DappRadar x BGA Games Report #11
After a tough year for the blockchain industry in 2022, the sector seems to have a promising start in 2023 with gaming leading the way. At DappRadar, we have analyzed gaming on-chain data for this year’s start, and the results are indeed encouraging.
- On-chain gaming activity rose 1.31% to 858,621 dUAW, making up 48% of January dapp activity.
- Top gaming tokens’ market caps increased by 122% on average, with GALA leading at 218% and $384 million.
- Sewer Pass generated $44.6M in trading volume and 10,561 sold NFTs in just two weeks as Yuga hosted its Dookey Dash competition.
- Amid the launch of Homeland and Origins Season 2, Axie Infinity surges in trading volume by 71%, reaching $7.2 million
- Investments in blockchain games and metaverse projects totaled $156M.
Table of Contents
- Blockchain Gaming Industry Overview
- Bullish on-chain metrics and hype drive a significant increase in top gaming tokens
- NFT-in-Games: the Yuga effect in the gaming landscape
- Planet IX, Splinterlands, and other top Blockchain Games by UAW
- Axie Infinity on the road to recovery with the launch of Homeland and Season 2
- Virtual worlds trading volume spikes 114% reaching $44.5 million
- TreasureDAO: unlocking the power of MAGIC in the metaverse
- $156 million raised by blockchain games and metaverse projects
- Square Enix brings its first NFT game, Symbiogensys, to Polygon
1. Blockchain Gaming Industry Overview
The blockchain industry has been through a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs throughout 2022, but the gaming sector of the blockchain industry has started the year with promising figures, and this is something worth keeping an eye on. The on-chain data for blockchain gaming shows a 1.31% rise in activity with 858,621 daily Unique Active Wallets (dUAW) in January, making up 48% of dapp activity.
The blockchain network with the most active gaming activity continues to be Wax, with 331,000 dUAW. With 75% dominance in January 2023 Alien Worlds has been leading on the Wax blockchain , while gaming activity numbers remained unchanged.
Polygon comes in third place with 138,701 dUAW, an increase of 11.29% from the previous month. This trend further cements Polygon as a gaming chain, where Planet IX became the most dominant game dapp on Polygon with 59% of January’s on-chain activity.
While activity on Wax remains stable, both Hive and Polygon have seen their gaming activity grow in January 2023. These on-chain metrics for blockchain gaming paint a promising picture where gaming activity pushed adoption of blockchain technology. Additionally, it is also worth noting that on the token side of the top gaming blockchains, the figures are also optimistic. This will be analyzed in the next section.
2. Bullish on-chain metrics and hype drive significant increase in top gaming tokens
The gaming industry has always been a thriving and popular market, attracting 2.69 billions consumers from across the world and responsible for a yearly revenue of 103.5 billions. Gaming has outpaced the movie industry years ago. With the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, gaming tokens have become increasingly popular in recent years. In January 2023 the surge of the top gaming tokens was nothing short of impressive.
According to market data as of January 31, ApeCoin leads the pack with a market capitalization of $2,112,042,188 and a percentage increase of 51.99% from the beginning of the month. Following closely behind is SAND, with a market capitalization of $1,254,095,738 and a percentage increase of 86.64%.
But the biggest winner of them all is GALA, with a market capitalization of $384,667,325 and a whopping percentage increase of 218.75% from the beginning of the month. Other notable gainers include IMX, MAGIC, and AXS.
So what is behind this surge in gaming tokens?
ApeCoin has seen a surge in popularity due to the hype surrounding the Yuga Labs ecosystem. The launch of the Sewer Pass has been particularly successful, and the recent collaboration with Timex, featuring Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has generated even more interest.
GALA has been making headlines for its recent acquisition of a mobile gaming studio with over 20 million active users and over 15 games. This move has expanded the reach of the Gala blockchain network significantly. Additionally, an artist on the Gala Music platform was nominated for a Grammy, which generated even more buzz for the ecosystem.
MAGIC’s surge in popularity can be attributed to the hype around TreasureDAO. This new platform aims to bring together creators, collectors, and fans in a unique ecosystem where everyone can benefit. The concept has been warmly received by the gaming community, which has helped drive up the price of MAGIC.
Finally, AXS has been making waves with the start of Axie Origins Season 2 and the launch of Homeland. These moves have expanded the reach of the AXS blockchain network and generated a lot of excitement among gamers and investors alike.
In conclusion, the surge of the top gaming tokens in January 2023 is a very positive sign for the industry. The on-chain metrics are bullish, and the hype surrounding these coins is only growing.
3. NFT-in-Games: the Yuga effect in the gaming landscape
The world of NFTs has been abuzz with the latest project from Yuga Labs, the Sewer Pass. This new collection generated a lot of interest and excitement among NFT enthusiasts and collectors alike. The Sewer Pass is an innovative project that aims to put creators first by allowing players to use their NFTs to play games and earn rewards. The project taps into the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem and has already yielded impressive returns, with a trading volume of $44.6 million and 10,561 traded NFTsin its first 13 days.
The Sewer Pass is not just another NFT project; it has a unique feature that sets it apart from other collections. It was designed to act as a key to playing the game Dookey Dash. The game ran from January 19 to February 8, where players needed to set high scores, which will then unlock something in what Yuga Labs calls “Chapter 1”.
The launch of the Sewer Pass had a significant impact on the NFT market, particularly in the area of NFT games, as this is just the beginning, and Yuga Labs plans to launch more NFT games in the future. This is exciting news for NFT enthusiasts and collectors, as it opens up new avenues for them to use their assets and earn rewards. It also highlights the potential of NFTs in the gaming industry, and we can expect to see more innovative gaming projects. It is interesting to note that the highest Dookey Dash score was achieved by Mongraal, a professional Fortnite player.
4.Planet IX, Splinterlands, and other top Blockchain Games by UAW
As the blockchain gaming industry continues to grow, we take a closer look at the top 10 games by UAW in January 2023.
According to on-chain data, Alien Worlds is still in first place, with an average of 225,203 dUAW, a slight increase of 0.19% from December 2022. In late January, they opened up round 2 of their community grants program, allowing anyone with an idea to improve or expand the Alien Worlds ecosystem to submit proposals for TLM tokens to help fund their development
In second place is Splinterlands, with an average of 183,003 dUAW, a significant 16% increase month-over-month. At the beginning of January, they announced their roadmap for 2023, while they introduced DEC-Batteries and Soulbound cards in February. Setting up their validator node network, updating their game economy and introducing land gameplay are key components of their plans.
Additionally, they plan to launch Rebellion Cards, along with quarterly promo card sales. The team has also listed several changes in the Market category, such as season rentals, card bundles, and SPS delegation rental markets.
Third place goes to Planet IX, a sci-fi metaverse game that has seen a 58.40% month-over-month increase with close to 79,000 dUAW. The NFT-based strategy game has an ecosystem with over 400 million NFTs sold and over $2 million in trading volume in January, ranking it third in blockchain gaming.
Nine Chronicles is another notable gainer with an average of 21,507 dUAW, a 55% increase. They recently announced their roadmap, which includes the incorporation of the Decentralization & Improvement Proposal section, where the community can voice their opinions on the game and operations to improve Nine Chronicles.
The team has planned several events, such as in-game applications of D:CC NFT and launching the D:CC PFP Pet System in the first quarter, transition to an updated Proof-of-Stake blockchain in the second quarter, launching of Nine Chronicles M in the third quarter, and 2023 Arena Grand Finale in the fourth quarter.
Even though Axie Infinity ranks tenth on the list, it has still shown growth, with an increase of 30.45% to an average of 12,068 dUAW. In the next section we will talk about Axie Infinity’s January updates and how they are on the path of recovery.
5. Axie Infinity on the road to recovery with the launch of Homeland and Season 2
Axie Infinity, one of the most popular blockchain games in the world, faced one of the largest DeFi hacks in history when the bridge connecting its Ronin Network sidechain to Ethereum was hacked for $622 million worth of cryptocurrency in March 2022.
Despite the hack, Axie Infinity continued to push forward and innovate. In late December 2022, the game launched the alpha version of Homeland, its flagship land-based expansion. In Homeland, players guide their Axies in establishing a settlement on the planet of Lunacia where players can embark on various tasks, including gathering and storing materials, optimizing Axie farming, building structures on the land, creating new equipment, and increasing the number of Axies that can be owned.
One of the innovative features of Homeland is that it allows DeFi features using the land of the game. This means that players can use their land to earn yields by staking and liquidity provision on the decentralized exchange (DEX) platform, Katana. Players can also earn additional income by renting their land to other players. This adds a new layer of gameplay to the Axie Infinity ecosystem, allowing players to earn rewards and generate passive income through their land NFTs.
Axie Infinity has also launched Axie Infinity: Origins Season 2 on 11 January. This season is faster-paced than the first season, lasting a total of 42 days with leaderboard payout snapshots happening four times throughout the season rather than once at the end. Rewards and level-ups will also happen much faster, creating powerful momentum especially when paired with the new Eras system.
In addition to the launch of Homeland and Season 2, Axie Infinity also announced the 2023 Katana Liquidity Mining Program, which is the latest update to RON liquidity and incentives available through the Katana DEX. Starting on 7 February, the emission rewards from WETH pairs will transition to new RON pairs on the Katana DEX. This will increase RON liquidity and support more activity on the Ronin blockchain.
This is an important step towards RON staking, as it will make RON more liquid and accessible. As the Axie Infinity ecosystem continues to evolve, it’s clear that the team wants to provide new opportunities for players. While the DeFi hack was a setback, the Axie Infinity ecosystem has shown its resilience.
6. Virtual worlds trading volume spikes 114% reaching $44.5 million
Virtual worlds have gained popularity among gamers and investors alike. The latest data on trading volume and sales count suggests that this trend continues to grow rapidly. The surge in growth for virtual worlds comes from the success of various metaverse dapps, which provide new ways for people to interact with virtual environments.
According to the data, trading volume and sales count for virtual worlds experienced significant growth in January 2023. The trading volume for January was $44.5 million which represents a whopping 114% increase from December 2022, when it was $20.7 million. However, sales count had been decreasing by 19% reaching 25,224.
One of the driving factors behind this growth is the success of metaverse dapps such as The Sandbox and Decentraland. The Sandbox, for instance, reached a trading volume of $1.5 million in January 2023, which represents a staggering 114% increase from December 2022. Similarly, Decentraland achieved a trading volume of $1.1 million, which is an 83% increase month-over-month.
Another significant contributor to this surge in growth is Otherdeed for Otherside, which achieved a trading volume of $37 million in January 2023, representing a 107% increase month-over-month. This growth surge comes from the success of the earlier mentioned Sewer Pass launch.
As the popularity of virtual worlds continues to grow, we can expect to see further developments in the metaverse dapps space. This will provide more opportunities for investors and gamers to participate in the virtual world economy, and as such, we can expect to see continued growth in trading volume and sales count in the future.
7. TreasureDAO: unlocking the power of MAGIC in the metaverse
TreasureDAO is a decentralized NFT ecosystem on Arbitrum that has quickly gained popularity as one of the gaming platform on the blockchain. But TreasureDAO is not just another DeFi platform or metaverse project. Its unique token MAGIC underpins a growing network of metaverses and games, making it a platform for building blocks on which new types of organizations can be built.
The core gameplay of TreasureDAO revolves around the central metaverse called Bridgeworld, where MAGIC is emitted and harvested. Players use Treasure NFTs to mine MAGIC and build infrastructure and equipment to continue mining. MAGIC is the sole currency for marketplace transactions, and its relationship with Treasure NFTs forms the equilibrium underpinning Bridgeworld. The MAGIC emissions are used by the DAO to grow new projects and support more mature ones.
TreasureDAO began as a community-driven game with liquidity at the center of its gameplay. Its founders recognized the problems that most GameFi projects faced, attention and liquidity, and saw that many teams were approaching the problem the wrong way. MAGIC was designed to become a resource that can be used to bootstrap new metaverses and increase its utility by weaving it into multiple game narratives. With MAGIC, GameFi projects don’t have to build vast game worlds with rich narratives and intricate in-game economies to attract attention. They can instead build regular games that people enjoy and incorporate MAGIC as its underlying currency.
TreasureDAO is not just a game, it is a platform for building metaverse projects. Its marketplace currently supports 10 NFT collections, with plans to incorporate another 10. The Legions Genesis collection has seen sales skyrocket, with their rarest NFTs going for over 70 ETH. These collections are complemented by the rest of the Smolverse NFTs, Seed of Life, and the original Loot derivative, Treasure. The Treasure collection is currently the only collection that earns MAGIC in the staking mine, but this is expected to change as Legions Genesis will receive the majority of emissions when the new staking mine goes live.
Upcoming integrations include OlympusDAO’s (OHM) Mushrooms collection and the popular on-chain project, P2E EtherOrcs. Both collections have a floor price above 1 ETH, which should drive solid volume to the marketplace once their integrations are complete.
TreasureDAO is not just a game, it is a decentralized gaming console, where any new or existing game can plug into the Treasure ecosystem and enjoy the benefits of MAGIC, the marketplace, and the community. If successful, MAGIC will represent a stake in an ecosystem that has an entire vertical of NFTs and gaming products all interconnected and built on one another. Exactly like Lego building blocks. With TreasureDAO, the possibilities for building and exploring the metaverse are endless.
8. $156 million raised by blockchain games and metaverse projects
The blockchain gaming industry had a promising start to the year with $156 million raised across 10 investments in January 2023. Courtside Ventures made the biggest investment with a total of $100 million for its third early-stage venture capital fund focused on sports, collectibles, wellness and gaming.
Fund III investors include a globally diverse group of industry leaders across professional sports including team owners, athletes and industry executives. This brings Courtside Ventures’ total committed capital to over $200 million, making it one of the largest venture capital funds in the industry.
Courtside Ventures’ focus on sports, collectibles, wellness, and gaming is a clear indication of the potential growth of the blockchain gaming industry. According to Bond, partner at Courtside Ventures in an interview with Games Beat, the biggest outcomes always come at the intersection of a new form of distribution and a new type of monetization. The promise of Web3 is in the same space, and Courtside Ventures is well-positioned to capitalize on it.
In addition to Courtside Ventures, 64% of investments made in January 2023 were towards investment firms, with Metaverse Tech, also known as metaverse oriented companies, following closely behind with 11.5%. This is a positive sign for the industry as it shows that more projects are preparing to invest in blockchain gaming with a focus on the metaverse.
9. Square Enix brings its first NFT hame, Symbiogensys, to Polygon
Symbiogenesis, the highly anticipated NFT game from the Japanese games publisher Square Enix, will make its debut on Polygon. Polygon, which uses a sidechain to offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum’s mainnet, was chosen after the initial plan to launch on Ethereum was scrapped due to scalability issues.
Symbiogenesis is a story-driven collectibles game, and it will feature 10,000 character NFTs tied to strategic game mechanics. In addition there will be other NFTs in the game. While owning a character NFT is not required to play the game, Square Enix stated that it adds “extra value” to the experience. Additionally, character NFT holders can create “replica NFTs” to share story information with other players.
The game is set in a floating continent above a polluted future Earth, with society forced to band together and make tough choices once a dragon threatens their safe haven. Symbiogenesis will feature turn-based gameplay tied to the storyline, which takes different paths as users complete missions and either hold or trade NFTs.
While Square Enix has showcased NFT items such as dragon tarot cards and a monster storybook, the company has not shared concrete details about the cost of the assets or how they impact the game. Despite this, Symbiogenesis is an exciting development in the blockchain gaming industry, as a major player in the web2 gaming world has put some of its focus into web3.
This move by Square Enix is a clear indication that blockchain gaming is becoming more mainstream and that traditional gaming companies are taking notice. As more gaming companies explore the possibilities of web3 and NFTs, we can expect to see further innovation and growth in the industry.
While 2022 was a challenging year for the blockchain gaming industry, the performance in January 2023 shows that the sector is rebounding. Although the blockchain gaming scene experienced a downturn in 2022, strong funding has set the stage for serious “buidling” in 2023.
Funding is now directed towards studios that have proven experience in building Web3 games, and investors are thinking farther into the future, up to five or ten years down the road. This change in focus will create new dynamics and opportunities for builders in the blockchain gaming market in 2023, with raised expectations from both players and funders that will prioritize quality over quantity.
As the industry shifts into “build” mode, those who can create the most outstanding games will win. The outlook is positive, and we look forward to seeing the blockchain gaming industry continue to grow and innovate in the future. So game on.