Asia Investing Billions in Blockchain Gaming with 55% Dominance

Web3 gaming behavior report Asia dominates gaming
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Web3 gaming behavior report by DappRadar x Pacific Meta

Leading the Web3 gaming surge, the Asia region stands at the vanguard, driving global adoption with its advanced blockchain gaming initiatives. This burgeoning sector now represents 35% of all blockchain activity, with nations like China readying their massive 700 million-strong player base for a shift toward blockchain-based gaming. With some of the world’s top gaming firms originating from China, Japan, and South Korea, Asia is poised to be the epicenter of Web3 gaming’s global expansion, showcasing the region’s pivotal role in the digital gaming future.

Key Takeaways 

  • Blockchain gaming comprises 35% of the total dapp industry’s activity, with approximately 2.2 million daily Unique Active Wallets.
  • 35% of traffic to DappRadar game rankings originates from Asia, highlighting the region’s significant interest in this sector.
  • Pixels is the most popular game per DappRadar, drawing 20% of its traffic from the Philippines and 48.6% from Asia.
  • Among DappRadar’s top 10 boosted dapps, half are gaming dapps developed by Asian studios, reflecting Asia’s key role in the sector and the support and contributions from their communities.
  • The metaverse and blockchain gaming sectors have received $14.6 billion in investments since 2019, with 55% involved from Asian VCs and firms like Animoca Brands.
  • Pacific Meta’s survey shows a 68% increase in blockchain gaming engagement since their April 2023 survey, with 10.6% of respondents having played a blockchain game.
  • 72.9% of Pacific Meta survey respondents began their blockchain gaming experience within the past year, indicating a surge of new market entrants despite the crypto winter.

Table of Contents

  1. The pulse of Asian Web3 gaming traffic
  2. Asia’s surge in the blockchain gaming market
  3. Pacific Meta’s survey on Japan’s Web3 gaming evolution
  4. Closing words

1. The pulse of Asian Web3 gaming traffic

Over the first three months of 2024, DappRadar registered around 2.2 million daily Unique Active Wallets (dUAW) that interacted with gaming decentralized applications (dapps). That means that blockchain gaming has an impressive 35% of total dapp industry engagement. Moreover, this firmly positions blockchain gaming as the leading category within the dapp ecosystem.

activity per category on the web3, gaming, nft, defi, DappRadar

Delving into geographic distribution based on our game rankings analysis, we find that 32% of the audience is from Asia, with a device usage split of 62% on desktop and 38% on mobile.

Device Breakdown on DappRadar gaming traffic

It’s important to note that many gaming projects put effort in making their games available across many devices. To circumvent distribution limitations from Apple or Google, they create browser based games or progressive web apps (PWA). Despite seeing lots of traffic coming from desktop devices, development teams put lots of focus on creating mobile experiences.

Below we take a closer look at our games rankings to identify the most popular games by UAW. In addition we will look at the origins of their traffic to highlight several key insights.

Top games by UAW according to DappRadar

Pixels emerges as the leading game, drawing significant attention, notably with 20% of its traffic originating from the Philippines—a country pivotal to the rise of Axie Infinity—and 8.4% from the United States. Aggregate traffic from Asian countries to Pixels amounts to 48.6%.

Matr1x secures the second position, recently gaining traction among Web3 enthusiasts, and having it’s user activity of 39% coming from Asian countries.. It blends social networking and gaming elements, offering a futuristic cyberpunk world through episodic games. 

StarryNift, positioned third, is celebrated as a co-creative metaverse platform that enriches the play, create, and socialize experience with a 3D virtual environment. It enjoys a significant 38% of its user activity from Asian countries, based on DappRadar’s traffic data.

MotoDEX and Sweat Economy, consistently top-ranking in our gaming reports, show notable activity from Asian countries at 36% and 30%, respectively. Interestingly, the most significant portion of traffic for both apps is attributed to the United States.

To better understand community engagement and gamer behavior, we decided to analyze the top 10 boosted dapps over the past three months. Boosting refers to a process where users, by staking RADAR, are granted Boosting Power. They can then allocate those points to one of their favorite projects. This mechanism allows chosen projects to gain greater visibility on the DappRadar platform, thus attracting more potential users.

Top 10 boosted dapps - March 2024 according to DappRadar

Among these highlighted dapps, five belong to the gaming category, with each backed by gaming studios or teams from Asian countries. These gaming projects have demonstrated a remarkable ability to engage large communities through the boosting system, showcasing the pivotal role of community support in Web3.

It’s widely recognized that developing a successful game can take years, a journey where the community’s role cannot be overstated. This observation underlines the importance of identifying gaming dapps with the most robust and active communities on our platform, emphasizing that the strength of these communities is often a key determinant of a game’s success in the Web3 space.

2. Asia’s surge in the blockchain gaming market

In 2023, the global gaming industry showcased its formidable presence by generating an estimated $187.7 billion in revenue, supported by a player base of approximately 3.38 billion individuals worldwide​.

The Asia region, with its vibrant cultures and technological innovation, stands at the forefront of the global gaming landscape, accounting for 46% of worldwide gaming revenues​​. Despite facing the slowest growth among all regions, primarily due to regulatory challenges in the Chinese market, Asia remains a powerhouse. The region contributes significantly to the global gaming economy. Asia’s unique position is further solidified by its embracing attitude towards blockchain and Web3 technologies, setting the stage for a new era of gaming that leverages the potential of decentralized, player-centric ecosystems.

Unlike the West, where blockchain technologies often encounter skepticism, Asia’s gaming markets exhibit less stigma around these innovations, resulting in increased development activity and player engagement. This enthusiasm for blockchain gaming is not only a testament to the region’s technological agility but also its readiness to pioneer the next wave of gaming evolution.

Major gaming publishers in Asia, like Sega or Square Enix, are increasingly venturing into blockchain gaming, recognizing its potential to redefine player ownership, game economics, and the very fabric of digital interactions within gaming universes. This shift towards blockchain gaming is supported by a combination of cultural openness, technological prowess, and strategic government policies aimed at fostering innovation and growth within the sector.

In fact, since 2019, the metaverse and blockchain gaming sectors have witnessed an influx of $14.6 billion in investments, with approximately 55% originating from Asian venture capitalists or prominent entities like Animoca Brands or Binance Labs.

Japan, with its rich gaming heritage and technological leadership, emerges as a key epicenter for Web3 gaming’s growth. The country’s advanced gaming ecosystem, supported by a sophisticated regulatory framework and a culture that cherishes gaming as a form of entertainment and expression, provides an ideal environment for the flourishing of blockchain-based gaming ventures. Blockchain-powered ecosystems like Oasys and Astar Network originate from Japan, and are poised to push blockchain gaming to new heights in the region. 

3. Pacific Meta’s survey on Japan’s Web3 gaming evolution

Pacific Meta Inc., founded in August 2022, has carved a niche for itself by offering specialized advisory and marketing services tailored to the unique demands of international Web3 projects aiming to penetrate the Japanese and East Asian markets. Recognizing the burgeoning interest and the palpable knowledge gap in blockchain gaming within Japan, Pacific Meta embarked on a pivotal survey in March 2024, engaging 1,359 individuals across a broad age spectrum, from their 20s to their 70s, to garner insights into this dynamic sector.

The March 2024 survey by Pacific Meta serves as a sequel to its initial foray in April 2023, aiming to deepen the understanding of blockchain gaming’s landscape in Japan. The survey’s findings offer a rich tapestry of data, reflecting evolving player behaviors and preferences.

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

A notable uptick in blockchain gaming participation was observed, with a 68% increase in individuals who have played blockchain games since Pacific Meta’s last survey. This surge underscores a growing curiosity and acceptance of blockchain technology in gaming among the Japanese populace. It’s also notable that the blockchain games gaining traction are those that resonate deeply with Japanese culture. For instance, SingSing on Oasys introduces a karaoke-themed game, a concept quintessentially Japanese in its origin and appeal. Similarly, SEGA’s Battle of Three Kingdoms immerses players in a historically rich narrative, reflecting the profound historical interest deeply ingrained in Japanese gaming tradition.

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

The data reveals a discernible trend among Japanese players favoring a more immersive engagement with a select few blockchain games rather than a superficial involvement across many titles. This preference for depth over breadth signifies a desire for meaningful gaming experiences.

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

Remarkably, 72.9% of respondents reported beginning their blockchain gaming journey within the last year, highlighting a significant influx of new entrants into the market despite the challenges posed by the extended period of crypto winter. The rise of gaming chains, Layer-2 scaling solutions and the coming of playable games like Pixels, various Axie titles, and mobile games like Nine Chronicles and Gods Unchained can’t be seen separate from this trend.

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

Reflecting on the broader gaming ecosystem, the “Famitsu Game White Paper 2022” illuminated the predominance of app game users in Japan. With the advent of blockchain gaming, there’s a projected shift towards Web3 gaming, potentially enlarging the demographic of smartphone gamers given their current dominance in the gaming landscape.

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

A majority of respondents indicated leisure and time-passing as their primary motivations for gaming, surpassing the pursuit of enjoyment or financial gain. This trend is perhaps facilitated by the ubiquity and convenience of smartphones, serving as the preferred platform for engaging with blockchain games. Moreover, blockchain-powered games should be seen as entertainment first, and not as a full-time job. 

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

Free-to-Play models emerged as a significant way to attract players to  blockchain gaming, with language accessibility and gameplay quality also rated highly. These preferences highlight the challenges non-Japanese speaking games face in a market sensitive to language barriers, reflecting Japan’s relatively lower English proficiency. In addition, it highlights the need to remove the friction when onboarding new players, letting gamers simply download a game to play without the hassle of buying NFTs or connecting wallets. 

Pacific Meta survey of gaming behavior

Social media, Japanese web media, blogs, and personal networks were identified as the primary channels through which players discover blockchain games. The prominence of social media is particularly noted for its role in connecting players with Japanese KOLs and for the increasing efforts by foreign blockchain game projects to establish a presence on Japanese social platforms.

4. Closing words

As the curtain falls on this exploration of Asia’s pioneering role in the Web3 gaming sector, it’s clear that the region is not merely participating in the global gaming evolution; it’s leading it. 

From the introduction, where we unveiled Asia’s commanding 55% share of blockchain gaming investments, to the detailed chapters that dissected the profound impact of these contributions across various dimensions, the narrative has been consistent: Asia is setting the pace for the future of gaming.

We’ve journeyed through the vibrant landscape of blockchain gaming, where Asia’s blend of innovation, vast player bases, and strategic investments propels the industry forward. The chapters highlighted not only the economic stakes involved but also the community engagement and technological advancements driving this sector.

In conclusion, the Asia region’s dominance in the Web3 gaming arena is a testament to its unparalleled commitment to advancing the frontiers of digital entertainment. With major gaming hubs like China, Japan, and South Korea at the helm, Asia is not just forecasting the future of gaming; it is actively constructing it. As the industry continues to evolve, the global gaming community watches eagerly, ready to follow where Asia leads in the next chapter of this digital revolution.

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