Low-cost startup Mythical Games, developer of the NFT-powered Blankos Block Party game, today announced a new $150 million Series C round of funding. It values the company at $1.25 billion, marking a $1 billion valuation for another so-called cryptocurrency unicorn.
Mythical’s latest funding round was packed with big names in the venture capital world, not to mention the sports and entertainment world. Major venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led the round, which also included participation from cryptocurrency exchanges FTX and Binance, as well as D1 Capital, RedBird Capital and The Raine Group.
The Series C round also included participation from 32 Equity, the investment arm of the National Football League, as well as OneTeam Partners, an investment alliance between the National Football League and the MLB’s respective player associations.
NBA legend Michael Jordan is also involved, along with Michael Gordon of The Kraft Group (New England Patriots), Fenway Sports Group (Boston Red Sox), Mantis VC Investments of The Chainsmokers, and singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder of OneDirection.
When asked why Mythical has attracted so many personalities from the sports industry, Matt Nutt, chief revenue officer at Mythical Games, noted that sports video games lack excitement because the market is dominated by licensed, annualized, lightly evolved simulations like EA Sports’ FIFA and Madden franchises. He credits the success of NBA Top Shot and NFTs for renewed interest in new types of sports-themed games and interactive experiences.
“Suddenly, the category is very interesting to everyone because NFTs in particular promote the convergence of digital collectibles and video games. Everyone is rushing in,” Nutt told Decrypt. “When it’s been dormant for a decade, there’s suddenly a lot of interest.”
Mythical Games’ latest funding comes just five months after the company secured a $75 million Series B round from investors and NFT entrepreneurs Gary Vaynerchuk, Galaxy Digital, and others. In total, Mythical has now raised over $270 million, including today’s Series C.
Founded in 2018, Mythical Games is the product of former executives from a range of top gaming companies, including Electronic Arts, Oculus, Activision, and Zynga. its first game, a metadata-style, NFT-driven creation and game called Blankos Block Party, launched this year on PC with early access . The game has been released with licensed NFTs from partners such as fashion brand Burberry and electronic musician Deadmau5.
Interestingly, in the press release provided by Mythical Games today about the Series C funding round, there is no mention of Blankos Block Party at all.Nutt said that Mythical will continue to support the game’s long-term roadmap, including new features and services, plus he said that its development team has grown since the beginning of this year.
But as the studio has doubled its staff in recent months – it now has more than 150 employees and is set to expand further – the company is expanding its focus as it launches the Mythical platform to help other developers launch games powered by cryptocurrency in a player-owned economy.
Like Blankos Block Party, the Mythical platform runs on the EOSIO blockchain platform, which is compatible with the Ether Virtual Machine (EVM). Developers Creative Mobile, CCG Lab and Abstraction Games are the first games to launch using the platform in partnership with Mythical.
According to Nutt, Mythical will provide technology and consulting, and the latter’s services will draw on the team’s considerable video game industry experience. He said brands and companies are excited about entering the blockchain gaming space, but it can be costly and potentially even damaging if done poorly.
“Those of us in the gaming industry embody these polarized tensions between the desire to do innovative new things and being experts at mitigating risk,” Nutter said.” There are a lot of different things you can do with this technology that are innovative and disruptive. But you can also deploy this technology in ways that can be quite damaging in terms of game experience, community building and community management over long periods of time.”
Axie Infinity has become the first major success story for blockchain and play-to-play games, but it’s still early days in the space, Nutt said, adding that Mythical’s goal now is to help bring more of its partners’ projects to life while experimenting to establish best practices and ultimately move the space forward.
“We don’t claim to have the answers,” he said. He says, “We see through our partnerships what works and what doesn’t so we can cross-pollinate between all of our partners – really help each other get up the learning curve as quickly as possible.”