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This Week in the Metaverse: ‘NFL Rivals’ hits 1 million downloads, and getting to the bottom of the Eminem-BAYC mystery

Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email with tips.

Apple and Google both keep a tight grip on their app marketplaces and have not exactly welcomed NFTs or crypto with open arms, but that changed a bit when Mythical Games and the National Football League launched the Web3 mobile game NFL Rivals.

Now, the free-to-play football-themed game has surpassed 1 million downloads, according to CoinDesk. As Fortune reported in April, the game lets users buy player packs featuring actual NFL players that can be used in the game or traded thanks to blockchain technology.

Although gaming has often been touted as the next frontier for blockchain adoption, few are making it happen quite like Mythical Games. Although downloads are important, CEO John Linden said he was more interested in the game's 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Apple's App Store, a sign that the game is engaging and fun to play.

Although NFTs and the blockchain are a key part of the game, that fact isn't advertised anywhere, Linden told Fortune in April. He estimates that 10% of players are interacting with the game's market to trade NFT player packs.

I bet fewer than half know anything about NFTs, or blockchain, or crypto, and maybe that's been a good thing.

Did Eminem sell his Ape?

A tweet with 2 million views and thousands of likes claimed that rapper Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, had sold his Bored Ape. The misinformation spread like wildfire on crypto Twitter, with many people pronouncing the end of NFTs and more.

But it turns out the NFT didn't belong to Eminem. Although it looks similar—the cartoon ape is wearing the same hat and jacket—Eminem's actual Bored Ape, BAYC #9055, hasn't been sold in more than a year. Eminem bought it last year for 123.45 Ether, or nearly half-a-million dollars at the time. As of Friday, the best offer for the Bored Ape on OpenSea was about 36 Ether—just under $70,000.

In other news

The Wimbledon tennis tournament will feature A.I.-created commentary and analysis for players on its online platforms this year. IBM partnered with the organizers of the competition, which starts on July 3, to generate audio and captions for match highlight videos using its WatsonX A.I. technology.

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis during their men's singles tennis match on the fourth day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30, 2022. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

An NFT collection launched by Germany's foreign intelligence service the Bundes­nachrichtendienst, or BND, sold out this week. The collection, which featured a series of 999 cartoon German Shepherds, was meant to engage the Web3 community and "draw attention to the fact that the BND is an exciting employer," a spokesperson for the agency told Decrypt.

Binance announced that its second NFT collaboration with Portuguese soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo will launch on July 3. The collection, entitled ForeverCR7: The GOAT. The "Greatest Of All Time" collection will include 29,000 NFTs and artwork for 20 of his most memorable goals.

Binance Celebrates ‘The GOAT’ with New Cristiano Ronaldo NFT Collection
Binance Celebrates ‘The GOAT’ with New Cristiano Ronaldo NFT Collection

Chess-inspired crypto game Anichess raised $1.5 million to continue development. The game is expected to launch a playable test version by early next year. The game is a subsidiary of Axie Infinity backer and major Web3 investor Animoca Brands.

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