Casual Game Platforms Lead with 10% On-chain Gaming Activity

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DappRadar x BGA Games Report #19

August’s exploration into the realm of blockchain gaming and the metaverse unveils a tapestry of innovation, collaboration, and pivotal shifts. With behemoths like Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs joining hands and the metaverse dynamics evolving, the contours of the Web3 gaming world are being redrawn. This report ventures into the heart of the most significant developments, announcements, and trends of the past month, offering a vista into a nascent future crafted at the confluence of gaming, blockchain, and the ever-evolving metaverse.

Key Takeaways 

  • Blockchain gaming accounts for 37% of on-chain dapp activity in August with 758,330 daily UAW, marking a 6.4% increase from the previous month. 
  • WAX remains the leading blockchain ecosystem for gaming activity with 370,723 daily UAW.
  • Casual game platforms dominate the DappRadar rankings, accounting for a significant 10% of all on-chain gaming activity.
  • Sweat Economy continues to be the most used Gaming dapp, surpassing 528,000 monthly UAW in August.
  • Metaverse trading volumes hit a year-low in August at $4.1 million from 8,329 land sales. 
  • This month, Web3 gaming investments reached $141 million, a 52% drop from the previous month..

Table of Contents

  1. Blockchain Gaming Overview
  2. August gaming leaders
  3. Merging titans: Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs shape the Web3 frontier
  4. Sugartown’s first NFTs
  5. Beyond the numbers: the evolving role of metaverses
  6. $141 million Web3 gaming investments
  7. Conclusion

1. Blockchain Gaming Overview

In recent years, blockchain gaming has fortified its position as a foundational pillar within the Web3 sector. August 2023’s data further underscores this trend. This month registered an average of 758,330 daily unique active wallets (UAW), representing a 6% increase from July. At a commanding 37% of all blockchain activity, gaming undeniably continues its reign.

An examination of individual blockchain metrics reveals:

top gaming protocols by uaw in august

Wax continues its leadership with 370,723 dUAW. This robust performance can be attributed to the sustained success of Alien Worlds, coupled with the platform’s hosting of over 150 gaming dapps.

BNB Chain recorded a 3% increase, averaging 175,805 dUAW, a commendable rise and the only positive trajectory from the list. Polygon exhibited stability, with its UAW consolidating around 94,000.

other blockchains gaming in august

However, August also spotlighted an emergent player: SKALE. This platform, which backs popular games such as CryptoBlades and 5TARS, witnessed an extraordinary 157% surge, culminating in 67,756 dUAW. A noteworthy mention is SKALE’s hosting of Gamifly, an Esports and Sports fan engagement platform, which observed a staggering 874% growth in UAW over the past month. Such burgeoning interest in esports isn’t an isolated incident; for instance, NFL Rivals garnered a million downloads just in July. These figures exemplify the burgeoning user intrigue in this domain.

For readers seeking a detailed, contemporary examination of these statistics and a comprehensive overview of gaming blockchains, DappRadar’s gaming rankings remain an invaluable resource.

2. August gaming leaders

Shifting focus from blockchain infrastructure to the games themselves, let’s delve into August’s top-performing Web3 games based on Unique Active Wallets (UAW).

top played dapps in august according to dappradar

Retaining its pole position for the second consecutive month, Sweat Economy witnessed a 28% drop in its UAW but still boasts an impressive over 528,000 monthly UAW. As they gear up for their dapp’s launch in the U.S. market on 16 October, the question arises: Will this expansion rejuvenate the earlier ‘move-to-earn’ excitement?

Holding the runner-up title, Alien Worlds registered a 7% surge in its UAW. Enhancing its appeal, the game plans to rolled out new limited edition mining tools on 12 September, promising to amplify the player experience.

Solitaire Blitz comes as the best performer, with a monumental rise of over 5,000% in its UAW towards August’s end, as indicated on the product page of the game on DappRadar. The driving force behind such an unparalleled growth remains a mystery, especially in the absence of any recent updates.

However, not all games enjoyed an upward trajectory. Splinterlands, for instance, is grappling with a persistent decline in its UAW. This downturn may find its roots in the game’s recent updates, specifically designed to counteract bot activity, potentially alienating some users.

For a comprehensive list of future game events and timelines, refer to our detailed blog article here.

Another evolving narrative in the gaming universe is the ascending appeal of gaming platforms among Web3 gamers. Scrutinizing the games rankings reveals an intriguing fact: within the top 10 dapps by UAW, more than three are gaming platforms. Names like PipeFlare, Play Ember, and Gamifly are increasingly resonating. This uptick in interest underscores a possible alignment with the preferences of the average gamer – a plethora of mini-games under one umbrella, serving as delightful time-fillers.

3. Merging titans: Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs shape the Web3 frontier

Navigating the vast expanse of the Web3 gaming landscape, two colossi – Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs – are hard to miss. Their influence and ability to sculpt the industry’s trajectory is noteworthy. This August, these two giants decided to combine their creativity. The result? The announcement of a new game titled Wreck League, with its inaugural season set to witness a collaboration with Yuga Labs.

Wreck League let’s players battle in 2D fights using giant mechs made of different body parts. Rather than being limited to predetermined characters, players have the autonomy to architect their fighter mechs using NFT components. These components, aside from aesthetically enhancing the mechs, play a pivotal role in defining their combat proficiencies.

An intriguing integration is the ambition to incorporate Wreck League into ‘The Extended Yugaverse of Bored Ape and Otherside’. This merger indicates the possibility of Yuga Labs characters making guest appearances in Wreck League. However, such inclusions will remain non-canonical in the official Yuga Labs narrative. Furthermore, NFT owners from the Bored Apes, Mutant Apes, Kodas, and Kennel Club lineage can anticipate an exclusive Founders Mech, fully constructed and complementary.

Branching out to Animoca’s endeavors, their recent undertakings have not been confined to Wreck League. The brand has secured binding pledges for an investment round aiming to fast-track Mocaverse, amassing a significant $20 million. This influx of capital seems to have invigorated Mocaverse’s NFT metrics, as evident in the subsequent visual data.

mocaverse animoca brands stats

On the other hand, Yuga Labs isn’t far behind in its developmental efforts. The brand announced the impending open beta launch of its game Legends of the Mara, poised for a September release. This 2D web-adventure, based in the Otherside metaverse, invites members to utilize their Otherdeed NFTs, supplemented by a fresh NFT series. This game ushers players into tasks like sediment farming, vessel hatching, and combat against The Shattered, all the while aspiring for top leaderboard spots. Adding to the anticipation, on 7 September, the Rift is scheduled to be inaugurated in Yuga’s HV-MTL Forge.

However, it’s crucial not to gloss over the challenges. The recent months have witnessed a slump in trading volumes and floor prices of the Yuga Labs NFT collections. Voices within the NFT community have expressed concerns, hinting at potential stagnation for the company.

Yet, considering their latest endeavors, one might speculate that both entities are more than just static behemoths. Their strategic moves seem to suggest a calculated focus on sustainable growth and a long-term vision for the Web3 gaming arena.

4. Sugartown’s first NFTs

Over the recent months, the gaming universe has been in flux, with established Web2 gaming studios making strategic maneuvers in the budding Web3 sphere. Some of them have eagerly dived in, announcing brand new Web3 titles, such as Ubisoft’s unveiling of Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles and Square Enix’s entry, Symbiogenesis.

Conversely, some established players are choosing caution over haste. Sega offers a prime example of this measured approach. This past June, the gaming behemoth announced a temporary hiatus on their blockchain game development endeavors and decided to put on hold collaborations allowing their significant franchises to be used by third-party blockchain gaming developers. For now, Sega has chosen to tread lightly with its cherished IPs, such as Sonic. Instead, it’s dabbling with less renowned characters from titles like Three Kingdoms.

However, announcements only tell half the story. Zynga, a name etched in the annals of gaming history, has moved past mere announcements. Having previously declared their initiation into the Web3 domain, this September, they further piqued interest by revealing specifics regarding the inaugural NFT mint for their anticipated mini-game platform, Sugartown.

This offering, dubbed the “Ora collection”, will feature 9,999 unique tokens, with 6,000 earmarked for release. Slated to commence minting at 3 pm CET on 13 September, it will be orchestrated in three distinct phases. The initial two stages are reserved for those on the allowlist. Moreover, in a commendable nod to user-friendliness, the minting will not levy any charges, aside from the mandatory Ethereum gas fees.

Yet, there’s a catch. Zynga is meticulously implementing a KYC (Know Your Customer) process via the Forte platform. This restricts both the allowlist and public minting solely to individuals who can validate they’re above 18 and hail from select nations, namely the US, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam. This peculiar mix of countries hints at Zynga’s dual objectives: acknowledging its roots as a US publicly-traded entity (now under the Take-Two umbrella) and its interest in the crypto-receptive Southeast Asian market.

As these titans of gaming slowly integrate with the Web3 world, all eyes will be on the gaming community’s reaction. Will they embrace this evolution with open arms or remain skeptical of these forays?

5. Beyond the numbers: the evolving role of metaverses

The trajectory for virtual worlds has been disconcerting over recent weeks. A consistent downtrend has set the tone for these platforms, with alarming declines being recorded across various metrics. Specifically, trading volumes for the month touched a modest $4.1 million, marking a 28% descent from the preceding month. Additionally, land sales have seen a dip of 23%, registering at 8,329 transactions.

virtual world trading volume and sales count in august 2023

On face value, these figures are far from promising. But it’s crucial to avoid a rush to judgment, drawing premature conclusions about the fate of virtual worlds. A nuanced interpretation reveals some optimistic undercurrents. As we highlighted earlier, Animoca’s metaverse endeavor, Mocaverse, secured a whopping $20 million in funding.

Furthermore, The Sandbox, a significant player in the metaverse arena, has not paused its innovative thrust. They’re consistently enhancing their platform’s user experience, and a pivotal strategy is in the offing: a 2024 mobile device version. Such a move can potentially widen their user base and revive engagement levels.

A key insight that perhaps the industry and observers need to internalize is the evolving utility of metaverses. Initially conceptualized primarily as digital arenas for land sales and trades, their scope has broadened substantially. Take Decentraland, for instance. Over the past year, it has evolved from being just a trading platform to hosting a plethora of events, reshaping its identity and value proposition.

The overarching implication is clear: the criteria to evaluate the success and potential of virtual worlds might need recalibration. Instead of over-relying on metrics like land sale volumes, perhaps the spotlight should shift towards assessing the continuous developments, innovations, and holistic user experiences that these platforms offer. After all, adaptability and evolution are the lifeblood of the digital realm.

6. $141 million Web3 gaming investments 

The month of August witnessed significant financial inflows in the Web3 gaming and metaverse sectors. A noteworthy $141 million was amassed from just five investment activities. Interestingly, 88% emanated from investment firms with a clear focus on the Web3 gaming sphere. This sizable commitment underscores the optimism held by many financial stakeholders about the industry’s trajectory.

investments in web3 gaming projects in August

Delving deeper, two investments particularly stand out:

Firstly, a16z Games unveiled its “Speedrun 2024 Accelerator Program” at the onset of August. The venture giant pledged an impressive $75 million towards budding pre-seed startups demonstrating strong potential. With an eight-week-long comprehensive training course at its core, the program is tailored to bolster the efforts of nascent gaming developers, providing them with the resources and mentorship to navigate the initial stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

On a similar note, Illuminati Capital successfully garnered $50 million earmarked for investments in early-phase blockchain ventures, inclusive of gaming entities. The firm’s mission extends beyond mere capital provision; it seeks to leverage its partners’ extensive expertise and experience in the Web3 domain. Distinctly different from traditional venture capital entities, Illuminati Capital embodies a vision of nurturing the global Web3 ecosystem, pushing for profound shifts towards decentralized modalities.

Observing the current momentum in the investment landscape of the Web3 gaming sector gives a clear indication of the sector’s latent potential. It serves as a testament to the evolving confidence of investors and hints at the promising developments we might witness in the near future.

7. Conclusion

In assessing the expansive landscape of Web3 gaming and the metaverse over the past month, the influence of data becomes undeniable in guiding our understanding. The health of the blockchains that underpin these ecosystems remains robust, with BNB Chain and Flow continuing their ascent, suggesting the infrastructure for Web3 gaming is becoming more diverse and fortified.

However, when exploring the top performers, we observe a fascinating interplay between reigning leaders and emerging competitors. Gaming dapps like Sweat Economy remain at the forefront, while others like Alien Worlds continue to carve out their space. Yet, it’s the surprises from entries like Solitaire Blitz, which shows staggering growth in its number of unique active wallets, that underscore the industry’s unpredictable and dynamic nature.

Additionally, established Web2 giants making moves, like Ubisoft and Square Enix, are testaments to the industry’s potential, while Sega’s cautious stance is a reminder of the challenges yet to be surmounted.

Yet, perhaps one of the most pressing considerations remains the state of virtual worlds. While their trading volumes and sales might be declining, projects such as Animoca’s Mocaverse and The Sandbox suggest that our benchmarks for success might need to be recalibrated. Maybe it’s less about land sales and more about holistic engagement and innovative offerings.

Lastly, with $141 million being poured into just five investments this month, the financial confidence in Web3’s gaming and metaverse potential is evident. Major players like a16z Games and Illuminati Capital are not just passively investing but are actively shaping the future of this realm.

To encapsulate, the data paints a picture of an industry in flux—filled with promise, punctuated by challenges, and teeming with potential. As we continue to monitor these trends, it becomes increasingly evident that the Web3 gaming and metaverse sector is not just surviving—it’s evolving, and poised for further transformative shifts.

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