As we move into 2023, the world of blockchain gaming and dapps continues to evolve and innovate.
Despite the significant crypto market downturn of 2022, development in the blockchain space, from gaming to smart contracts and token economies, continues to push forward. Several companies and projects have been forced to close, but those that remain continue to bring updates and releases, with even more expected in the coming year.
2023 is shaping up to be the year of releases, as we see more games moving into alpha and beta phases and increasing integration from Web2 to Web3. As we explore the new frontier of blockchain gaming, developers and publishers are still figuring out the best approaches to token-based economies and creating meaningful NFTs.
The possibilities of NFTs and blockchain technology continue to expand, with new and exciting developments in art, gaming, music, and film. Additionally, an increasing number of tools and support services are becoming available to creators, making it easier for anyone to bring their game ideas to life.
- Gaming remains a driving force for the dapp industry, accounting for almost 50% of on-chain activity tracked by DappRadar.
- In 2022, on average, 1.13 million Unique Active Wallets connect to game dapps daily. That’s a 60% increase from the 2021 numbers.
- On-chain game transactions reached 7.4 billion, growing 37% from the previous year and a staggering 3,260% since 2020.
- Wax remained the most popular blockchain for web3 games, attracting almost 350K daily UAW on average during 2022, followed by Hive and BNB Chain with 235K and 167K UAW, respectively.
- Polygon consolidated as a chain for games, attracting an average of 97,000 daily UAW during 2022. That’s 340% higher than the previous year, driven by the success of game dapps like Arc8, Benji Bananas, Crazy Defense Heroes, and Pegaxy.
- Alien Worlds closes the year as the most played dapp with almost 200,000 average daily UAW and 4.8 billion on-chain transactions encompassing gameplay, trading, and DAO activity.
- Immutable X generated $87 million in NFT trading volume, 250% higher than last year. The trading card game Gods Unchained finished among the top 25 most traded collections across all blockchains.
- The trading volume from virtual worlds (land sales) in 2022 is estimated at $1.45B, 136% higher than last year. However, if we don’t count Otherdeeds, the rest of the virtual worlds only saw $400,000 in trading volume combined.
- Web3 Gaming and metaverse projects raised $7.6 billion in 2022, 59% more than in 2021. In addition, $2.54 billion was invested in infrastructure projects.
- Blockchain Gaming Industry Overview
- Top games see major increases in daily unique active wallets and transactions
- Leading metaverse dapps flashed their potential through Alpha or Beta phases.
- Virtual worlds in-depth view after the Metaverse Hype Cycle
- Will the Move-to Earn paradigm survive 2023?
- VCs pour $7.6 billion into blockchain-based games and metaverse projects
- How Animoca Brands is building the Web3 metaverse
- Web2 gaming companies pivot to Web3: the future of gaming in 2023
1. Blockchain Gaming Industry Overview
The dapp industry continued to grow and evolve in 2022, with a significant increase in the number of Unique Active Wallets. In 2021, the average daily number of Unique Active Wallets (dUAW) was 1.58 million, but in 2022 this number increased by 50% to 2.37 million. The continuous adoption of blockchain by both consumers and businesses, along with the increasing support from investors, has helped the industry to become more resilient.
The blockchain gaming industry has faced its fair share of challenges in 2022, but from the half of 2022 the market has started to consolidate. The number of unique active wallets (UAWs) in the blockchain gaming sector has increased this year 60%, reaching 1.15 million dUAW on average. Gaming represents 49% of all daily blockchain activity.
Additionally, the on-chain game transactions reached 7.4 billion, growing 37% from the previous year and a staggering 3,260% since 2020. On average, 1 Unique Active Wallet did 25 gaming on-chain transactions this year.
Wax finishes as the most popular web3 gaming blockchain in 2022
Looking at the Unique Active Wallets (UAW) for top gaming blockchains in 2021 and 2022, we see how the average UAW for most of the blockchains listed have seen significant growth in 2022 compared to 2021.
WAX, the most popular gaming blockchain, has seen a significant increase in UAW with an average of 353,758 daily UAW in 2022, an increase of 57.59% from the previous year. Alien Worlds remains the most dominant gaming dapp on WAX, holding 46% of WAX’s UAW dominance. Blockchain Brawlers was also a big contributor to the Wax’s on-chain activity during the first half of 2022, while Prospectors remain an interesting gaming option in this ecosystem.
Hive, the second most popular gaming protocol, has also seen a massive increase in UAW, with an increase of 96.47% in the average daily UAW, in comparison to 2021. The trading card game Splinterlands is responsible for most of the activity on the Hive blockchain, having 97% dominance over the blockchain’s UAW.
The highest increase this year has been Flow, with an astounding 8,881% increase in UAW, reaching an average of 12,395 dUAW. The launch of Solitaire Blitz and Trickshot Blitz drove this massive increase. If you want to know more about Flow, our report is a must-read.
Polygon has also seen an impressive increase, with a 338.37% increase in UAW from the previous year, reaching an average of 97,384 dUAW. This growth reflects the big focus Polygon has put into games and metaverse, shifting slightly away from a heavy DeFi offering. In 2022 the top dapp by UAW was Crazy Defense Heroes, with 15% dominance, although the tower defense game’s on-chain activity has fallen in the second half of the year. Additionally, games such as Arc8, The Sandbox, or Benji Bananas provide Polygon with robust gaming dapps.
Other blockchains that saw a significant increase in UAW include BNB Chain, with a growth of 20.57%, and EOS, with a growth of 41.57%. Interestingly, on the EOS blockchain, Upland holds 79% of its UAW dominance throughout 2022.
However, not all blockchains saw an increase in their gaming on-chain activity. Ronin, the custom blockchain built for the Axie Infinity ecosystem, saw a decrease of 54.59%, reaching an average of 75,049 dUAW. This was due to an exploit on March 29, 2022. Ronin validator node from Sky Mavis, the creators of the popular Axie Infinity game, and the Axie DAO, was compromised, and hackers stole $625 million in USDC and ether (ETH). Furthermore, the Axie Infinity play-to-earn mechanism didn’t create a sustainable economy, which killed the incentives to play the game.
Immutable X sees rapid growth in the in-game NFT market
In the world of gaming, NFTs have become increasingly popular, allowing players to own unique digital assets such as in-game items and collectibles. However, as mainstream games publisher Ubisoft experienced, there’s still lots of resentment and resistance at using NFTs in video games.
Nonetheless, the market for in-game NFTs on the top gaming blockchains has seen a significant shift from 2021 to 2022. Looking at the trading volume and sales count data, we can see that the Immutable X platform stands out as the leader in this space, experiencing a significant growth in both trading volume and sales count.
Trading volume is a measure of the total number of all NFTs traded in USD. According to our on-chain data, Immutable X has seen the largest increase in trading volume, rising by 250% from $24 million in 2021 to $87 million in 2022. This growth becomes more impressive when considering that the price of ETH is down 67% from January 2022, while IMX has decreased 92% in the same timeframe.
The success of the popular card game, Gods Unchained, on the Immutable X platform has contributed to this growth. The game holds 93% dominance on Immutable X by transaction count and 89% by UAWs.
Ronin on the other hand, has seen the largest decrease in trading volume, dropping by 91.69% from $3.9 billion in 2021 to $325 million in 2022. Despite the decline, Ronin still holds the highest trading volume across all networks and accounts for 57% of the total trading volume for in-game NFTs in 2022.
Sales count, on the other hand, measures the total number of NFTs sold on a blockchain. The data shows that Immutable X has seen the largest increase in sales count, rising by 287.04% from 2.3 million in 2021 to 9 million in 2022.
Ronin, has seen the largest decrease in sales count, dropping by 45.84% from 12,160,832 in 2021 to 6,586,672 in 2022. WAX and BNB Chain are the only other platforms that have experienced an increase in sales count, with a percentage change of 40.97% and 9.39%, respectively. The increase in WAX is mainly due to the popularity of Alien Worlds, which holds 49% dominance by transaction count of the chain, and 46% by UAWs.
If you want to know more about blockchain and dapp adoption, read our latest report.
In conclusion, while there is some variation in the percentage change across different blockchains, the overall trend is a decrease in activity from 2021 to 2022, with the exception of a few chains including Immutable X. The chain growth, besides the popularity of Gods Unchained, could be also attributed to its staking system.
The new staking process on Immutable X involves having a certain amount of IMX tokens staked in the IMX staking dashboard. Additionally, users are required to trade at least one NFT on the Immutable X blockchain during the staking cycle. By fulfilling these two requirements, users will be able to earn rewards in the form of IMX tokens, which they can use for various purposes within the Immutable X ecosystem.
2. Top games see major increases in daily unique active wallets and transactions
The top games of 2022 have shown resilience, and they managed to increase their activity. Splinterlands, remains the most popular game, with on average 235,499 daily unique active wallets (dUAW) in 2022, translating into a 100.77% increase. The gaming dapp also had over 1 million transactions per month, which means that, on average, one Unique Active Wallet did five monthly transactions. However, since changing their game economy and rewards system in August, the dapp experienced a fall in the game’s activity, closing the year with 157,681 dUAW.
Despite the decline in the game’s user base, Splinterlands achieved important milestones in the roadmap. In August, Splinterlands announced a partnership with EMP Money, and launched their token EMP. It was listed on Huobi Exchange, to boost its use cases and enable transactions in the dapp gaming ecosystem. This launch allowed EMP holders to buy Splinterlands assets with EMP, which the game will use as a revenue stream. Additionally, the EMP treasury can refuse to accept this EMP back, which will prevent the EMP peg from being pressurized. As a result, Splinterlands players and EMP holders can earn more rewards using the $EMP system.
On November 11, the team announced plans to add additional use cases for their Runi NFTs, as the sales have been slow. Runis, unique, generative, PFP-style NFTs, will become cards in Splinterlands. Splinterlands wants to add a staking contract to the Ethereum blockchain, allowing users to stake their Runi to use them in-game. Each Runi has a unique in-game card and owners can also utilize their Runi’s artwork commercially. Furthermore, on November 17, Splinterlands reportedly laid off nearly 45% of its employees owing to the ongoing deterioration of the crypto market and worldwide recession.
In the second place, we find Alien Worlds, which saw a slight increase in its UAW in 2022. It reached on average 199,499 dUAW, a 7.89% increase from the previous year. Surprisingly, it closed the year with 224,542 dUAW, surpassing Splinterlands as the most-played game in December 2022. Looking at the transactions, the gaming dapp had over 4.8 million per month, which means that every unique wallet did on average 25 monthly transactions.
Alien Worlds continued to build this year, and in this quarter, multiple updates were released. In October, they introduced Syndicates to the platform, which is a DAO-based governance system for each of their six planets. This update allows for player-elected Councils, and marks a new era for Alien Worlds.
In November, players finally have a use for the Weapon and Characters NFTs they’ve been collecting. These can now be sent into the Battledome to fight for honor, glory, and prizes. It’s worth noting that this Battledome is not the one that Alien Worlds had promised for the past two years, but instead is a third-party app developed by a group called Restack.AI and partially funded by a Galactic Hubs Pioneer Grant from Alien Worlds.
Finally, on 24 December, Alien Worlds released a new land update, which rewards the most engaged landowners and provides more opportunities for interaction between Landowners and Miners through the new feature: Land Boosts.
Axie Infinity is in third place, and its performance in 2022 has been marked by both challenges and opportunities. Despite a major revamp in the game’s reward model, and the $500 million attack that targeted the Ronin bridge, Sky Mavis has taken steps to stabilize the platform and make a long-term commitment to users. Nonetheless, these issues have also led to a decline in the average number of dUAW which was 76,104 and this represents a decrease of 40% from the previous year. Additionally, the average number of transactions per month was 100,777, which represents an average of 2 transactions per month per UAW.
Despite these challenges, there are signs of hope for the future as the company continues to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing world of blockchain gaming. In fact, on April 7th, 2022, Axie Infinity: Origin was officially released via Mavis Hub. The release was announced by Sky Mavis on Axie Infinity’s social media pages, accompanied by a gameplay trailer. There had been some concern that the release of Axie Origin would be delayed due to a recent hack on the blockchain network Ronin, which resulted in about $600 million worth of cryptocurrency being stolen.
Furthermore, on 28 December, the company announced the first alpha release of Axie Infinity Homeland.
The Alpha release intends to collect feedback and allow users to explore the existing features. The release of Axie Infinity Homeland marks the official commencement of Phase 1 and Alpha Season 0. The Axie team will depart Alpha after the game is smoothed out and improved over the next year, and all progress will be reset. However, players who acquired unique off-chain cosmetics during the Alpha phase will be allowed to retain them.
3. Leading metaverse dapps flashed their potential through Alpha or Beta phases.
The blockchain gaming landscape has been rapidly evolving, where leading metaverse dapps have been flashing their potential through their respective alpha or beta phases. A number of projects have been launched alphas this year, including Illuvium, The Sandbox, Big Time, Axie Infinity Homeland, The Fabled, Phantom Galaxies, Star Atlas, My Neighbor Alice, Treeverse, Mirandus, and many more.
Gaming is an industry where usually a good game takes years to be developed, and even then, it still has flaws. Perhaps the best example is CyberPunk 2077. There is no reason to believe that blockchain gaming will be different. Therefore, it’s important that the leading projects such as the ones mentioned above reward their communities with testing phases keeping them engaged and full with enthusiasm.
One project that has been making a splash in the industry is The Sandbox. The Sandbox has hosted three Alpha Seasons, providing Alpha Pass holders with a chance to play-and-earn while also opening their virtual walls to the public in general. Players could obtain the Alpha passes by holding LAND, entering Season Raffles, participating in social contests or buying off OpenSea. Alpha Season 1 kicked off on 29 November, 2021, following four years of development and ran for 22 days. Coinciding with Facebook’s rebranding to Meta one month earlier, it instantly propelled The Sandbox into one of the world’s most popular blockchain games.
During the 7.5-week period from Facebook’s rebrand up till the end of AlphaS1, The Sandbox’s LAND cap and LAND holder numbers rose 46.8% and 8%, respectively, in just 22 days, while daily average volumes reached 830 ETH. By the time Alpha Season 2 rolled around on 3 March, SAND’s value and market cap had corrected significantly, while The Sandbox’s LAND cap had just hit its ATH of 379,546 ETH a week before.
Alpha Season 3 was by far the biggest, most accessible, most rewarding, and longest-running Season to date. It kicked off deep in the middle of a crypto winter with The Sandbox’s LANDs cap in free-fall, hitting a low on the first day. Despite this, During 68 days, the event attracted 353,000 unique users across 98 new brand-generated experiences. For the first time, gamers could utilize avatars from other Web3 brands, showcasing The Sandbox’s high focus on interoperability. The Sandbox defied the crypto winter posting positive numbers in terms of Unique Active Wallets and trading volume over the last months.
In December 2022, The Fabled also launched its first alpha for its action-oriented RPG. Players needed a Mintpass or a MintKey NFT to play this alpha. The alpha was also open to those on the whitelist, but the openings for this first-round whitelist have already closed.
Lastly, one of the most anticipated games had with two beta releases for their upcoming games. The first private beta for Illuvium Arena introduced new gameplay mechanics and unit changes, while the second private beta for Illuvium Overworld allows players to test out the main aspects of the game such as world exploration, resource gathering, and Illuvial capturing. The Illuvium team continues to work on improving and expanding the game, and players can expect even more updates and features in the future.
These are just a few examples of the many metaverse dapps that are flashing their potential through alpha or beta phases. As the blockchain gaming landscape continues to evolve, it’s clear that these projects have the potential to revolutionize the industry and change the way we play games.
4. Virtual worlds in-depth view after the Metaverse Hype Cycle
The metaverse, an interconnected digital realm where users interact with each other, services, and various forms of entertainment, has been a hot topic in the blockchain industry. With the rise of NFTs, the metaverse has become increasingly accessible, allowing users to own and trade digital items. In 2022, the trading volume and sales count of the category of virtual worlds reached new heights, and several metaverse dapps stood out among the rest.
According to data from 2022, the trading volume of the category of virtual worlds reached its peak in May, with a trading volume of $748 million. This growth was driven by the launch of 99,900 parcels of land, by Otherside, reaching in the first month $722 million in trading volume.
From June, a downward trend started reaching a low point in November, with a trading volume of $9 million. The sales count also saw a similar trend, with the highest number of sales in May, with 43,111, and the lowest in November, with 10,919.
On a positive note, 2022 ended with the trading volume increasing by 128% from November, reaching $20 million in trading volume. Sales followed the same trend, increasing by 187%, reaching 31,328.
One of the top performers in this space is Otherdeed for Otherside, which had a trading volume of $846 million and a sales count of 70,480 this year. The NFT land sale for Otherdeed was one of the most highly anticipated projects in the crypto world, and it ignited a buying frenzy when it launched on 30 April. Users paid around $6,000 (305 ApeCoin) for each land parcel, and an additional $6,000 in gas fees during peak hours, which added up to a total cost of roughly 4.24 ETH on the minting day. The project reached its peak in trading volume in May, reaching $722 million, but the volume has since declined and ended the year with $18 million.
The Sandbox, another popular metaverse dapp, had a trading volume of $148 million and a sales count of 86,018. The project saw growth driven by the success of its Alphas. Meanwhile, Decentraland had a trading volume of $80 million and a sales count of 5,170. The project had a busy year in terms of events, with popular events like Metaverse Fashion Week, conferences, trade shows, and partnerships. The platform also had several community events like Art Week, Metaverse Music Festival, and many more, which made headlines all year long. Additionally, Decentraland launched incubator programs to support creators and game studios and held community contests like the Film Club, Game Jam, Music Festival Emote, and Ugly Sweater competition.
NFT Worlds is ranked third, reaching $118 million in trading volume, with $95 million traded in Q1 2022. However, the trading volume has been on a downward trend since the ban on Minecraft in July, ending the year with $620,182 in trading volume and 624 sales. The NFT Worlds team has announced that they are currently developing their own version of Minecraft, complete with the modernization and active development that the original game has lacked for years.
In conclusion, the metaverse is a rapidly growing industry, and the data shows that trading volume and sales count in virtual worlds reached new heights in 2022. While Otherdeed for Otherside stood out as the leader in terms of trading volume and sales count, other notable dapps like The Sandbox and Decentraland also performed well. The metaverse is a dynamic and exciting space, and it will be interesting to see how these projects continue to evolve in the future.
5. Will the Move-to Earn paradigm survive 2023?
In 2022, Move-to-Earn applications, also known as fitness dapps, saw a surge in popularity as more and more gamers and fitness enthusiasts look to earn rewards for their physical activity. These dapps have built large communities of users worldwide and are increasingly being used as a way to motivate people to stay active and healthy.
According to a recent report from ResearchAndMarkets.com, the move to earn dapps market is estimated at USD 411.2 million in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.54% during the forecast period of 2023-2033. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the growing use of smartphones, rising healthcare costs, an increase in obesity rates, and the deployment of faster and more reliable network infrastructure.
Additionally, the increasing use of wearable devices and advancements in technology are also expected to drive market growth. However, challenges such as lack of digital literacy and skills, network coverage, security, and data privacy concerns may limit the growth of this market.
STEPN, a Web3 lifestyle app launched in late December 2021, has been a key player in the recent surge of popularity in move-to-earn dapps. This dapp utilizes geolocation data, physical sensors, augmented reality, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other existing blockchain technologies to gamify fitness using blockchain technology, and has served as a model for other apps in the space.
In September 2022, STEPN accumulated 3 million monthly users and minted over 735,000 shoes. However, the app has seen a decline in popularity since May 2022, with a 54% decrease in monthly active users from Q3 to Q4.
Despite this, STEPN has not been affected by the FTX collapse in November and has even launched a special in-app event called “around the world: sneaker enhancement special” to coincide with the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, as a way to “celebrate with users across the world.”
Apart from STEPN, a few dapps are climbing the M2E ranks.
Dustland Runner, an audio adventure game launched by OliveX in the beginning of 2022, has seen significant success. The game utilizes the Move-and-Own (MnO) concept and its own token, DOSE, to underpin its economy, and has been well-received by players. The game developers have stated that they focused on the game, story, and lore first and are happy to have been proved right. In November 2022, Dustland Runner hit a major milestone with the launch of its crafting system, which was highly anticipated by the game’s 20,000 monthly active user
As a result, Dustland Runner is consistently rated as one of the top MnO games on the Polygon chain, which DOSE also joined in November. Dustland Runner had an average of 1,788 daily unique active wallets and a total of 702,279 transactions in 2022.
Another move-to-earn dapp that stands out is Genopets, a virtual pet game that combines elements of genetics, evolution, and caretaking. Players can create their own unique pet by combining various genetics, giving it a name, and then caring for it as it grows and evolves over time. Players can even breed their own pets, creating unique and custom creatures that can be shared with friends.
Genopets encourages players to explore their creativity and engage in the exciting world of creature creation. In total, Genopets has generated over 130,000 SOL in volume and also launched Genopets Habitats reinforcing the metaverse concept for this ecosystem.
Lastly, Step App, a move-to-earn dapp, had a successful year in 2022. The app entered the first stages of development in early 2022, and within 8 months, it grew to have over 20 million supporters, enthusiasts, and users.
The app’s official launch was celebrated in Tokyo, Japan on 1 December, where industry leaders such as global ambassador Usain Bolt and Japanese professional baseball player Kazuto Taguchi shared their insights on the move-to-earn industry and the future of fitness with Step App.
Step App has positioned itself as an “all-in-one” app, unique in the move-to-earn industry by having everything a user needs to start their fitness journey within the app, without the need to navigate through different websites, apps, and wallets. This creates lower barriers to entry for new users and drives mass adoption.
Additionally, Step App is building a robust ecosystem that will make Web3 and blockchain technology accessible globally. The app is the gateway to the Step ecosystem, which includes a range of products. Step App is the first app built on Step Network, which is powered by FITFI and is a blockchain made for mass adoption. Step Network provides low-cost, lightning-fast geo-location technology, NFT minting, trading functions, and more that can be deployed in no time by developers, teams, or global brands that develop on the network.
The first project launched on Step Launch, PRIMAL, reached the raise ceiling of $500K in under 30 minutes. Step App also released their decentralized exchange, Step Ex, where users can purchase their tokens and other tokens that are onboarded onto the Step Network and through their launchpad.
Overall, the move-to-earn industry has shown us a variety of interesting and innovative applications. Despite facing challenges such as lack of digital literacy and skills, network coverage, security, and data privacy concerns, the industry has demonstrated tremendous potential. The move-to-earn concept has been well-received by users and has seen significant growth in recent years. With new technologies and advancements in the field, there is a lot of room for further innovation and growth in the move-to-earn paradigm.
6. VCs pour $7.6 billion into blockchain-based games and metaverse projects
Blockchain gaming is becoming an increasingly popular area for investment, with the total capital raised in the space growing exponentially in recent years. The total capital raised in 2019 was $27.7 million, which increased to $191 million in 2020. In the following year, the total investments in the blockchain gaming space reached $3.7 billion. In 2022, the total capital raised reached a staggering $7.6 billion, which clearly indicates that interest and confidence in the space is growing.
This trend is reflected in the significant investments made towards blockchain gaming in 2022, with three standing out in particular. The first is the $725 million Ecosystem Fund announced by Flow, the Web3 platform powering next-generation games, apps and digital assets including NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day, on 5 May. The Ecosystem Fund is designed to provide existing and future developers with support in building applications on the Flow blockchain through investments, FLOW token grants and in-kind support.
The second significant investment is the inaugural $500 million developer and venture investment fund launched by Immutable, an Australia-based web3 gaming firm, on June 17. The capital will be used to fund projects building web3 games and NFT-focused companies on its layer-2 Ethereum-focused platform, Immutable X.
The third significant investment is a tie between Yuga Labs and Polygon, both of which raised $450 million in funding. Yuga Labs, which closed its Series Seed funding round on March 22, plans to use the funds to scale its rapidly growing team and attract the best talent across creative, engineering and operations functions. Polygon, on the other hand, raised its $450 million in a new venture financing round on 7 February, with participation from Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global, SoftBank, Galaxy Digital and other investors. This was the first time many of these investors have made a bet on an Ethereum scaling solution, or broadly on the blockchain infrastructure play, according to Web3 Signals, a website that tracks venture investments in the crypto space.
Out of the $7.6 billion moving into the blockchain gaming space in 2022, blockchain gaming infrastructure made up 33.5% of the total invested. Individual gaming projects or metaverse worlds received 27.3%, while guilds and incubator programs got 19.1%.
The strong funding into infrastructure projects highlights that the industry will build a strong foundation. Blockchain gaming will need to onboard millions of players through user-friendly experiences. And of course, gamers will want high-quality games that aren’t lesser versions of what they already play on their PC, PlayStation or mobile phones.
All in all, these significant investments demonstrate that blockchain gaming is becoming an increasingly popular area for investment and the industry is showing strong signs of growth. With major players in the venture capital and blockchain industries investing in blockchain gaming, it’s clear that the industry has a lot of potential for future growth.
7. How Animoca Brands is Building the Web3 Metaverse
Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based gaming and blockchain company, has been making waves in the industry with its recent fundraising efforts. In 2022 alone, the company raised a whopping $590 million, with the largest investment coming in at $360 million in a funding round led by Liberty City Ventures in January of that year.
This impressive feat is a testament to the growing interest in blockchain-based gaming and the company’s ability to capitalize on it. In 2022, Animoca Brands participated in 36 investment rounds for metaverse and blockchain games projects further solidifying its position as a leader in the industry.
One of the key factors driving Animoca Brands’ success is the vision of its chairman and co-founder, Yat Siu. Siu has been vocal in his belief that the development of Web3 or the metaverse depends on users being able to really own digital items. This philosophy is reflected in the company’s focus on creating decentralized gaming experiences and NFT-based digital collectibles, which allow players to truly own and control their virtual assets.
As the blockchain gaming industry continues to evolve, Animoca Brands is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing market. With its strong vision, impressive fundraising efforts, and participation in a wide range of metaverse and blockchain games projects, the company is on track to becoming a giant in the industry.
Interview with Robby Young, CEO of Animoca Brands
What distinguishes blockchain gaming from traditional gaming? What is the advantage of blockchain gaming over traditional gaming?
The key difference is ownership. In tokenized games, players have true digital ownership, which changes the business model for developers and the value proposition for players. This shifts the way in which players engage with the product.
Scalability has been a major issue with blockchain technology. Can blockchain games scale without sacrificing other features as the number of users increases?
Yes, I believe they can. Smart people will always find solutions to these challenges, just as we figured out how to make AAA games fun on mobile and we figured out how to reduce the price of gas on Ethereum (layer 2’s).
Users often complain about the lack of variety and realistic graphics in blockchain games. What needs to be done to bring blockchain games up to the standards of AAA games?
This is a simple problem of time. There are so few blockchain games, so the choice is limited. I don’t have the official numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of blockchain games is still doubling every quarter.
Do you think the next wave of adoption will be brought by blockchain gaming?
If the adoption of blockchain is to happen, then yes, it will be brought by gaming.
8. Web2 gaming companies pivot to Web3: the future of gaming in 2023
Web2 gaming companies are starting to pivot towards web3 in 2022, as the industry continues to evolve and blockchain technology becomes more mainstream. Traditional gaming companies are recognizing the potential of blockchain-based games and the opportunities they present, and are beginning to explore ways to integrate these new technologies into their existing ecosystems.
However, not all companies are embracing the shift to web3. Mojang Studios, creators of Minecraft, placed a ban on any Non-Fungible Token (NFT) integration in their games. Steam, the popular gaming platform developed by Valve, also removed all blockchain-related games from their platform. These companies seem to prefer to stick with the status quo of the gaming ecosystem.
On the other hand, some esports teams, game publishers, and even popular gaming hardware brands have embraced blockchain game technology, or are at least watching with interest on how GameFi in Web3 will play out in the future.
Epic Games Store, often seen as a competitor to Steam, has taken a different stance on blockchain gaming. The company has a partnership with Blankos Block Party, an open-world multiplayer NFT game which recently launched on the Epic games store. They also showed interest in Gala Games’ cowboy battle royale game Grit, which is currently in development.
Atari, a leading arcade game company, recently introduced its longstanding gaming legacy to the Sandbox metaverse via its new Web3 game platform, AtariX. The game company has also launched its NFT collection, which features several perks, including $100 credit for Unstoppable Domains and physical prints. Atari says it strongly believes that blockchain technology will be instrumental in the development of upcoming games.
N3twork Studios, the creators of the blockbuster mobile RPG Legendary: Game of Heroes, has revealed that it’s developing a play-to-own RPG dubbed Legendary: Heroes Unchained, on the blockchain. This game features NFTs, allowing gamers to collect heroes to battle gods and monsters, engage in PvP, and join epic GvG events.
Facebook rebranded to Meta last year, as part of plans to become a major player in the Web3 movement. This strategic move was followed by the launch of Horizon World, a virtual reality (VR) application that users can experience through the company’s Meta Quest headset.
Esports teams like Fnatic, Navi, Team Liquid, and others are household names in the Web2 gaming scene, and now these brands have also partnered with Web3 game Guild of Guardians. Each team becomes playable characters within the Guild of Guardian’s ecosystem.
Though blockchain gaming disrupts the business model of traditional game publishers, many don’t want to be left behind as the Web3 GameFi trend continues gaining momentum. Bandai Namco, creators of game titles like Dragon Ball, Monster Rancher, and Digimon, announced it would build its own metaverse with a budget of $130 million. Square Enix, creators of the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises, announced its NFT trading cards that will be launching in 2023.
Furthermore, Square Enix has become the final initial validator for gaming blockchain Oasys before its public launch later this year. Other notable initial node validators include SEGA, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, Yield Guild Games, WeMade, NEOWIZ, Netmarble and Com2Us.
As the gaming industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that web3 and blockchain technology will play a significant role in shaping the future of gaming. Companies that are willing to embrace these new technologies and adapt to the changing landscape will be the ones that succeed in this exciting and rapidly-evolving industry.
In conclusion, the blockchain gaming industry in 2022 has been marked by significant growth and development. Companies like Animoca Brands have emerged as giants in the industry, having raised $590 million in funding and participating in 36 investment rounds for metaverse and blockchain games projects.
Other companies have also embraced blockchain game technology, with Epic Games Store partnering with Blankos Block Party and showing interest in Gala Games’ project Grit. Meanwhile, some game studios like Mojang Studios and Steam have been more cautious, placing a ban on any NFT integration in their games or taking off all blockchain-related games from their platform.
However, it’s important to note that the blockchain gaming industry is still in its infancy and it will take time for it to fully mature and for its potential to be fully realized. This is a new and rapidly evolving industry that is still trying to find its footing and establish itself.
Despite this, it’s essential to keep in mind that the industry is evolving and changing rapidly, so it’s important to stay informed and adapt to new developments. DappRadar will keep reporting monthly on the latest trends in the blockchain gaming space, through our BGA Game Reports. All in all, the blockchain gaming industry still has a lot of room to grow and we are excited to see what the future holds.
DappRadar keeps track of the number of Unique Active Wallets (UAW) interacting with a decentralized application’s smart contracts over time. This is also known as “on-chain” or “blockchain” activity. However, multiple dapps do not require executing a blockchain transaction to perform certain actions.
The activity outside a blockchain ecosystem is called “off-chain” or “Web 2.0” activity. Off-chain activity is traditionally measured by the number of Daily Active Users (DAUs). An example of off-chain activity is a user visiting the virtual worlds of The Sandbox or Decentraland, or a user who plays Axie Infinity without claiming rewards on the blockchain.