National Football League releases blockchain video game from Mythical Games

The National Football League has announced a partnership with Mythical Games to develop a blockchain video game called NFL Rivals. The game will use unique 3D NFL franchise-themed generative NFTs and let players act as general managers to create a team and compete against other teams.

Given the explosive growth of blockchain games, this deal comes as no surprise and more are likely to follow. As we touched on back in 2020, blockchain games are becoming a key factor in the mainstream adoption of blockchain. The use of sports-themed content licenses for blockchain games is not new. We worked with Lucid Sight on their MLB-licensed blockchain game announced in 2018. Rivals is a continuation of the trend of major sports teams licensing content for NFT and other blockchain projects. Given Mythical’s team’s AAA game development experience, this will likely be a cutting-edge blockchain video game. Other notable sports-related NFT licensing deals include NBA Top Shot by Dapper Labs, one of the most successful NFT collecting projects.

This license agreement is also a continuation of the broader trend of well-known brands licensing their intellectual property to Web3 companies for use with NFTs, metaverses, and other blockchain-related purposes. Intellectual property licensing for NFTs encompasses all of the traditional issues encountered in intellectual property licensing, as well as some NFT-specific issues. For example, we’ve covered some examples of legal issues and considerations that arise when brands license their IP for NFTs. Other problems continue to appear.

For example, while many of the early NFT license agreements only gave users a personal, non-commercial license to use the digital assets associated with the NFT, there is a growing trend to grant some commercialization rights to NFT owners. Another issue that may be relevant to blockchain games is the use of dynamic NFTs. Dynamic NFTs allow the metadata and even the digital assets associated with the NFT to change even after the original sale. For an overview of dynamic NFTs, see this Chainlink article. The legal issues with dynamic NFTs can become very complex.

As we’ve already discussed, there are also many legal issues to consider when it comes to blockchain gaming. For example, in addition to the IP-intensive issues, blockchain games must be legally reviewed for issues related to gambling, securities, money laundering, and other financial regulatory issues.

The opportunities and growth in blockchain games, NFTs and Web3 in general are exploding. But also the official examination and lawsuits. Anyone who uses these options should ensure that the legal aspects are carefully examined.

Copyright © 2022, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 155

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