Mixi, a leading Japanese mobile game and app publisher, announced today that it will launch blockchain-powered games and NFT-driven experiences on the Flow blockchain, the home of NBA Top Shot and other upcoming NFT platforms.
Mixi began life as Japan’s largest social network, which launched in 2004, counting tens of millions of users in the years that followed. Ultimately, Mixi faded as global competitor Facebook gained steam in the country, but the firm refashioned itself as a publisher of mobile apps.
The company’s crown jewel is Monster Strike, a popular mobile role-playing/puzzle game that launched in 2013 and has grossed more than $9 billion to date. It has amassed 55 million total players in that span and even spawned an anime series and movies.
Monster Strike is huge in Japan, but an English version didn’t find the same kind of audience globally, and shut down in 2017. Mixi also publishes other mobile apps and games, and recently launched Tipstar, a sports betting app that lets users wager with friends.
Mixi hasn’t shared much about its plans, but Roham Gharegozlou—CEO of Dapper Labs, the creator of Flow—said in a release that the publisher has an “epic NFT strategy.” The release also notes that Mixi will debut NFT experiences targeted at Japanese consumers.
According to its latest annual report, Mixi’s fortunes are changing after years of declining returns, with its 2021 fiscal year marking its first in five years with increasing sales and earnings. Mixi pointed to the launch of Tipstar and increased use of other apps, as well as in-game collaborations with anime properties like “Attack on Titan” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
The global NFT market has exploded over the course of 2021, with more than $13 billion in total trading volume across marketplaces in the first three quarters of the year, per DappRadar. An NFT acts like a receipt for a unique digital item, whether it’s an image, video file, or interactive video game item.
Dapper Labs’ own NBA Top Shot collectibles experience was one of the early success stories in this year’s NFT market boom, with the firm reporting more than $800 million in total sales volume to date. Koki Kimura, Mixi’s President and Representative Director, cited NBA Top Shot’s success as a motivating factor in choosing the Flow platform.
“Dapper Labs’ creativity in design and functionality is so outstanding that it almost inspires a sense of jealousy,” said Kimura, in a release. “In the U.S., they have already become a major presence in the sports economy. We hope to bring that same energy into the Japanese NFT market by transforming a variety of entertainment and sports contents into digital assets.”
Dapper is now working on similar NFT platforms for the NFL, Spain’s LaLiga soccer league, and Ultimate Fighting Championship. However, the Flow blockchain isn’t just for Dapper’s own use: it’s a public network upon which other developers can build decentralized apps, games, and NFT marketplaces.
Dapper says that more than 600 teams are now building on Flow, including upcoming projects like Jambb and Genies. The firm recently told Decrypt that Flow is now “controlled by the community,” with Dapper now controlling less than one-third of the network’s consensus nodes.