What is this article about?
As the web3 gaming revolution rapidly approaches, this article presents the top 8 web3 sports games worth exploring. Each game boasts distinctive characters, lore, and communities. Moreover, you will explore how these sports games have skillfully integrated NFTs, offering unique utilities and creative competitions. This enables players to prioritize enjoyment while also rewarding active engagement within the game and on their social media platforms. Now let’s discover all the strategies of each sports game and find out what it took each of them to bring new audiences to web3 successfully.
NFL Rivals is a mobile web3 game that centres on American football. Players can collect and upgrade digital collectibles featuring their favourite NFL stars.
The game has achieved over 1 million downloads and is available on both the iOS Apple Store and Google Play Store, earning an average rating of 4.8 stars. The team behind NFL opted to build the game on the Mythical blockchain due to its ease of minting NFTs and integrating the marketplace without needing mining (Mythical Games, 2023).
In addition, The Mythical Chain enables tracking and supporting assets across multiple blockchains. This facilitates asset transfer and sales across public blockchains while guaranteeing payment splits to developers for secondary transactions, no matter where they occur.
Mythical Games, the web3 gaming studio behind the Mythical Chain, secured $37 million in Series C1 funding in June 2023. Another round worth $20-30 million will be disclosed later this year. Scytale Digital led the Series C1 extension round, with ARK Invest, Animoca Brands, MoonPay, Proof, and Stanford Athletics joining as new investors.NFL Rivals got a portion of the $37 Million to build their in-game marketplace.
The team behind NFL Rivals has also unlocked new web3 gaming features by allowing players to create their dream team lineup in the NFL Rivals Rarity League. This functionality allows them to utilize limited collections, exclusive designs, and superior statistics, giving them a competitive advantage.
Moreover, the Rarity League encourages players to bring together their friends for an ultimate showdown, promoting a sense of community and healthy competition.
Another news coming to NFL Rivals game is the Shakers program. Approaching the final stage of the NFL Rivals offseason, the focus is on free agency and player trades. The Shakers program aims to capture the excitement of prominent players making surprising moves, delighting or shocking their new teams’ fans (Mythical Games, 2023). The buzz surrounding the trade or free agency acquisition will determine player card rarity. Legendary cards feature the most talked-about players, while Mythical rarity represents the offseason trades generating the highest hype. New player packs will be available in the game on July 21 with the launch of the Shakers program.
The NFT concept is conceived as an additional layer of engagement for players. Around 10% of the total players traded NFTs on their marketplace, showing there is demand for web3 gaming features (NFT News Today, 2023).
Because of the successful NFT integration in NFL Rivals, Mythical Games has also introduced NFL All Day, where players can buy, sell and play for rare highlight collectibles from their favourite NFL players and teams. NFT ticketing collectibles is another field Mythical Games has been actively discovering, meaning that more games are willing to implement NFTs soon.
Sorare is a Football Fantasy Manager game built on the Ethereum blockchain, and it is currently playable both on PC and mobile. The sports game has secured a whopping $680 million in Series B financing, led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, at a valuation of $4.3 billion (Forbes, 2021). It is marked as the second-largest raise in the history of crypto. The firm has also recently raised an additional $19 million for the beta token pre-sale funding.
With this budget, Sorare has collaborated with the most famous athletes backing the project. For example, Antoine Griezmann, a famous football player is playing Sorare regularly, while Gerard Pique joined the startup as a strategic advisor.
Furthermore, the partnership with Liverpool was one of the major ones from last year. The new partnership saw Liverpool playing cards on the platform, which will be purchased using NFTs (Cryptostars, 2022). These tokens are crypto assets that record the possession status of virtual items. The new agreement will see perks such as Liverpool stadium visits, matchday experiences, merchandise, and video content offered as prizes for winners of the online game. At the time this partnership happened, Sorare had over two million registered users and over 280 partnering sports organizations. After just ten months, Sorare records more than 3,7 million registered users with over 350 partnering sports organizations and the most elite athletes, including Messi, who is actively promoting Sorare (Sorare, 2023).
Sorare is not just a global behemoth in terms of football. They have also made big steps in other sports, such as MLB Sorare and NBA Sorare, where the company has officially licensed teams in the game.
Finally, the Fantasy Sports game has not only succeeded in securing world-class partnerships, but the team has also planned substantial gameplay upgrades for 2023-2024. To fulfil Sorare’s vision, the updates focus on three elements: passion, power, and connection. Sorare will offer new fantasy gameplay for high engagement, gamify the platform for ownership control, and provide untouchable fan experiences. These updates will bring more excitement to our Sorare community (Medium, 2023). Also, the eligibility for Super Rare cards in unique competitions is being reduced from two to one. This update is due to the sufficient number of unique cards on the platform.
Swoops is a basketball simulation game and virtual league that lets you own, manage, coach, and profit from your digital basketball team. As of January 2023, it was officially released, and since then, over 300,000 matches have been played featuring more than 400 branded teams (playswoops, 2023).
The web3 game is based on Ethereum and Polygon blockchain, fusing traditional sports games with blockchain technology. In its free-to-play Beta phase, Season 0, over 130,000 virtual games were played, and Swoopster NFTs, which represent tokenized virtual players, sold out in less than 25 minutes (dGEN, 2023). The project aims to establish a strong basketball fan community and launch its play-to-earn Season 1, requiring players to purchase Season 1 NFT Swoopsters to participate. The ‘Season 1’ NFT collection comprises 10,000 players, with new additions each season. Public minting commences in June. Once Season 1 is fully minted and sold, the developers will disclose the player types in the same month. Remaining an active member of their social media community could earn you spots in private and public drops scheduled for the coming months.
Swoops NFTs have great utilities, where owners gain full commercial IP ownership. The play-to-earn game aims to be skill-based, with each player having various stats such as position, passing, consistency, athleticism, defensive rebounding, and more, making it essential to strategize correctly, creating well-thought-out lineups to beat your opponent. Aside from purchasing and selling, NFT holders can also stake the players they own, train, and draft them.
The Swoops community is robust, demonstrating a high demand for their NFTs. To further bolster community engagement, Swoops has declared major tournaments such as the SOA Cup and The Global Open Tournaments (playswoops, 2023). The acronym ‘SOA’ stands for “Swoops Owners Association,” which will kickstart the season with the first of the two major tournaments. On the other hand, The Global Open provides an opportunity for Swoops to embrace the diversity of their community each season, fostering a worldwide game, league, and gathering to which everyone is invited.
Swoops is changing basketball by letting fans be team owners, managers, and coaches, roles usually only for the rich. CEO Manish Sinha talks about how blockchain and NFTs can give fans more control over the game (One37PM, 2023). They aim to let everyday fans own teams and make important decisions. Sinha emphasizes that their project is not merely a game but a comprehensive system that others can utilize. He adds that NFTs offer users value and present a fresh business strategy for the company. In essence, Swoops aims to leverage novel technology to provide fans with greater involvement and influence in the world of sports.
Swoops has secured $3.5 million in funding from a round led by Courtside Ventures and Alpaca VC (playtoearn.net, 2023). Other investors include Slow Ventures, Red Beard Ventures, Future Perfect, Jon Oringer’s Pareto Holdings, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, and VaynerX CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, as well as the owners of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. The funds will support building the community and the team and accelerating game development.
Lazy Soccer is another popular web3 game. Its unique gameplay, conceived as ‘Think 2 Earn’, stands apart from the competition. Therefore, the soccer game utilizes a great variety of balance and deep-thought game mechanics, which will allow Managers to create their management style in combination with the game’s different possibilities (UnitedFan, 2023).
Lazy Soccer’s unique feature is its economic system that simulates real-world soccer team finances. Players manage wages, ticket pricing, and merchandise sales to secure their team’s future (John Buz, 2023). Furthermore, Lazy Soccer employs a cryptocurrency reward system via the Think 2 Earn platform. Players earn ThinkCoins from gameplay and in-game challenges, usable for virtual purchases or real-world currency exchanges.
Lazy Soccer will feature several NFT collections with high but different utility. Here is a breakdown:
- Lazy Alpha – A limited alpha collection of 1000 NFTs, with ten exclusive mythic Lazy Alphas available. Long-term investors maintaining two Lazy Alpha NFTs will have membership in the DAO and access to alpha chat, engaging with cutting-edge crypto and NFT projects. Two Lazy Alpha NFTs will grant an exclusive privilege to mint the new Lazy Soccer Staff NFT for game access. The owners of Lazy Alpha NFTs will have the power to create Unity and pivotal roles in the game’s ecosystem.
- Lazy Soccer Staff – The “play and earn” version of the Lazy Soccer game requires the gamer to acquire NFTs and to play without limits. You need the Lazy Soccer Staff NFT. These NFTs work as a multiplier and provide game benefits based on rarity. Additionally, Lazy Soccer Staff NFT holders may receive airdrops from the following collections. This collection is an upcoming mint with a price of $30 and a total supply of 10.000.
The rarity of Lazy Soccer’s NFT collections is based on different categories comprising: background, eyes, fur, clothes, hat, and mouth (Lazy Soccer, 2023). To check the rarity of your NFTs, Lazy Soccer has included their rarity checker, a tool where you can determine the rarity of your NFT character based on its ID number. Furthermore, Lazy Soccer boasts a remarkably positive community experience, and this is evident through its thriving Discord channel. The channel remains consistently active, thanks to the outstanding organization of various engaging events. These events include community gatherings, exciting raffles, Lazy games, and the Zealy leaderboards, offering community members an opportunity to actively participate in quests, earn XP points, and enjoy exclusive perks.
The commitment to fostering their community to new heights is apparent as Lazy Soccer proudly took part in the prestigious web3 gaming event, 3XP (LinkedIn, 2023). At this remarkable event, they organized a grand tournament within the 3XP Esports Arena, where gaming communities and content creators battled it out for valuable prizes, elevating the excitement within the community.
Since independence is one of the value propositions for Lazy Soccer, the formation and development of the game will not influence by big investors, because their interests are usually against the community needs. Moreover, overall marketing and market procedure strategies that are supported by investors are often ruining the efficiency of decisions that are being taken and harm the web3 gaming process (Lazy Soccer Whitepaper, 2023).
Let’s have a break
You’ve now learned a great deal about NFL Rivals, Sorare, Swoops, and Lazy Soccer. As you can observe, a common thread among all these web3 sports games is their successful integration of web3 and NFTs to cater to their audiences. Sorare has resonated exceptionally well with its audience, while NFL Rivals recognized the potential of enhancing utility through NFTs. Impressive, isn’t it? This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ready to dive deeper into the world of gaming? Stay tuned for the next part in our top 8 web3 sports games research. And don’t hesitate to share this article with other web3 enthusiasts on Twitter or Discord.