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Blockchain Behavior Report: Interest in the metaverse and play-to-earn booming in Asia

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DappRadar

The metaverse is creating hype, while Asia turns towards play-to-earn

The latest trends around the metaverse have yielded high interest levels not only in a specific region but across the entire globe. There was a notable increase in Asia, a market that accounts for 60% of the world’s population and almost half of the worldwide gamers. The metaverse looks to transform the way we socialize, play, and monetize by forming a decentralized space. A region where the play-to-earn movement truly thrived may become the missing piece in the path towards mass adoption. 

The following document belongs to the Blockchain User Behavior Reports series. A set of reports by DappRadar intended to provide users with a different perspective of the blockchain industry, combining traditional behavioral finance analysis with blockchain metrics and indicators. The document analyzes trends from the blockchain industry perspective but also identifies patterns in the DeFi, NFT, and Gaming spaces respectively. 

Key takeaways

  • Blockchain metaverses and play-to-earn were two of the most talked about topics in the Asia region, growing 33% month-over-month while reaching 1.7 million mentions across Asian media outlets.
  • The metaverse trend is dominated by the US. However, the Asia presence is becoming more visible with India, Singapore, and Indonesia increasing their audience by 500%.
  • Generation Z is getting more involved with dapps; people aged 18-24 experienced the highest growth in terms of traffic (44% increase projected in November month-over-month).
  • More than half a million Indians show interest in NFTs as Bollywood and famous Cricketers make their way into the space.

Table of Contents

Positive signals state that Asia region audience is roaring

More than 1.1 million users connected to DappRadar since October 1st. Continuing with the dominance observed in previous months, the United States is still the region that drives the largest audience. Based on November numbers, the projection estimates that the traffic coming from the USA will increase by 8% month-over-month. 

Whilst the US dominates the blockchain scene, certain scenarios unfolding on the other side of the globe signal an increase in audience numbers in Asia. For instance, China is now the second largest audience. Web traffic from Asia doubled October’s numbers despite all the well-known restrictions from their government. 

metaverse

But the growth in the Asian audience is not limited to China. The Southeast Asian footprint is quite visible as well. A region closely tied to the play-to-earn movement saw the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore all increase by at least 33% with Thailand up 50% from October. The growth in Asia is confirmed with 80% traffic surges identified in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan, while the 20% traffic increase in India is the icing on the cake. 

Overall, the Asian market is well-involved within the industry. The combination of emerging economies, high population density, and a strong appetite for games and technologies, made the region one of the industry’s most enticing for adoption. It’s a region that braces the play-to-earn movement more than anywhere else. 

Highest growth of 44% is spotted within Generation Z

Besides increased interest from Asia, perhaps the most interesting trend observed in the demographics analysis is age. People aged 18-24 experienced the highest growth in terms of traffic – a 44% increase estimated from October. Meanwhile, the presence of people aged 65 or more diminished 20% month-over-month (MoM). As previously mentioned, the low age thresholds are closely related to the game category.

metaverse

It is important to maintain visibility on other factors like age, device use, and gender, as these factors may hint at the possible directions the industry may take. In the not-so-distant future, Millennials and GenZ will be the dominant workforce that will shape the market. Their close relation to digital environments certainly boosts the narrative around blockchain in general. 

Play-to-earn traffic expected to grow by at least 63% in November

In our last Games Report, we observed increasing interest from VCs and investment organizations, particularly in blockchain gaming. In 2021 alone, VCs have invested almost $3 billion into games, virtual worlds and NFT related projects. With play-to-earn and metaverse narratives at their peaks, blockchain-based games have dominated the headlines lately. 

On-chain data confirms the trend. In November, game NFTs amassed over $675 million, surpassing October’s total by 6%. Also, the number of trades, a metric that shows in-demand trends, are on pace to increase 25% from the previous month.

DappRadar’s traffic confirms the growing interest in the play-to-earn sector. Game-related traffic has already increased 14% from the numbers observed in October and is projected to increase 63% by the end of November. Meanwhile, the interest in NFTs is projected to decrease slightly (-3%) with DeFi’s traffic projected to grow 17% from the previous month. Moreover, the dominance of games within DappRadar’s traffic is also increasing. 

metaverse

The play-to-earn narrative is not new for Asian countries. Still, attention on blockchain games continues to grow. Six out of the top 10 countries driving play-to-earn traffic trends come from Asia, and four of them are Southeast Asia emerging economies. The other two are India and Japan, markets with a strong appetite for games. 

metaverse

Considering the region’s demographics, the potential is massive. According to Statista, 1.47 billion or 45% of the worldwide gamer population resides in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, it is expected that by 2025, Millennials and GenZ will represent 25% of the population’s share on that side of the globe. These demographic insights, coupled with the socio-economic situation in that region, provide the region with a tremendous market potential for play-to-earn games. 

Based on the revised numbers, it is expected that the play-to-earn audience will grow even further. Big capital firms appear to be invested in the future of blockchain games, while the demographic opportunity is too big to ignore.

Increased interest in the Metaverse boosting play-to-earn growth

Sparked by mainstream announcements, the metaverse has become the latest trending topic. The results are already easy to see in the industry. Virtual world games, which are highly related to the metaverse concept, have generated over $78.2 million in 12,550 sales in November so far – a 170% and 30% increase respectively from the end of October. 

The US dominates the metaverse narrative. With a wide player base in games that evoke a metaverse like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite, it is not surprising. However, after the dominance, Asia is the next biggest. India, along with Indonesia and the Philippines, fast-growing countries that are part of the emerging Asian economy, have shown a strong appetite for the play-to-earn movement, and the industry in general. In India for instance, the social metrics surrounding the metaverse are 500% greater than September numbers. 

Nonetheless, the metaverse is not exclusive to a specific region. Countries like the UK, Turkey, and Canada saw their interest in the metaverse grow more than 840% in the same period. This variety is also observed in The Sandbox’s traffic metrics, where Turkey represents the third most important source of traffic after the US and India.

Most countries that show a strong interest in the metaverse have some of the largest gaming markets on the planet. Other countries have been closely monitoring the state of the blockchain game sector. With more tangible events that include The Sandbox gameplay alpha, the recent appraisal of the digital land market, and the development of the next generation of play-to-earn games, the metaverse narrative will only gain relevance going forward. 

Bollywood assist in spreading NFTs awareness in the Indian market

NFTs play a vital role in the development of both play-to-earn and the metaverse. Another topic dominated by the North American market may have experienced an important trend that positions Asia, specifically India, as a region avid for this category. 

In recent weeks, Bollywood and Cricket stars made their presence felt in the NFT space. Amitabh Bachan, one of the most influential Indians in the world, launched four limited edition NFT collections that collected almost $1 million in separate auctions through the Indian marketplace BeyondLife. Bollywood’s Salman Khan has partnered with Bollycoin, an NFT Indian-based marketplace that aims to become a fully functioning DAO in 2022. Meanwhile, Dinesh Karthik, a recognized IPL cricketer, is auctioning an animated digital art piece on Ethereum’s marketplace Rarible. 

India has been no stranger to the industry. In past behavior reports, we identified India as a country providing high levels of DeFi-related traffic. This goes in line with the close relation with Polygon, an Indian-based project that became the third most prominent blockchain in terms of DeFi for the majority of 2021. Nonetheless, it is worth highlighting the increased interest in NFTs and games with more visible growth in the former category. 

The effect of NFTs will be felt in the play-to-earn space as well. As these digital collectibles play a crucial role in the blockchain game mechanics, NFTs will shift the way we use and monetize these game items within the decentralized metaverse. Also, it is worth mentioning that Polygon is revamping its digital experience offering. With the involvement of important projects like Animoca Brands, and partnerships that include OpenSea, Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium Space, and many more, both NFT and game outlooks in the Indian market strengthen.

All in all, India is poised to play a significant role in blockchain’s path to mass adoption. With the second largest population on the planet estimated to reach almost 1.5 billion habitants by 2025, Indian market behavior is something to keep on the radar. 

In summary

The blockchain industry is undergoing an organic expansion phase in all of its main categories. Geographically, the industry is still driven by the USA, however, events unfolding in the past several weeks confirmed that the Asia market is thriving.

India is the prime example. Prior to the involvement of Bollywood and Cricket celebrities in the NFT space, India had already shown signs of interest in NFT collectibles and marketplaces. Yet after the public announcements by Indian celebrities, the interest in the space spiked higher than ever before. In what could become a similar trajectory as NFTs and American celebrities, the latest involvements of Indian celebrities have shone a spotlight on the Indian NFT market.

Furthermore, with almost half of the traditional gamer population, Asia’s relevance in the play-to-earn and metaverse narratives should grow. The latest surges of 500% in the interest for these topics confirm that the region is ready to play a critical role in the path to mass adoption. 

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