Developers offered chance to create new NFL-themed mobile game.
- Challenge will launch in Q2 2021
- NFL eyeing further gaming revenue as mobile play rises in popularity
The National Football League (NFL) has teamed up with mobile games platform Skillz to host a global game developer challenge, with the aim of creating a ‘future mobile esport’.
The crowdsourcing initiative will see the two parties give developers the opportunity to create an NFL-themed mobile game, which is set to be powered by Skillz’s esports platform and have joint marketing support from the NFL and Skillz.
The challenge will launch in the second quarter of 2021 and is open to all genres except for 11 versus 11 simulated games.
The move sees the NFL bid to increase its presence in the lucrative mobile gaming market. The first lockdown led to a spike in mobile gaming with 2.9 billion people playing games on their phone, according to a WARC study. App Annie, the mobile analytics and data company, also reported that gross consumer spend reached US$112 billion on mobile in 2020, US$81 billion of which came from games.
The official licensed 11 versus 11 NFL Madden title, developed by EA Sports, is available on mobile, but a new game authorised by the league could open up another lucrative revenue stream. As for it becoming a popular esport, in line with its NFL console counterpart, the new game will face stiff competition from non-sports simulators such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Arena of Valor and Clash of Clans.
“The NFL is an iconic brand that is synonymous with American sports, and Skillz is thrilled to help power their esports competitions on mobile,” said Andrew Paradise, chief executive and founder of Skillz.
Rachel Hoagland, vice president of gaming and esports at the NFL, added: “Mobile gaming continues to be an important platform to reach and engage new and existing fans. Our agreement with Skillz provides access to a trusted platform and a highly engaged player base, making Skillz an ideal partner long term.”
Meanwhile, ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have launched on Douyin and Kuaishou, the Chinese social media platforms. The league as a whole has been ramping up its efforts in China, including the launch of a new subscription streaming service as part of a new and expanded digital media rights partnership with Tencent.