An analytical look at user behavior and traffic for blockchain-powered games
The DappRadar Blockchain User Behavior Report puts its focus this time on games. In this report we will analyze global trends including demographics and connectivity analysis, all aimed at gaming dapps and the users that dive into them.
The following report belongs to a new series of Blockchain User Behavior Reports. A set of reports by DappRadar intended to provide users with a different perspective of the blockchain industry, combining a 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 Games spaces respectively.
DappRadar is the number one platform with more than 618,000 users monthly where you can track, analyze and discover decentralized applications. Besides useful data-driven insights like the NFT and DeFi pages and rankings, DappRadar offers a wide array of products such as the Portfolio Tracker, the TokenSwap functionality, and NFT valuation tools among many others.
By analyzing different metrics, we aim to understand the main patterns and trends that occurred in the blockchain industry during the last month. Also, we try to identify, who are blockchain main users and support the recent narratives forming around blockchain-based games driving the usage within the industry.
In this report, first, we analyze global trends including demographics and connectivity analysis. Then, we dive deeper into the game space to show how users from other spheres like DeFi, are turning their attention towards game dapps. Afterwards, we discuss how the play-to-earn movement, while significant in emerging markets, is not exclusive to them. Finally, we analyze specific cases in important blockchains to further support the game-usage narrative.
- The industry’s interest is shifting towards games, the number of Unique Active Wallets connected to game dapps increased 64% month-over-month, whilst DeFi and NFT unique wallets increased only 3% and 6% respectively in the same period.
- The United States had the biggest blockchain audience with more than 121,000 users, Asian countries had a strong presence as well.
- Millennials (aged 25-34) are the most dominant group among blockchain users with 37% of representation, Generation Z (18-24 years) follow with 27%.
- In August 75% of DappRadar’s users were men, however, women are starting to get more presence within the platform.
- Games and NFT dapps generate around 41% of the clickouts respectively, whilst DeFi only accounts for 18%; back in June DeFi represented 54% while Games and NFTs constituted 46% combined.
- European countries like Austria and Spain are turning their attention to play-to-earn dapps, a movement strongly tied to emerging economies; 50% of Austrians and 40% of Spaniards visiting DappRadar interacted with game-related content.
Table of Contents
- Industry demographics
- Supporting the growth in games and NFTs
- Play-to-earn not exclusive to emerging economies
- The case of games in BSC and other chains
- The road ahead
The blockchain industry keeps constantly growing each month. In August, more than 2 million Unique Active Wallets (UAW) interacted with a smart contract on average per day. This number represents an 18% increase compared to July’s numbers, and a whopping 883% increase year-over-year.
Diving deeper into the industry behavioral patterns, we analyze 884,000 users that connected to DappRadar in the period from August 1st to September 12th. Same as in previous months, the United States was the main audience with more than 121,000 users, with four Asian countries (Philippines, China, Thailand and Indonesia) coming behind. Altogether, the four aforementioned Asian regions plus India and Vietnam accounted for more than 262,000 users. Other countries with relevant audience numbers are Brazil (+35,000), UK (28,000) and Russia (27,000).
Next, we analyze the age ranges of our audience. Without surprise, Millennials were the most dominant age group, with Generation Z coming next. In August, people aged 25-34 represented 37.34% of our traffic, whereas users from 18 to 24 years constituted 26.88%.
On the other hand, it is interesting to observe that those in the age group of 45 to 54 years, grew 30% from the previous month, while those with 65 plus years increased 33% month-over-month. Definitely encouraging to see non-digital natives get engaged with the industry at increasing rates.
Moreover, by analyzing 240,000 of our users, we found that 75% of our users are men and 25% female users. The blockchain industry attracts three times more men than women, although since May, the difference has been slightly decreasing.
Finally, according to DappRadar’s July web data, 50.8% of our users connect via desktop, whereas 48.3% use a smartphone device to connect. The figures are different from the ones shown last month, where smartphones were the preferred choice.
Whilst the geographical charts show roughly the same regional concentration, the rest of the metrics have changed slightly from the previous month. As expected, users aged 18-35 are predominant, yet observing a higher increase in older groups is encouraging. Also worth noting that the difference between men and women is slightly decreasing by the time.
Whilst these metrics help us understand how the industry is behaving, it is necessary to dive deeper to understand what is happening behind the blockchain scenes.
Supporting growth in games and NFTs
When analyzing in detail the three main blockchain sectors, we can support once again the thesis of usage being driven by games and NFTs. Since the play-to-earn movement and the NFT space began to heat up in early July, most of the attention has remained on that side of the chain.
To get a more concise analysis that focuses on blockchain’s most important sectors, we categorize our users by each sector. In this way, we can identify the trends based on the audience’s behavior.
Continuing with July’s trend, we observe a continuous increase in the interest for blockchain games. In addition, supporting the huge interest caused by NFTs, the traffic driven by NFTs have increased regularly since July as well. We can also observe a clear decrease in the former DeFi dominance.
In May 2021, 55% of DappRadar’s audience interacted with DeFi dapps, whilst the other 45% was equally divided into NFTs and games. Flash forward to August, the numbers have changed drastically. DeFi dapps now represent around 18% of the traffic whereas games account for 45% and NFTs are close to 41%.
Blockchain games have a significant intersection with the NFT space as the items or even the playable characters in the blockchain games are represented by these non-fungible tokens. So analyzing the NFT space adds another analysis layer into the gaming perspective.
August was the best month in the NFT space ever. The USA, the country most interested in NFTs by a wide margin, also saw its NFT audience grow. The US represents one of the most important markets worldwide with a huge demand for sports, collectibles and memorabilia. Thailand, India and the UK complement the leaderboard. The Philippines are also amongst the leaders, with most of the traffic originating from Axie Infinity.
On another note, Russia, a very important market, appears to be decreasing its interest in NFTs and slightly shifting towards gaming whilst maintaining their high interest in DeFi dapps. The blockchain games just seem to be adopted everywhere.
In addition, we performed a UAW analysis, by segregating the wallets connected to each dapp type. This analysis shows an overproportioned increase in game projects. When compared to July’s numbers, game dapps attracted 63% more wallets during August, surpassing 747,000 UAW per day on average. In perspective, DeFi grew 3% month-over-month, while NFT UAW increased only 6% in the same timeframe.
All in all, looking at global trends helps us understand the bigger picture. In this case, the huge attention that blockchain games and NFTs are getting. As the game dapps revamp their respective projects, we may start to see other types of economies and regions getting involved in the space.
Axie is not only The Philippines
By now, it is probable that you have learned about the massive success of Axie Infinity in the Philippines. The play-to-earn dapp has become a topic of national interest by becoming a different source of income for its players.
Interestingly enough, The Philippines is not the country with the most clickouts to Axie Infinity’s website, that place belongs to Thailand. It is probable that the dapp has created a loyalty level so high in The Philippines, that some Filipinos are only interested in playing directly.
Besides Thailand, the US, China and Brazil generated the most clickouts to the Axie Infinity dapp.
The same five countries are also the clickout leaders for Splinterlands. The dapp’s usage increased a massive 554% month-over-month, attracting over 187,000 UAW in August in route to becoming one of the most played games in the industry.
Furthermore, analyzing the regions where game dapps are predominant, we observed an interesting finding. On one hand, emerging economies are strongly tied to play-to-earn games as the earnings in the respective in-game currencies, outperform their respective local currencies.
For instance, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean such as Venezuela and Cuba have around 60% of their audience focused on games. Whilst the game dominance in African countries like Nigeria, Gambia and Western Sahara, surpasses 57%. In Middle Eastern regions like Iran, Jordan and Palestine, the game audience has more than doubled in August when compared to July’s numbers.
On the other hand, it is interesting to see European and North American countries, starting to turn their eyes into the blockchain-based game space. Almost half of the Austrian audience got involved with play-to-earn dapps, whilst 40% of the Spanish users replicate this behavior.
Countries like Iceland, Sweden, Canada and Andorra, more than doubled their respective gamer audiences, whilst Germany, Italy and Norway, increased their game enthusiasts by at least 67%.
The play-to-earn trend is not specific to a certain region. The usage has remained widespread during the recent surge. Getting to as many countries as possible will be critical in the path towards mass adoption.
The case of games in BSC and other chains
In our August’s Industry report, we highlighted the case of BSC as the most used blockchain. The Binance-branded network attracted almost 1 million unique wallets in the last month, and almost 40% of them came from one game dapp.
Looking further into BSC’s categories, we still observe a dominance in DeFi wallets, where around 425,000 unique wallets connected to DeFi dapps, compared to 279,000 interacting with BSC games. However, analyzing the monthly trend, complements the game narrative.
DeFi users on BSC, a category that includes leading dapp PancakeSwap and a handful of other interesting projects, increased their usage by only 10.1% when comparing August to July. On the other hand, BSC games saw their unique wallets increase in a considerable 152.8% during the same timeframe.
The case is not different on Ethereum. The leading blockchain in terms of Total Value Locked saw its DeFi usage decrease by 17% month-over-month. A total of 59,000 unique wallets connected to Ethereum DeFi dapps in August compared to 71,000 identified in July. Whereas Ethereum based games saw their usage increase by 17% in the same period.
The blockchain-based games are undoubtedly attracting more users. Splinterlands, a trading card game that runs on the Hive network is another example of user engagement. The game dapp attracted over 183,000 daily unique wallets on average during August, increasing 544% the numbers seen in July. This participation is supported by measuring the clickouts. Almost 10,000 clickouts were recorded in August in relation to Splinterlands. This amount represents a 174% increase month-over-month.
Whilst the play-to-earn movement is something tied to particular blockchains, we’re starting to see positive trends in several dapps, regardless of the regions where the users are connected.
Behavioral analysis is useful to identify and understand potential patterns in consumer behavior, thus better understanding their rational decisions. Analysis from DappRadar’s traffic source confirmed once again that the US is still the biggest market for the industry. Meanwhile, several Asian countries continue their engagement towards the industry.
As expected, Millennials and Generation Z lead the blockchain way, although recent findings in older age segments are really encouraging towards broader adoption. It was also nice to see the female audience getting more engaged by the month.
August was a record-breaking month for NFTs. However, recent analysis confirms that play-to-earn games are driving the usage. The DeFi summer feels like a distant memory as the traffic is being dominated by games and NFTs.
On the play-to-earn side, the usual suspects remained engaged. Nonetheless, observing European and American countries like the Nordics, Germany and Canada increasing their gaming appetite, is certainly positive news for the space, especially in the mass adoption narrative.
The upcoming months will be especially important for the blockchain-based game space. Big venture capital groups have approached some of the leading projects as the space expansion is imminent. While existing projects like Axie Infinity enhancing their playing mechanics even further, compelling projects like Illuvium or Star Atlas are also preparing to launch in 2022. The gaming space will become one of the true cornerstones of the blockchain industry.