DappRadar x BGA Games Report
While this quarter may have seemed tranquil on the surface, the undercurrents in the blockchain industry were palpably active. A notable trend was the fervent movement of Web2 giants making assertive strides into the Web3 realm. This shift was evident and well-received within the gaming community, particularly highlighted by Zynga’s successful launch of Sugartown. Dive into this report for a deeper examination of the on-chain metrics that shaped the gaming industry this quarter.
- Blockchain gaming activity in Q3 2023 had an average of 786,766 daily Unique Active Wallets, an increase of 12% from the previous quarter.
- Alien Worlds sustains its position as Q3 2023’s most-played Web3 game in terms of wallets interacting with the blockchain, commanding over 60% of WAX’s activity.
- Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained lead the pack in Web3 gaming transaction volume, having a volume of $90 million and $55 million, respectively.
- Virtual worlds dapps hit an all-time trading volume this quarter totaling $13 million with 28,000 land sales.
- Q3 2023 saw Web3 gaming projects secure $600 million, pushing 2023 total investments to $2.3 billion
Table of Contents
- Blockchain Gaming Overview
- Spotlight on Top Web3 Games
- Virtual Worlds Overview
- Investment Overview
1. Blockchain Gaming Overview
This quarter, the blockchain gaming sector retained its influential position atop the dapp hierarchy, despite observable dips in momentum. It’s essential to clarify that this isn’t an indication of blockchain gaming waning as the powerhouse for Web3 adoption. Instead, it underscores the evolving landscape as other industry sectors start to gain traction.
Social dapps, for instance, have been the talk of the town this quarter. While their market dominance rests at a modest 11%, a surge in user engagement with social projects is evident in our Social Dapps Rankings. As we often highlight, social dapps can be perceived as a kindred spirit to the blockchain gaming world, largely owing to their embedded gamification elements.
Delving into specifics at the blockchain tier, Wax continues its reign. It leads in metrics such as Unique Active Wallets and transaction counts. However, the stars that shone brightly this quarter were undoubtedly Skale and zkSync. These blockchain platforms are witnessing burgeoning interest, particularly within the gaming populace.
The blockchain gaming industry’s persistent evolution, coupled with the entry of fresh players like Skale, Base and zkSync, signals a bright horizon for Web3 gaming. This dynamism makes us highly optimistic about its thriving future.
2. Spotlight on Top Web3 Games for Q3 2023
Q3 paints a familiar picture in the realm of top-performing Web3 games. Standing tall at the forefront are Alien Worlds and Splinterlands—both of which have consistently clinched prime positions in our rankings. Moreover, the ‘move-to-earn’ paradigm is making notable strides, with Sweat Economy and SuperWalk now gracing our list, gauged by unique active wallets.
Diving deeper into the metrics, we also assessed Web3 games based on transaction volumes, offering a glimpse into gamer preferences and financial flows. Unsurprisingly, Axie Infinity retains its crown—its mounting popularity, further buoyed by recent updates, makes this a predictable leader. Close on its heels is Gods Unchained. The recent unveiling of their new season has led to a substantial uptick in trading volume. Impressively, in recent days, their trading activity even outshone long-standing NFT collections like BAYC and Azuki, as mirrored in our NFT charts.
A significant mention must go to Treasure DAO. Its presence hints at what I believe might be the emerging trend we’ll witness in the coming months. Treasure DAO, at its core, is a casual gaming studio—a niche that has been magnetizing significant user attention recently. A cursory glance at our game rankings reveals a telling trend: four out of the top ten dapps, including names like PipeFlare and IndiGG, are casual gaming studios.
Consequently, it’s tempting to forecast that the next wave in Web3 gaming might very well be dominated by casual gaming studios. The upcoming quarter will undoubtedly shed more light on this.
3. Virtual Worlds Overview
This quarter marked a distinctive low for virtual worlds in terms of trading volume and sales figures. While there’s been a noticeable dip in land trading activity, it’s crucial to distinguish that the overarching enthusiasm for the metaverse and virtual world dapps remains undeterred.
A testament to this enduring interest is Animoca Brands securing a whopping $20 million in funding. These funds are earmarked to bolster their Mocaverse initiative, fortify its ecosystem, and pave the way for more widespread Web3 adoption. With ambitions of becoming a cornerstone for Web3 gaming, metaverse culture, and entertainment, Mocaverse seeks to redefine the narrative.
Echoing sentiments from our prior gaming report, gauging the success of these virtual dapps requires a more holistic approach. Traditional metrics may not always paint the complete picture. Keep an eye on our report section – our in-depth Q3 metaverse analysis is on the horizon.
4. Investment Overview
This quarter witnessed Web3 gaming projects amassing a notable $600 million, propelling the year’s tally to $2.3 billion. While this constitutes just 30% of the funds pooled last year, it’s essential to keep in perspective the distinct market dynamics of 2023.
A highlight of this quarter was the ambitious venture by A16z with its Speedrun accelerator. The strategy in play here is to channel up to $75 million into the next cohort of pre-seed startups that seamlessly blend gaming with the latest technology.
An intriguing observation from this year’s funding trend (illustrated below) is the significant allocation towards investment firms. This underscores the confidence and commitment VCs hold for the future of this domain, signaling their readiness to back the forthcoming Web3 gaming sensations.
On a note we often reiterate, the investments made last year are set to bear fruit this year and possibly the next. This quarter, in particular, graced us with previews and beta versions of some highly anticipated Web3 games, further amplifying the enthusiasm and potential in the sector.Below you will find a list of high quality games that have had or will have a play test in Q3 or Q4 2023.
- My Pet Hooligan, early access launch on Epic Games Store on 20 September
- Star Atlas’ SAGE Labs, game launch on 21 September
- Nitro Nations: World Tour, mobile game launch on 5 October
- BigTime, pre-season early access launch on 10 October
- MetalCore, open beta play test until 13 October
- Guild of Guardians play test, until 20 October
- Formula E: High Voltage, game launch on 19 October
- Gods Unchained, Season 2: Tides of Fate launch on 25 October
- Ember Sword, closed play test on 27 – 29 October
- Phantom Galaxies, early access launch on Steam and Epic Games on 2 November
- Splinterlands, The Rebellion set release, on 5 December
Q3 2023 has provided a nuanced view into the multifaceted world of blockchain gaming. With investments flowing into the sector reaching $600 million this quarter and cumulatively $2.3 billion for the year, it’s evident that stakeholders see substantial potential in the space. However, the fact that this only represents 30% of last year’s fundraising activity underscores the importance of considering external market conditions.
The performance landscape has its own stories: While Alien Worlds and Splinterlands consistently dominate, emerging platforms like TreasureDAO and the move-to-earn concept are carving their niche, pointing towards diversifying gaming preferences.
Virtual worlds may have seen a dip in trading volume, but with projects like Mocaverse receiving significant investment, it’s clear that the broader metaverse concept remains a beacon of interest.
A glance at blockchain-specific data reveals Wax’s dominance, but the rise of blockchain ecosystems like Skale and zkSync indicates a shifting tide in blockchain preferences, especially with their association with casual gaming studios.
However, as other sectors like social dapps gain traction, the gaming industry’s holistic growth may face challenges and opportunities in balancing user engagement across the different sectors.
In essence, while the growth trajectory of blockchain gaming remains largely positive, the evolving dynamics across sectors and platforms emphasize the need for adaptability and foresight in this ever-evolving domain.