linden said.

“They’re seeing engagement metrics, and we’re excited about that,” Linden said. “There are more game studios building on Web3. We’re so excited to see where it goes.”

As for other news, Linden believes that in the next nine to 12 months, some of the industry giants who own big IPs will move into this market.

“Obviously, these games take years to come out,” he said.

And the scammy nature of Web3 games could become a thing of the past, Linden said. He noted that NFL Rivals has the blessing of the NFL, Apple and Google — and it has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating.

“Gamers are loving it,” he said. “They’re seeing the value and they are participating more. They’re more engaged. You need to do it right.”

The opportunity with Pudgy Penguins

Pudgy Penguins and Mythical Games have teamed up.

The emerging games in Web3 have intellectual properties and brands, storylines, and assets that are selling in both digital and physical realms. Pudgy Penguins is one of the companies that is doing well in that regard.

“Web3 in gaming is evolving quickly, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for games to be powered by strong communities and great gameplay,” said Linden. “Pudgy Penguins is the only Web3 project to truly go mainstream through their incredible retail partnerships with Walmart and Target and their rapidly growing social media following. We are excited to combine their efforts with a game that will be played by millions. Building this with Mythical Games on the Mythical Platform and Mythos Chain, already used by millions of consumers, is going to be a major driver to further push web3 with mainstream consumers.”

“They have found this amazing audience on social,” Linden added. “Pudgy Penguins isn’t as well known a brand in the world of gaming, but it’s actually growing at a pretty amazing pace. What’s exciting about this crazy world of Web3 is that there have been a lot of brands that have been created, but none of them have hit the mainstream until recently.”

Luca Netz, CEO of Pudgy Penguins said in a statement, “When we decided to create a mobile-first AAA blockchain-based Pudgy Penguins game, working with Mythical Games is something that excited me. Our growth strategy that has reached millions, combined with Mythical Games’ experience and success with gaming, sets up this endeavor for success. We can’t wait to show the Pudgy Penguins community what’s in store and solicit their feedback as development ramps up.”

In the build-up to the game release in 2025, Pudgy Penguins holders will be treated to exclusive content, sneak peeks of in-game footage and given the opportunity to help shape key aspects of the game’s development. The game is designed to appeal to the Pudgy Penguins community as well as the broader gaming market to further grow the Pudgy Penguins’ brand and ethos.

“Pudgy Penguins is getting a lot of traction with consumers,” Linden said.

Blankos Block Party heads to mobile

Blankos Block Party is coming to mobile.
Blankos Block Party is coming to mobile.

Blankos Block Party was Mythical’s original Web3 game. It hit about 1.5 million on the PC, but then the cost of user acquisition was getting rough on that platform and so Mythical ramped it down.

“Unless you hit the algorithm exactly right, it gets very competitive,” he said.

Linden believes Blankos Block Party has a chance to hit larger audience on mobile devices via a free-to-play version, or the Web2 game, and a hybrid model where Web3 can still play a role among the Web3-savvy gamers who will spend more money.

Mythical has talked to Apple and Google to bring the game over from the PC to mobile.

“I’d say we’ve taken everything we learned what worked in Web3 and we’re building a new version for the mobile devices,” he said.

“Obviously the sports teams are working very nicely. That’s a definitely an area that we want to expand on,” he said.

Looking ahead

Linden said he is targeting getting to 10 million players for NFL Rivals this year. The NFL and Mythical were happy to extend their contract several more years, Linden said.

“We’re very excited about Season 2 coming up,” he said. The company is looking at adding other sports such as hockey.

“What’s really going well is bringing the Web3 economy into a mainstream game,” said Linden. “This year, that’s our goal with the upcoming season. We’re coming together and bringing a brand that has done really well on retail, mainstream and social. It’s going to be exciting to see what happens.”

More announcements of new games are coming, he said.