Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Mythical Games, the Web3 game studio behind such titles as NFL Rivals and Blankos Block Party, announced today that it has raised $37 million in Series C1 funding, with another $20-30 million worth expected to be revealed later this year.
The Series C1 extension round was led by Scytale Digital, with ARK Invest, Animoca Brands, MoonPay, Proof, and Stanford Athletics also in the mix as new investors. Previous investors Andresseen Horowitz, WestCap, Struck Capital, Signum Growth, and Gaingels also participated in this round.
Mythical Games CEO and co-founder John Linden said that some of the strategic investors planned for the round are still in negotiations, and to expect an additional close later in 2023.
“Sometimes the strategic groups in the entertainment, sports, or gaming worlds can take a little bit longer,” he told Decrypt of the split approach.
The company raised a $150 million Series C round in November 2021 led by Andreessen Horowitz, which valued the firm as a so-called “unicorn” at $1.25 billion. Linden said that Mythical opted not to do a Series D this time around as “a lot of the terms are very similar” to the Series C.
A press release for the raise notes that Mythical “maintains its unicorn valuation” with this raise, but a company spokesperson would not further clarify whether the valuation had changed. Linden said that Mythical decided to raise money as the company believes it’s close to reaching profitability. A potential Series D may follow if Mythical achieves that goal, he added.
“Our focus is getting to profitability, and we believe this round is what does it,” Lindsen said. “We think within 12 months, we can be profitable off of what we're doing.”
Mythical Games released the officially-licensed mobile game NFL Rivals in late April, and recently revealed that the game has been downloaded more than 1 million times across iOS and Android.
The mobile game supports -based pro players that can be traded, but it’s a completely optional element that isn’t contained within the app itself. Players don’t need a crypto wallet or NFTs to play, but Linden said that a wallet is automatically created for players and is available if they want to buy or trade NFTs down the line.
“We wanted to make sure we're hitting an audience that, frankly, a lot of them don't know Web3,” Linden explained. “They don't know what a private key is.”
Over time, NFL Rivals plans to introduce more Web3 elements into the game experience, and potentially nudge players to check out those features. One such feature is bids, which will let NFT traders offer to purchase player cards—a move that could get other players to pay attention to the potential benefits of ownable, tradable assets.
Events are constantly swapping out in NFL Rivals, so be sure to check often!
— NFL Rivals 🏈 (@PlayNFLRivals) June 22, 2023
“If you're suddenly sitting on a Patrick Mahomes card, you might not know that it's fully tradable and sellable right when you first get it,” Linden said. “But if somebody says, ‘Hey, I'll give you $100 US for that card because I want it for my collection,’ it’s going to educate people very quickly.”
Furthermore, Linden said that Mythical is discussing with Apple and Google the possibility of bringing the NFT marketplace directly into the NFL Rivals app—a challenge given the tech giants’ respective stances towards NFTs. Apple and Google alike charge a sizeable fee on in-app purchases, up to a 30% cut, which is an awkward fit for Web3’s decentralized platforms.
“We've actually been working with both app stores around bringing the entire marketplace into the game,” he said. “We're making amazing progress with that. I think we're seeing a lot more receptive attitude.”
Mythical will continue pushing NFL Rivals, particularly with the new season ahead later this summer, plus it has the NFT-driven mobile drag racing game Nitro Nation World Tour on the horizon. The Mythical Chain is set to migrate to as well, as previously announced, setting up a potentially busy rest of 2023 for the startup.