Mythical Games is revising its Web3 PC game Blankos Block Party and taking the title to mobile gamers.
The move comes after the company saw good success with its NFL Rivals game on iOS and Android, with nearly 2.5 million downloads to date. The company launched NFL Rivals back in August with timing tied to the NFL season kickoff. It was the first Web3 game to be featured on the app stores.
But NFL Rivals was a combination of both Web2 and Web3 features, said John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. The game enabled players to pay for things inside the app stores without having to use cryptocurrency or even Mythicals own tokens. That stopped it from being blocked.
While Mythical Games had to play by the rules set down by Google Play and the Apple App Store, it succeeded in getting onto the most populous stores for gamers. Google Play explicitly laid down rules that stopped any Web3 games from being linked to gambling, and it had other restrictions too. Apple, meanwhile, appears to have approved the game on an experimental basis. And Apple featured the NFL Rivals title as “game of the day,” which Linden said was “great for us.”
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Most of the players in the game on iOS and Android are Web2 players, and only a small percentage are Web3 players.
Mythical held frequent conversations with the stores to figure out its approach. While Web3 technology is incorporated into the NFL game, its “gamers first” approach allows players to enjoy NFL Rivals without diving into the intricacies of blockchain technology. The NFL game is available only on iOS and Android.
NFL Rivals lets players obtain, upgrade and trade digital collectibles alongside players. Players can trade and sell these digital collectibles on Mythical’s Marketplace — but they are not required to do so.
This blockchain marketplace is available in-game on mobile devices, reducing friction for users. The Marketplace lists items in Rivals credits. On the app stores, players buy virtual currency and they buy the items in the marketplace with that virtual currency. You can also use that virtual currency to buy items on the blockchain. But if you buy credits in a game, you can’t cash them out. You use it to buy other things.
In turn, players can purchase this currency players through in-app purchases, which gives the stores their 30% cut of purchases. This extra step was likely critical to work within both App Store and Google Play Store policies. Behind the scenes, players are assigned wallets for their tokens. But they Mythical token is not interchangeable with other cryptocurrencies.
“We’ve gotten a lot of a lot of good feedback. I think the industry sees they’re embracing us. We’ve gone from proving this out to talking to them about more new titles coming out,” Linden said. “It’s working quite well.”
He noted that Apple has been more opaque than Google Play, though they still held frequent conversations. Linden wasn’t sure if Apple has an official policy on blockchain games yet, but he knows there are certain things about Web3 Apple worries about and certain things they don’t worry about.
“We really tried to play by the app store rules,” Linden said. “They know exactly what is in our builds. I’m just happy they are going to see how this goes.”
Mythical added a machine learning program to see if it can improve a player’s lineup. When that was added to the game, secondary sales from one player to another increased about four times.
“The most important thing we shared with Apple is that 50% of all players who first bought an early purchase from another player have now come back and bought in the app store,” Linden said. “We’re showing Apple this is not hurting you in any way.”
Players purchases collectibles from each other, and then they go back and buy more in the store. With Blankos, players bought more items in the Web3 game than players normally do in a free-to-play game.
“I think we’re getting to that hockey stick moment for Web3,” he said. “We’ll probably be close to adding about a million players a month right now in the game, which is really nice to see.”
By contrast, Blanks Block Party is available only on the PC and Mac. Linden said the company is redoing the game from the ground up based on the learnings so far and it will launch the game on mobile.
“The strategy there we’re working on a new game that is mobile first, but it will be cross play with the PC,” he said.
Blankos Block Party had a challenge where the spending in the game was lower than the cost of acquisition. And that cost of acquisition was high as it wasn’t on the app stores. It was available on the Epic Games Store, but there wasn’t that much promotion on that store. Such promotion was Mythical’s responsibility, and that was a high cost.
Blankos also had two different activities. One was shooting and the other was racing, and the audiences didn’t mix much. With revisions, the company thinks it will be a success on mobile app stores.
Overall, Linden said, “We’re very happy with the early performance.”
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