#1: Mythical Games Goes Epic
Last December, Mythical Games made a big splash when Blankos Block Party offered the first NFT through Amazon’s Prime Gaming for free. Last week, it was announced that Blankos Block Party would be the second NFT game set to appear on the Epic Games Store, although it will be playable before GRIT. While Blankos Block Party already has over 2 million registered accounts, getting exposure to the 180 million users of Epic Games Store will undoubtedly stimulate the growth of the game’s audience. This also puts it more directly in competition with its most similar rival, Fall Guys, which just switched to F2P and is exclusive to Epic Games Store for PC.
Luckily, with both games being F2P, there’s plenty of potential for their audiences to overlap. Blankos Block Party also makes NFT onboarding easier by using custodial wallets, giving advanced users the option to use their wallets. The game also allows for purchases using credit cards in order to avoid players needing to use any form of cryptocurrency. Given its easy onboarding, broad appeal, and exposure through Epic Games Store, the game will expand the blockchain gaming audience outside of the niche it’s currently stuck in.
In addition to the Epic Games Store move, Mythical Games announced two new blockchain games for 2023: Nitro Nation: World Tour and Epic Spell Wars: Magic Fight. Both games are based on existing franchises — Nitro Nation being a popular (75M installs) mobile drag racing game from Creative Mobile, and Epic Spell Wars a successful series of physical card games from Cryptozoic. Trading card games are a natural fit for NFTs as game-based collectibles, and we anticipate that it will grow to be a competitive genre with more games planned to be released over the next two years.
Having brand recognition for Epic Spell Wars from card game players will increase the appeal, but it’s not clear if the game is intended to launch on Epic Games Store because of the boost in exposure. Nitro Nation is joining a relatively niche genre with some competition from the Revv Motorsports ecosystem of games. The advantage it has is potentially launching on mobile app stores, where the drag racing subgenre is already popular, assuming it can make it past Apple and Google. It’s unclear how much a mobile audience would be interested in the ownership of cars as NFTs, but it seems safe to assume that Mythical Games will implement a custodial wallet system for easy onboarding as well.
Mythical Games also revealed that its partnership with Burberry will return with a new series of NFTs. The most expensive item is a $350 “Minny B” unicorn figure limited to 750 copies. Other items include shoes, a horseshoe chain, boombox, and a “shellphone,” ranging in price from $50 to $100 and mostly limited to 500 or 750 copies. Burberry’s return is due to the success of its previous “Sharky B” NFT in August of last year, and owners of that figure will be receiving a free Monogram bucket hat accessory in the next few weeks.
Given the drastic difference in market conditions between last August and this June, it’s likely to be a harder sell. The limited-time sale is running from June 21st to July 5th, but FOMO may be less of a driver than it used to be. The collaboration in tandem with the Epic Games Store launch will hopefully draw some interest from a more mainstream game audience to the exciting world of in-game digital collectibles.
#2: Manticore Games Brings NFTs to Its Creative Platform
In a move that will help distinguish itself from competitors like Roblox, Manticore Games released NFT features for developers on its Core platform. Core is essentially a platform similar to Roblox but built in Unreal Engine for better graphics and targeting an older audience. Manticore Games has tried a few different angles to increase interest from Roblox players who age out of that demographic, e.g., a better payout split, higher-quality graphics, and a ton of solid developer support. However, support for NFTs is something that has no real comparison to Roblox and even sets itself apart from Decentraland and The Sandbox in that you don’t need to own Land or pay anything to build and monetize games.
Another competitive advantage related to the other top story here is that Core is on Epic Games Store and has even received some funding from Epic, most likely due to its use of Unreal Engine. All that being said, Core has generally struggled to find significant audience growth over the last year, with exact DAUs remaining unknown. Manticore does try and incentivize game creators to increase and monitor their game’s DAUs to help boost overall retention.
The new NFT functionality is completely optional and works by connecting your Metamask wallet to your Core account. Once the connection is made, players can use their NFTs as a profile picture, part of your avatar, or in games on the platform that support the NFTs. The requirements for an eligible NFT are that it needs to be minted on Ethereum, indexed by OpenSea, and not flagged as explicit content. Aside from displaying the NFT image on your profile and avatar, games themselves can do different things with NFTs from your wallet, such as displaying them in-game, offering gating activities/items/rewards based on NFT ownership, and using the attributes of NFTs as part of the procedural gaming content.
As far as metaverse NFT interoperability goes, this level of functionality (although still limited to Core’s “microverse”) beats competitors to the punch, but there’s no guarantee of any traction from the main Core audience. The huge upside for NFT projects is that this allows them to build experiences and utility for their NFTs and even further monetize through the profit sharing system. It’s too early to see anyone integrating NFTs into Core games, but Manticore has already provided useful template content and will be running a Web3 development bootcamp in July.
- Gods Unchained announced detailed plans for a daily earning system. Link
- Gala Games recently announced four new games: Freeystyle Football 2, Champions Arena, Forever Winter, and Betwixt NFT. Link
- SimWin, a Fantasy Sports simulation game, was announced, with support from sports celebrities like Magic Johnson, Tracy McGrady, and LaMelo Ball. Link
- WAX Studios announced its second game, Music Mogul. Link
- Chumbi Valley announced a new roadmap and an airdrop for its CHMB token. Link
- Sky Mavis announced an Axie Creators program to reward highly engaged community members. Link
- Mars4, a space game using NASA data, released a demo for NFT holders. Link
- Mytheria, a Binance TCG, announced an open beta with play-to-earn features for late June. Link
- Colonize Mars, an idle sim, announced new game mechanics for release in July. Link
- Life Beyond, a sci-fi MMO, announced early access for June 29th and an open alpha for July 6th. Link
- Immutable X created a $500M fund for cash and $IMX grants to developers, IP holders, and strategic partners for the Immutable chain. Link
- Animoca Brands acquired 80.45% of TinyTap, an education UGC platform, for $38.875M. Link
- Sknups, a fashion-centric collectibles platform, raised $3.5M alongside a partnership announcement with Dolce & Gabbana. Link
- Sushi announced integration of GameStop’s new NFT wallet. Link
- Yield Guild Games announced partnerships with games TatsuMeeko and Walken.
Notable Market Moves
- Most of the crypto market started seeing some recovery from last week’s dips on the 19th and 20th. Despite entering a bear market and a potential crypto winter, its commonly held that gaming is a fairly recession-resistant sector. There are two gaming markets that remain untested, with mobile having only begun in 2008 and web3 only very recently. Web3 gaming does have a much more direct tie to financial markets, so the next two years should be a good test of resilience.
- ApeCoin saw a strong upswing on the 19th to a high of $4.82 on the news of Noah Davis, known as “The NFT Guy” from Christie’s, leaving to join Yuga Labs as the CryptoPunks brand lead. While not directly an ApeCoin project, the two are connected through The Otherside, and many speculators were looking for any positive news related to the project to increase ApeCoin’s value.
- The Sandbox has been pretty consistently down since the 10th, but has been bouncing around between $0.75 and $0.97. While news on partnerships has been pretty consistent, the most recent announcement of TIME building a ‘TIME Square’ is the most likely culprit for the bout of confidence.
- StepN managed a very sharp upswing on the 20th thanks to implementation of a new Sneaker Enhancement system that requires burning 5 sneaker NFTs to get a higher-quality one. This is part of the broader StepN plan to curb out of control Sneaker inflation and was implemented alongside disabling of the Solana-BNB energy that had been causing some arbitrage issues. While this improved confidence in the governance token, GMT, the utility token, GST, seems to have bottomed out at around $0.23 with no sign of this new feature having an effect.
Content Worth Consuming
- The Sandbox's US CEO explains his vision for the metaverse platform and why people are still flocking to web3 during the crypto winter (Markets Insider) - “Nouzareth, a 27-year entrepreneur veteran, acknowledged that the crypto sell-off has been painful for many investors, though he isn't too concerned because it's not the first bear market he's witnessed. ‘I've seen five of these downturns. But if you keep your head down and focus on building, in two, three years, we will see some massive, amazing companies that will emerge after this,’ Nouzareth said. He noted that the company's total user base has not decreased during the crypto bear market. Instead, the right type of users still flock to The Sandbox, he added, because they aren't the ones interested in a get-rich-quick scheme. A bear market encourages longer-term thinking and community-building, which is good when a company is aiming to build a platform that can outlast cycles in the market, Nouzareth explained.” Link
- Where Are the Emperor's Clothes? (Knower’s Substack) - “As you can see, even in shitty market conditions, there are still things making money. This is a huge positive. If you believe a protocol will stick around and continue building through the bear, there’s no reason to believe the token will go to zero. There are other factors to take into consideration, however, making this a much more difficult guessing game. For instance, why might someone from the future look at our current alts and decide to bid? Why buy something old when you could trade it in for a shiny new token with potentially stronger tokenomics? Why buy an old token without meaningful value accrual when you could shoot for the moon and potentially buy the new cycle’s version of a SOL or JEWEL?” Link
- Inside Illuvium’s $72m Land Sale with Economy Designer Khalid Alroumi (Deconstructor of Fun) - “Against the backdrop of a crypto winter that has many a team re-evaluating their go-to-market plan, Illuvium pressed ahead with their land NFT sale, taking in over $72m in a well-organized, well run, low-gas fee land sale. In today’s episode, we go deep inside Illuvium with System and Economy Designer Khalid Alroumi. In this wide-ranging talk, we get an inside look at Illuvium and the many challenges the team faces as it works to forge a long-term sustainable, multi-game, token-based economy that balances the needs of multi different player types. This was an eye-opening conversation about what it is like working as an economy designer in this new frontier of architecting ownership-based digital economies.” Link
- Building a Sustainable Blockchain Game ft. Gods Unchained (Naavik Metacast) - “Chris Clay has been working on games for over two decades. He has spent the last 3 years building and operating one of the most popular and sustainable Blockchain Games in the world, Gods Unchained . Together with Alex Takei, he joins your host Nico Vereecke for a deep dive into Gods Unchained, learnings from 3 years of Web3 game building, advantages and disadvantages of using Blockchain technology, & more.” Link