Mythical Games, the maker of the Blankos Block Party game, has acquired Polystream for real-time 3D streaming for the metaverse.
The purchase price wasn’t disclosed. It was the first acquisition for Mythical, which has raised $270 million in funding to date thanks to its pioneering role in creating games with nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
Mythical Games has made its Blankos Block Party open-world multiplayer game, and it has had more than a million player accounts created to date. That helped it get marquee Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a backer.
Now it is putting some of its war chest to use with the acquisition of the metaverse streaming platform Polystream, which is based Guildford in the United Kingdom and has about 20 employees. They have built a tech that makes it easier to hop from one part of the metaverse — the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One and the latest Matrix Resurrections movie — to another.
“Not everybody’s willing to download 100 gigabytes to play Warzone on a high-end gaming PC rig,” said John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “A lot of people want to be part of these immersive 3D worlds and be able to jump in quickly and interact and socialize and then leave. We were able to run Blankos on their tech and suddenly — now what happens is you can run it in the cloud. But you only have a five-megabyte client now. So it’s a very thin client.”
Polystream is using its interactive streaming platform to try to transform how real-time 3D content is streamed at scale. Polystream’s technology delivers what is required for interactive 3D consumer entertainment, enabling gamers and non-gamers alike to instantly engage with the content they love. That means it enables people to play without massive game client downloads.
That helps with the metaverse vision, which people see as enabling them to hop from one world to the next and so on. Right now, if you try to do that, you’ll get stuck downloading 10 gigabytes of data or more first, and have to do that each time you hop to a new world. That’s a nonstarter for people on mobile.
Through Polystream’s “extended reality” technology, games and content become more accessible to all players across more devices and platforms. In early tests with Mythical’s Blankos Block Party game, a full 4GB game client was reduced to a 5MB PC client and downloaded in a matter of seconds.
“As we see more of these kind of metaverse worlds, whether it’s going to be fashion or a concert, I don’t think their customers will ever have the appetite to download an 18GB Unreal game,” Linden said. “They just want to be able to click a button and in less than 30 seconds be in the 3D world.”
This technology not only enables more players on more devices to nearly instantly enjoy the game, it also ensures the game is always current without needing any additional updates when content changes.
Leveraging the Polystream cloud-native infrastructure as well as its own proprietary economic engine, Mythical aims to decentralize how game publishing works and more fully bridge the gap between blockchain and mainstream gaming.
Linden said that Mythical now has not only the economic engine but a proprietary, patented streaming tech stack to deliver 3D worlds in a matter of seconds across nearly any platform. In addition, Polystream’s technology delivers this experience on central processing unit (CPU) cloud hardware, allowing the company to scale faster, and at a fraction of the cost of cloud streaming platforms that use graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware.
“You don’t have to have GPU servers in the cloud and so it’s more economical,” Linden said. “It’s less environmentally wasteful than having another set of GPUs out there. It uses normal CPU servers, just like any other cloud machine, and we can do this on almost any platform.”
Polystream’s headquarters in Guildford UK will provide Mythical with a European hub that will become the center for cloud-native, blockchain-based technology and games. Polystream cofounders Bruce Grove and Adam Billyard — who spoke at our metaverse event last year — will become part of the senior leadership team.
“Our mission, from day one, was to disrupt everything we know about cloud native gaming. I can’t express how excited I am today that now, as part of Mythical Games, our platform will bridge the gap between blockchain-based technology and millions of consumers, bringing the benefits of NFT gaming to an even larger stage via accessible mass-market games,” said Grove, CEO of Polystream, in a statement. “We’ve been following Mythical for a long time, and they share our vision of a metaverse that not only hands ownership of IP back to the creators and the users, but importantly, makes it fun. I’m so proud of all my team for never giving up on building the impossible, and we can’t wait to start working with our new friends and colleagues at Mythical.”
The acquisition of Polystream brings the total number of Mythical employees to over 200, and the company continues to hire for roles globally.
Linden acknowledged hardcore gamers have some hate for blockchain games. He noted Mythical’s foundations are environmentally sound, based on proof-of-stake tech. His company’s team has roots in hardcore games and so it is focusing on creating fun games first, rather than scammy business models first. But he does believe gamers can benefit from playing fun games and earning at the same time, and using those earnings to economically benefit over time.
Mythical’s overall goal is to bring blockchain to the masses via games like Blankos Block Party or those from third parties that use Mythical’s platform. The Mythical platform is built on an Ethereum virtual machine (EVM)-compatible sidechain using a proof of authority consensus model that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than the proof of work model used by Bitcoin and Ethereum. Minting NFTs and integrating the marketplace via the Mythical platform do not require any mining or cryptocurrency to operate, or for players to participate.
Mythical’s platform is built on the idea of inviting players to become stakeholders in a game’s economy by giving them ownership of their digital collections. Rather than making a “blockchain game,” the Mythical platform leverages blockchain technology to open new doors of revenue to players and allow them to tap into the value of the time and money they are already putting into games.
Linden, Jamie Jackson and Rudy Koch started the company in 2018.
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