FlowPlay is getting in on the daily fantasy sports craze — kind of.
The Seattle gaming startup today unveiled All Star Daily Fantasy, a free-to-play daily fantasy sports (DFS) game that mimics what you find on DraftKings and FanDuel, but with virtual currency instead.
All Star Daily Fantasy lets you compile lineups under a given salary cap with players that have attached dollar values which vary depending on their average output. Users win points based on how the player performs that day. It’s the same model that you find on DraftKings and FanDuel, the two kingpins of the daily fantasy sports industry.
Those sites, though, for the most part require real money entry fees and are built around awarding cash to winners and taking a small cut of each daily lineup entry.
However, those playing All Star Daily Fantasy compete with virtual currency and have the option to pay real money if they want more “coins” to play longer or increase the virtual currency amount. This strategy lets FlowPlay avoid any of the potential legal problems that DraftKings and FanDuel are dealing with on a state-by-state basis around the country in regard to gambling laws.
“All Star Daily Fantasy is an alternative option for players that are interested in daily fantasy sports, but don’t have the desire or experience to bet real money,” FlowPlay CEO Derrick Morton told GeekWire. “Free-to-play fantasy experiences can serve as way to introduce new players to DFS mechanics, or engage players that wouldn’t otherwise be comfortable with real-money betting. In some instances such as in states that do allow real-money DFS games, we even view it as a complementary option to reach a mass-market audience of players that aren’t ready for a full DFS experience.”
One unique aspect of this particular game is how players can buy virtual currency as insurance at the start of any game, which will replace a portion of the wager if the game results in a loss. There is also chat functionality and a multiplayer approach that FlowPlay said will help increase average play per session and overall lifetime value of players.
Users can gain more virtual currency as the game progresses, but cannot cash out for real money — that would be illegal in the U.S. The virtual coins can be used for clothes for their avatars, or sharing with other players, for example.
FlowPlay board member Mike Slade, who helped create the first version of ESPN.com back in 1995, is bullish about the company’s new game.
“I’ve enjoyed having a front row seat to witness FlowPlay’s success in the social casino sector as a board member and investor,” Slade said in a statement. “Their latest focus on leveraging an already-proven approach to free-to-play casinos will translate well to fantasy sports and help bridge the gap to a much more mainstream audience.”
The game will start with NBA today and expand into other sports later this year. You can play All Star Daily Fantasy within FlowPlay’s existing social casino game, Vegas World, which counts more than 35 million players also built a similar sports-related game called 5 Card Draft that debuted last year and now has an average of 43 minutes of play per play session.
FlowPlay was founded in 2006 and is primarily funded by Intel Capital and the creators of Skype.