FlowPlay is bringing together casual online games and fantasy sports.
The Seattle-based company today unveiled a unique new game called 5 Card Draft that uses mechanics from both fantasy football and online poker.
The game, which can be played within FlowPlay’s free-to-play social casino Vegas World, gives users five random cards, each with a different football player. The 5-card hand itself always includes a quarterback, kicker, running back, and two wide receivers from any of the NFL’s 32 professional teams. Users can trade for new cards twice per game, and whoever has the most points after six rounds wins. Points are earned based on each player’s stats from the randomly determined year and week of the season for that round.
Since VegasWorld is not a real money gambling game, 5 Card Draft does not offer actual money to winners. However, since it does use free-to-play mechanics, players can purchase items for advantage or to extend playtime.
5 Card Draft is a novel combination of casual online games, which have been popular for more than a decade, and fantasy sports, an industry that has grown massively over the past several years. FlowPlay was able to merge the two together thanks to its existing gaming platform and a third party vendor that has the rights to distribute historical NFL data to digital outlets.
FlowPlay CEO Derrick Morton called fantasy sports is “our next big challenge.”
“The industry hasn’t really been explored from the multiplayer standpoint, and we have a lot of plans on how we can create fun and engaging experiences at the intersection of casual games and fantasy sports,” he said.
In fact, FlowPlay thinks it has a huge opportunity given how many sports fans exist that also enjoy playing casual games. It conducted a study of Vegas World players and found that one third of casual gamers are also interested in online fantasy sports, while 57 percent expressed more interest if real money betting was not required.
Morton noted that the success of online social casinos shows how people are willing to pay for experiences that they don’t win real money from.
“While things like daily fantasy sports tend to have a niche audience of dedicated gamblers and experts on sports stats, we feel that incorporating elements of casual games is a much more mass-market approach,” Morton added. “Our goal is to reach a broad audience of casual players and fans.”
Daily fantasy sports games have certainly gained in popularity, and especially this year given the advertising blitz from venture-backed companies like DraftKings and FanDuel. Those sites, though, are built around awarding real money to winners and taking a small cut of each daily lineup entry.
Other more traditional fantasy sports leagues features season-long lineups and a buy-in fee, with prizes awarded to top finishers at the end of a season.
FlowPlay is entering the fantasy sports world from a different angle and has similar games to 5 Card Draft in the pipeline.
“While there are several companies launching new and unique fantasy sports, sports betting, and daily fantasy experiences, we believe that we are the first to come from the casual games perspective, by integrating fantasy sports mechanics into a card game like this,” Morton said. “Add on the layer of multiplayer functionality and we’re really in our own segment that we look forward to continue to build out with future products.”
Founded in 2006, FlowPlay employs 56 around the globe and is backed by Intel Capital and the creators of Skype.