NFL & Skillz Mobile Game Developer Challenge

Congratulations to the Finalists

The finals are here and we’re down to our final four game developers!

Brainstorm GamesPlay Mechanix
igamebankSession Games

Congratulations to the Finalists

Let’s celebrate the four developer finalists that represent the best of the NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge. These developers are moving on to the final phase with their competitive mobile games that bring the NFL’s iconic game of football to life in new and exciting ways.

The final winning games will launch during the 2022 NFL Season.

Brainstorm Games

“It is a distinct honor to be selected as a finalist in the competition. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Skillz and the NFL to bring to life a mobile game experience that captures the action, drama, and suspense of NFL football.”
Clinton VanSciver, CEO of Brainstorm Games


“As a fan and a sports game developer, working with the NFL is the kind of of thing you dream about your entire career. It’s a great honor to deliver a fun and rewarding game experience for NFL fans around the world.”
Bob Williams, Principal of iGamebank

Play Mechanix

“The opportunity to imagine and build an original NFL-inspired game in collaboration with Skillz is a dream come true. We look forward to providing football fans around the world with a fresh, competitive mobile gaming experience that allows players to interact with the NFL brand right at their fingertips.”
George Petro, President of Play Mechanix

Session Games

“We set out to create a sports game that focuses on the ultimate expression of fan engagement and the friendly rivalries that exist between fans and supporters.”
Ian Verchere, CEO of Session Games

Calling All Game Developers!

The next page in the competitive esports playbook is about to be written. The NFL & Skillz are giving developers the opportunity to bring the iconic game of football to life on mobile and reshape the future of esports!

Winning developers will receive:

Exclusive access to NFL
& team logos

Co-promotion of your
game by the NFL & Skillz

Expert feedback from
game design pros

Marketing to launch
your game

The Challenge

Create the next great NFL-inspired mobile game!

  • Concept and develop an original NFL-inspired mobile game
  • Game must effectively leverage the Skillz competition platform
  • Only skill-based games will be considered; no games of chance
  • Gameplay cannot be 11 v 11 simulation, beyond that, the only limit is your team’s imagination
  • The game you create is yours to keep and launch whether you win or lose
  • See the Official Rules for full details


Proposal Phase 4/28/21 – 5/31/21

Developers will conceptualize a game and submit a proposal via the Skillz Developer Console.

  • Open to all developers
  • One entry per dev/team
  • Mock-ups/visuals highly encouraged, but not required
  • Up to 15 devs will advance to the next phase

Game Development Phase 7/1/21 to 12/31/21

Developers will build the game outlined in their proposals.

  • Devs will deliver a game designed for and playable on both iOS and Android
  • Monthly check-ins with Skillz mentors to provide guidance
  • Up to 5 devs will advance to the next phase

Soft Launch Phase 3/14/22 – 4/17/22

Selected games will have a limited launch to assess overall quality and performance.

  • Launch will occur in markets to be determined by Skillz
  • Games will incorporate use of NFL/Club marks into their games
  • Up to 3 winners will be selected

Game Readiness Phase Dates TBD

Winning developers will focus on optimizing their games in preparation for launch.

  • Enhancing game performance
  • Fine tuning UX
  • Optimizing gameplay to work with the Skillz platform

What Makes A Great Skillz Game?

Skillz is a proprietary competition platform that mobile game developers can easily integrate into their games. The Skillz SDK contains the account, tournament, rewards and social systems already built-in, so devs can focus on creating amazing gameplay and get to market quicker.

  • The action is fun. The competition is fierce. And above all, the game is FAIR!
  • Gameplay that’s easy to learn, but challenging to master, so players can onboard quickly and still increase in skill after many weeks of competition
  • An intuitive, compelling gameplay loop that encourages active users to play 10+ games a day
  • Two to four minutes of exciting gameplay per match, packed with memorable moments, interesting strategic options and challenging tests of skill
  • Excellent production quality and appealing, thematically appropriate art to provide players with a highly-polished gameplay experience
  • Deep variety of in-game setups to ensure that each match presents players with a fresh challenge

The clock is ticking! Get started today.

Getting Started


See the Official Rules for full details.

What is the NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge?

The NFL & Skillz Developer Challenge is a competition designed to bring the first NFL esports game to mobile and a way for you to take your dev career to the next level, working with industry pros and potentially launching a real game with NFL licensing rights.

When is the NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge?

The NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge will run from April 2021 to August 2022. Specific dates for the various phases of the competition will be released incrementally to ensure alignment with key NFL milestones.

How is the competition formatted?

There are four main phases of the competition: Proposal Phase, Game Development Phase, Soft Launch and Game Readiness.

What does the Proposal Phase of the competition entail?

In the Proposal Phase, participants will conceptualize a game and submit a proposal via the Skillz Developer Console. This phase is open for one month, followed by a one-month review to determine which teams move on to the next phase. Each developer/studio may submit just one proposal.

What is the judging criteria for the Proposal Phase?

Game proposals will be evaluated based on how well the anticipated gameplay fits the Skillz competitive format, the impact of the art style, the anticipated ease of UI/controls, projected use of NFL branding and the strength of the Developer/Studio’s prior portfolio.

What does the Game Development Phase of the competition entail?

In the Game Development Phase, participants will build the game outlined in their proposal. Up to 15 devs will reach this phase, receiving monthly check-ins with the Skillz team to provide mentorship and troubleshoot obstacles. This phase is open for six months, followed by a one-month review to determine which teams move on to the next phase.

What is the judging criteria for the Game Development Phase?

Games will be evaluated on theme, the quality of Esports gameplay, fun factor, ease of use and polish.

What does the Soft Launch Phase of the competition entail?

In the Soft Launch Phase, up to five developers will move on to soft launch their games. Skillz will monitor performance and qualitatively review games to determine the winner(s). Up to three winning games may be selected. NFL and Club marks can be integrated at this point, but only the winning game(s) will be allowed continued use of the marks. This phase is open for 2.5 months, followed by a two-week review.

What is the judging criteria for the Soft Launch Phase?

Games will be evaluated on the use of NFL and Club brand integration, as well as a set of established KPIs (TBD).

What does the Game Readiness Phase of the competition entail?

In the Game Readiness Phase, the winning game(s) will move into a game readiness phase designed to optimize performance and user experience ahead of the full game launch. This phase is open for four months.

What types of developers qualify for the NFL & Skillz Developer Challenge?

All developers that meet the Skillz requirements to launch in-platform games are qualified to participate in the NFL & Skillz Developer Challenge.

What does the winning developer(s) receive?

Up to three winning developer(s) will be awarded a three-year sublicense for use of the NFL and all 32 club logos in their game. Additionally, the NFL will promote the winning game(s) on owned channels and Skillz will contribute $50k to user acquisition spend. Note: Player names/likenesses are not covered by any such sublicense.

What type of game quality for submission?

Any and all gameplay qualifies except for 11v11 football gameplay. The NFL is encouraging developers to reimagine what football can be on the Skillz platform, so your game does NOT have to use traditional football gameplay.

Can a pre-existing game be submitted to the competition

Yes, but the expectation is that developers will overhaul or distinguish the game submitted for this competition from its previous iteration.

How will winning games be selected?

A joint panel of judges appointed by the NFL and Skillz will conduct all judging.

What happens if I don’t win?

If you don’t win, never fear. Your time has not been wasted because the game is yours to keep and launch on your own in the Skillz platform.

What can’t I include in my game?

  • Alcohol
  • Firearms
  • Tobacco
  • Vulgarity
  • Use of illicit substances
  • Nudity/Semi-nudity
  • Sexual content (as determined by the NFL)
  • Violent content (as determined by the NFL)
  • Political statements/expressions

How do I submit a proposal to the NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge?

Through the Skillz Developer Console, click on the NFL Challenge button in the side bar menu to access the proposal template.

Email inquiries to