State of Blockchain Gaming in Q1 2024

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DappRadar x BGA Games Report

In Q1 2024, blockchain gaming solidified its position in the Web3 space, capturing a 30% market share of the industry, highlighted by an average of 2.1 million daily unique active wallets. 

This report examines the key developments, challenges, and achievements that have characterized the first quarter of 2024, providing insights into the sector’s dynamic progress and its impact on the broader digital landscape.

Key Takeaways 

  • Blockchain games leads the Web3 industry, accounting for 30% of all the dapp activity and attracting 2.1 million active wallets every day.
  • Polygon established itself as the top gaming blockchain, drawing in over 1.1 million new daily wallets, having an increase of 429% from the previous quarter.
  • Alien Worlds on the Wax blockchain still leads the gaming landscape in terms of unique active wallets, attracting a staggering 9.6 million wallets this quarter. 
  • In the in-game NFT market Axie Infinity reigns, as it achieved $181 million in trading volume, the most among all gaming dapps. 
  • In Q1 2024 blockchain gaming received  $288 million in investments, a 57% decrease from the previous quarter.

Table of Contents

  1. Blockchain gaming overview 
  2. Top Web3 games of Q1 2024
  3. Play-to-Airdrop narrative
  4. Investments overview
  5. Closing words

1. Blockchain gaming overview

In Q1 2024 the Web3 industry as a whole saw daily Unique Active Wallets (dUAW) hit 7.7 million, which is a 77% jump from the last quarter. This growth trend is also visible in the blockchain gaming sector, which ended the quarter with 2.1 million dUAW, up 59% from the previous period.

Industry blockchain activity in Q1 2024 by active wallets - DappRadar data

Moreover, blockchain gaming continues to hold a significant portion of the Web3 industry’s activity, making up 30% of the total Unique Active Wallets.

Industry Dominance of Blockchain by UAW in the Dapp Ecosystem in Q1 2024 - DappRadar data

This surge in activity and new users further emphasizes that blockchain gaming is an increasingly important part of the Web3 world.

Let’s take a closer look at where this growth is happening and who led this quarter in terms of Unique Active Wallets:

Top Gaming Blockchains by Active WAllets - DappRadar

Polygon takes the lead, as it has one of the biggest gaming ecosystems, featuring notable games like QORPO WORLD and Anichess at the forefront. Additionally, this quarter they’ve also launched the Inevitable Games Fund with Immutable, aiming to raise $100M. So far, they’ve got $30 million from various Web3 investors, solidifying Polygon’s place in the gaming sector. 

Ronin has seen a resurgence, thanks in part to the success of the social farming game Pixels moving to this blockchain. Following Pixels, other games and developers also made the switch, like Zillion Whales with Wild Forest moving from Polygon to Ronin.

Solana has managed to bounce back and has now released its GameShift toolkit, making it easier to integrate the blockchain into games. Plus, the first gaming rollup on Solana is being launched by the Web3 application platform Mirror World. Furthermore, Star Atlas and Genopets, two gaming dapps, continue to drive user activity on the Solana platform. 

BNB Chain shared plans for some big technical upgrades this year, including features aimed at improving the experience for large-scale gaming dapps. They’re introducing “opBNB Connect” as part of their strategy to help gaming projects develop their own Layer-2 solutions. This quarter, StarryNift and SecondLive were the top game dapps on BNB Chain. 

SKALE is newer to the scene, but has quickly attracted attention, partly thanks to a partnership with Arena Games, aiming to offer faster transaction speeds for gaming. By the end of the quarter, they announced a $2 million grant for gaming projects. motoDEX, which has been on our top rankings for the past months and 5TARS are the driving force behind SKALE growth.

This overview shows the dynamic nature of the blockchain gaming space, with several chains vying for dominance and introducing new features to attract developers and gamers alike.

2. Top Web3 games of Q1 2024

This quarter, we’ve seen familiar names dominate the rankings in the Web3 gaming sphere, titles like Alien Worlds and Splinterlands continue their reign, underscoring their long-standing appeal and robust user base.

top 5 web3 games by active wallets DappRadar data

Additionally, when looking at the top games by dapp volume, the usual suspects appear again, signaling consistent performance and enduring popularity within the ecosystem.

Top 5 Web3 Games by Volume in Q1 2024

Axie Infinity has regained its popularity, and this quarter they have concluded the phase of Season 7, called the Final Era. They have launched Axie Champions, a mobile match-3 game, providing Android users with an opportunity to link their Ronin wallet and earn CUBE tokens with their Axies. And, lastly, Axie Homeland is now accessible to all players. 

Gods Unchained have revealed their roadmap for 2024, and it seems that it will be a busy year as they have plans for a mobile launch, major expansions, new game modes, server improvements, a revamped progression system, the migration of Chests to Layer 2, and the introduction of Mythic cards.

DeFi Kingdoms have also had quite interesting updates, as they have integrated Synapse Protocol as the native interoperability partner for the game. This infrastructure gives DeFi Kingdoms access to a $100 million + liquidity network, near-instant bridging between chains, and a community of over 2 million users.

One intriguing standout is, a hybrid game and social dapp that engages users by allowing them to grow a virtual pet through interactions on social media platforms, rewarding them with BPET tokens. This dapp underscores the growing intersection between social and gaming sectors in the Web3 space.

And for last, but not least, Alien Worlds, which has continued to be on our top rankings since its launch, and this quarter they have reached 58 million Trilium tokens staked to empower players in decentralized governance and fortify system security. The veteran game developer Aaron Yuan has brought Battlefleet Armageddon, an asynchronous auto battler set in the Alien Worlds. And, they have also partnered with LightningWorks to release Starblind, the first NFT comic aimed at expanding the collaborative story metaverse.

3. Play-to-Airdrop narrative

The first quarter of 2024 has seen the rise of the “play-to-airdrop” trend in blockchain gaming and the wider cryptocurrency world, building on the momentum of the earlier “play-to-earn” model. This new approach has reinvigorated interest and activity across various blockchain networks and platforms, rewarding players with tokens for their social media engagement and interaction with games.

Key games leading the “Play-to-Airdrop” movement:

  • MixMob: Known for its “The Ladder” phase that emphasized “NFT Culture,” MixMob is set to launch “QuantumStaking,” captivating players with innovative ways to earn through gameplay.
  • Kuroro Beasts: Often likened to Pokémon, this game offers a rich, multi-dimensional ecosystem where exploration, collection, and battles are central. It currently rewards players with KURO tokens.
  • Apeiron: Blends god simulation with gaming, inviting players to manage planets and creatures as “newborn divines.” Apeiron’s campaign is dedicated to rewarding its community, including beta testers and early supporters, with ANIMA tokens.
  • AI Arena: A PvP combat game that leverages human-trained AIs. The prowess of a player’s AI, honed by their training skills, plays a pivotal role. Its on-chain game version integrates the NRN token into player strategies.
  • Nifty Island: A free-to-play, social game world where players can create and manage their own islands, coupled with a play-to-airdrop program for introducing the ISLAND token.
  • GOMBLE: A Web3 gaming studio offering a range of platform games. It’s in its second airdrop season, featuring special event games and Mystery Marbles rewards.
  • Tatsumeeko: A hybrid RPG and life-sim game that has launched “The Uncharted Dream” auto-battler event, challenging participants to defeat monsters in various settings for rewards.
  • Nyan Heroes: A Solana-based hero shooter featuring cats in mech suits. The game offers “MEOW” points, which will be converted into NYAN tokens for early players and NFT owners.
  • BloodLoop: Reminiscent of Overwatch, this hero shooter on Avalanche has kicked off its play-to-airdrop campaign, allowing players to compete weekly for a portion of millions of BLS tokens.

This shift towards a “play-to-airdrop” model signifies a broader trend of integrating direct rewards into game mechanics, promoting not just engagement and community building but also offering tangible value to players’ gaming experiences. 

4. Investments overview

The start of 2024 has seen a mix of caution and optimism in the investment landscape for the Web3 and blockchain gaming sector. The blockchain gaming industry has secured $288 million in funding, which, while positive, marks a decrease from previous quarters. This cautious approach from companies can be attributed to the aftermath of a challenging year, with many awaiting the outcomes of their earlier investments.

investments in web3 gaming and metaverse Q1 2024

The focus of these investments has largely been on Web3 games and infrastructure. This surely highlights a period of foundational building aimed at enriching the Web3 gaming ecosystem.

Two major investments stand out this quarter, both significantly impacting the landscape:

Parallel Studios, the team behind the Ethereum NFT card-battler game Parallel, has completed a successful funding round, securing $35 million. This investment comes from leading firms in the cryptocurrency sphere and prominent angel investors. The studio’s strategy includes growing its user base by implementing the Parallel Ambassadors program and leveraging influencer partnerships. Furthermore, Parallel Studios has ambitious plans for the future, including launching Parallel on the Epic Games Store and Steam, and rolling out the Colony expansion.

Gunzilla Games has also made headlines with a $30 million investment round for its upcoming project, Off the Grid. This funding effort was co-led by CoinFund and Avalanche’s Blizzard Fund. Off the Grid is a free-to-play, battle royale game set for release on Sony PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, and PC platforms. Gunzilla Games is positioning the game as a third-person shooter that revolutionizes asset ownership and cultivates a player-driven economy within the game.

These investments underscore a strategic shift towards creating immersive, player-centric experiences in the blockchain gaming world. As the industry continues to navigate the post-challenge recovery phase, the focus on building and enhancing Web3 games and infrastructure remains a key priority, setting the stage for future growth and innovation.

5. Closing words

As we wrap up our look at the blockchain gaming world in Q1 2024, it’s evident that the industry is on a promising path. Despite a slow start financially, the energy and resources being poured into creating new games and improving technology show that there’s a lot of hope for what’s next. The investments in games like Parallel and Off the Grid, along with the rise of “play-to-airdrop” models, are exciting developments that point to a richer, more interactive future for players.

There’s a lot of building happening right now, and while we might need to be patient, the results could be groundbreaking. The next few years could see blockchain gaming becoming more mainstream and offering experiences we’ve yet to imagine. So, let’s stay tuned and watch as the industry continues to grow and evolve. The best part of the blockchain gaming story is still being written, and there’s much to look forward to.

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