While we still don’t know exactly what 2K will do with its “non-simulation” NFL license (its arcade-style game is delayed and won’t be released this year), the league is filling that void by announcing a partnership to build its first blockchain game, NFL Rivals. It’s hard to tell exactly what the game will be, but here’s the description:

Delivering on the fantasy of being a team General Manager, this fun, easy to play game will allow NFL fans and gamers alike to compete against other GMs with their assembled player rosters and teams, building, leveling up and improving their lineup. In addition, fans will be able to own, collect and trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of their favorite players through this play-and-own game experience.

There are no screenshots and no trailer available, but NFL Rivals has already announced “Rarity League” drops, which are 32 collections of “unique generative 3D NFL franchise-themed NFTs” that will be released before the game comes out.

Based on that description, it appears destined to fall somewhere on the scale between being a Football Manager for North American football fans and regular fantasy football, presumably without stepping on the Madden franchise’s Ultimate Team modes that already let people build rosters, earn rewards, and improve their lineup.

NFL Rivals will launch on the web and mobile web in early 2023 and, like any Web3 project, has a Discord available for people to stay updated, whether those updates come from the team or phishing attackers.

In a press release, Mythical Games chief creative officer Jamie Jackson says “NFTs with utility can add value to players in-game, and we can’t wait to bring these concepts to NFL Rivals to evolve the team management genre by adding the advantages of play-and-own games, offering the community new ways to engage with their favorite teams and players both in and outside this virtual world.”

The company says it “protects” gamers who are new to the blockchain by using a custodial wallet, which means you don’t have to dive into the intricacies of the blockchain to play. However, that kind of setup is a controversial one among many Web3 fans who argue that if you don’t own the keys to your wallet, then you don’t truly own what’s inside of it. Mythical allows “advanced” players to link their existing wallets via bridges between its Mythical Chain and public mainnets, but as we’ve seen with the NFT game Axie Infinity, which was hacked for over $600 million that no one noticed was missing for nearly a week — bridges can add another potential point of failure for security.

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