Web3 Games Flourishing on iOS Despite Resistance: Axie Infinity Leading the Charge

BGA gaming report
Other categories related to this article:

DappRadar x BGA Games Report #15

As we approach the second half of 2023, financial and economic experts are forecasting a potential economic downturn. Nevertheless, the world of blockchain gaming continues to defy this gloomy prognosis, exhibiting vibrant activity. From high-profile mergers and acquisitions to substantial investments and exciting updates, the industry is abuzz with dynamism. To get a comprehensive understanding of the current landscape and the major players shaping the future of blockchain gaming, delve into this detailed report.

Key Takeaways 

  • In May, on-chain gaming activity saw a 6% increase with 711,913 daily UAW, yet games maintained a significant 36% share of tracked on-chain activity, which is at an all-time low since July 2021.
  • WAX continues to hold the top spot as the most popular gaming chain with over 336,000 UAW, but competition is intensifying with the rise of BNB Chain and Polygon. 
  • The Sui blockchain and Intella X accounted for 34% of the new games added this month.
  • Despite historical resistance from Apple, Web3 games like Axie Infinity, Cross The Ages or NFL Rivals are thriving on iOS.
  • Virtual world dapps saw this month a significant 76% decrease in trading volume ($9.7 million) and a 30% decline in land sales (11,270 plots). 
  • Investments in blockchain games and metaverse projects totaled $476 million in May.

Table of Contents

  1. Blockchain Gaming Overview
  2. Sui and Intella X add most games in May
  3. May’s blockchain gaming leaders
  4. Illuvium’s Overworld and Illuvium Zero: ushering in a new wave of blockchain games
  5. The rise of Web3 iOS games: defying the odds
  6. $476 million poured into Web3 gaming projects
  7. Virtual Worlds continue to struggle
  8. Conclusion

1. Blockchain gaming overview

Blockchain gaming has been a significant player in the crypto industry, despite experiencing a slip in dominance this May. The games industry reached its lowest number of Unique Active Wallets (UAW) since July 2021, with 711,913 daily UAW. That means that games have a market dominance of 36%. Even more intriguing is the persistent growth exhibited by the industry, with the number of gaming wallets seeing a 6% month-to-month increase, underscoring the sector’s dynamism.

Industry Dominance by UAW in the Dapp Ecosystem

Furthermore, the blockchain gaming sector commanded an impressive 77% dominance over the transactions of the entire decentralized application (dapp) industry. With over 550 million transactions, primarily processed on the WAX blockchain, the gaming industry proved its supremacy in this technological landscape.

While blockchain gaming continues to strengthen its foothold, a previously unheralded segment of social dapps is gaining traction. Commanding a 12% share with 234,389 daily UAW in May, these budding platforms resemble mainstream social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, but with a twist. Because these platforms feature the integration of engaging gamification elements powered by blockchain technology. This emerging niche can be seen as an exciting extension of blockchain gaming, seamlessly merging entertainment with social interaction in the digital space.

Top Gaming Blockchains of May 2023

In the ever-evolving gaming chain landscape, WAX continues to be the leading platform, attracting over 336,000 daily UAW in April. However, competition is heating up, with the BNB Chain recently making a mark as the second-largest gaming chain by daily UAW, boasting more than 79,015. Polygon is not far behind with 76,859 daily UAW. The Hive gaming chain sits in fourth place with 64,044 daily UAW, while EOS trails with 23,204 UAW.

It’s safe to say that the blockchain gaming industry is not just surviving but pointing towards a promising future.

2. Sui and Intella X add most games in May

The Web3 gaming sector continues to evolve with the introduction of new blockchains like Sui and Intella X. The Sui blockchain, a product of Mysten Labs, and Intella X, a Polygon-based platform, have recently introduced new games into their ecosystem, thereby contributing to the growth of blockchain gaming.

Launched on 3 May 2023, the Sui blockchain has already made significant inroads into the gaming industry. This is evident in the fact that of the 58 new games added to the Big Blockchain Game List in May, 14 are currently live, with 11 of these announced for the Sui blockchain.

This is no small feat for the new player, which is now competing with other established networks such as Polygon, Immutable, Avalanche, and Solana. Its initial success indicates a promising future for the Sui blockchain and the potential it has to revolutionize the Web3 gaming sector.

On the other hand, Intella X, a gaming platform developed by South Korean game publisher Neowiz, is gaining traction in the blockchain gaming industry. Nine games were announced for Intella X in May, a significant number considering the platform runs on top of Polygon.

The inclusion of games like Cats & Soup, A.V.A, Brave Nine, Crypto Gold Impact, EOS Gold, ERCC, House of Blackjack, House of Slots, and House of Poker makes Intella X a formidable player in the world of blockchain gaming.

An impressive addition to the Big Blockchain Game List this month was five new blockchains: Conflux, home to Placewar; Nautilus, home to ZuraVerse; K STADIUM, home to Xeno Dragon; Ternoa, home to Rock Crawling; and, as already mentioned, Intella X.

The addition of these new blockchains to the list showcases the growing trend of Layer-2 (L2) chains in the blockchain gaming sector. As of now, the list comprises 86 active blockchains, a testament to the rapid growth and development of the industry.

However, it is worth noting that not all blockchain projects were successful in May. Three projects were discontinued: MechaFightClub on Solana, Kingdom Hunter on Wemix, and Axes Metaverse on BNB. Despite this, the growth of the blockchain gaming industry remains exponential, with new blockchains like Sui and Intella X leading the way.

3. May’s blockchain gaming leaders

The blockchain gaming industry continued its upward trajectory as the top 10 games showcased outstanding performance, new players entered the ranks this month and introduced innovative updates to attract even more players. 

Top Web3 Games in May

Maintaining its dominance as the most played on-chain game, Alien Worlds topped the chart with over 410,000 monthly unique active wallets (mUAW). The game’s success is anchored in its innovative gameplay, intriguing tokenomics, and expansive universe for players to explore. Moreover, May saw Alien Worlds expand with Season 2 of the Galactic Hubs Grant Program, further cementing its fan-favorite status.

Climbing swiftly to the second spot, we find the parkour game Hippo Dash made by Gameta, making an impressive debut. Gameta’s focus on bridging the gap between Web2 users and Web3 through its multi-layered NFT gaming network has undeniably paid off. Within a week of its public beta launch on 22 May, Hippo Dash garnered over 50k pre-registrations, ending the month with a spectacular count of over 150k mUAW. The game also boasts over 50k downloads on Google Play, marking its entry with a strong footprint.

Marking its 5th year anniversary, Splinterlands fell slightly from the second to the third position, with over 134,000 mUAW. That’s a minor 3.95% decrease from last month. To celebrate the anniversary, the game hosted a token burning event titled ‘The Great Burning’, giving players a chance to burn DEC tokens and earn rewards, proving that even with age, it continues to engage and evolve.

Flow games made a powerful return to the top 10 rankings this month with Carrom Blitz and Trickshot Blitz. Carrom Blitz emerged as the star player, displaying a remarkable 412% increase from last month, while Trickshot Blitz followed suit with a 48% increase, marking a promising upward trend for games built on Flow.

Another notable entry to the rankings is SuperWalk, a move-to-earn (M2E) game on Klaytn that bridges the real world to the metaverse with NFT shoes. This game invites players to exercise, upgrade shoes, and build a community. With an extraordinary 3,362% increase in its UAW this month, reaching over 75K mUAW.

From established favorites to rising stars, these blockchain games continue to reshape the gaming industry, one player at a time. 

4. Illuvium’s Overworld and Illuvium Zero: ushering in a new wave of blockchain games

Blockchain gaming has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of high-quality games that satisfy its demanding audience. Developers have long been working towards this goal, hoping to secure mainstream adoption and set new standards in the industry. The latest entrant in this space, Illuvium, is a perfect embodiment of this vision, focusing on creating a rich gaming experience, bolstered by a recent $10M funding injection from Framework Ventures.

Launched in May, Illuvium’s second round of the Overworld private beta is a testament to its commitment to continuous development and innovation. This update introduces new zones, Illuvials, and exciting new means of navigation.

The Illuvium Overworld is an open-world RPG game where players engage in resource gathering, item crafting, and Illuvial capturing. This beta release significantly expands the game world, introducing the Abyssal Basin and the Brightland Steppes, two vibrant zones teeming with bioluminescent beauty and bubble rides that offer players exhilarating, airborne experiences.

Moreover, the new beta also introduces fresh movement capabilities. Players can now glide and fly across the landscape with the addition of a wingsuit and friction board, a surfboard-esque gadget designed for hill and slope traversal.

Following on the heels of Overworld, Illuvium Zero started Season One of its Alpha test on 27 May, marking the introduction of the first play-to-earn opportunities. Illuvium Zero focuses on base building, resource extraction, and blueprint creation. It provides players the chance to discover Illuvial biodata and blueprints, which they can mint for future use in Illuvium Overworld.

Illuvium Zero’s Alpha 2.0 represents the beginning of Season One gameplay. All previous game data has been wiped, offering a fresh start to players who must rebuild their bases from scratch. Notably, this season marks the first occasion where players can find and mint blueprints, adding an extra layer of excitement to the game.

On the heels of these developments, Illuvium announced a noteworthy partnership with renowned video game retailer, GameStop. This alliance has fostered the creation of a unique 20,000-strong NFT collection, known as “Illuvitars,” set to debut on 12 June.

Source: Twitter

These “Illuvitars” are more than mere digital assets; they are dynamic, collectable pieces of art, each representing a specific avatar of an Illuvial with a unique expression. In-game, each Illuvitar possesses a power rating determined by its rarity, creating a competitive element as players vie to climb the leaderboard.

With Illuvium’s relentless innovation and commitment to providing a high-quality gaming experience, the future of blockchain gaming seems brighter than ever. Illuvium is crafting the roadmap for others to follow, demonstrating how to harness the power of blockchain technology to create immersive, rewarding, and fun gaming experiences.

5. The rise of Web3 iOS games: defying the odds

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving realm of mobile gaming, a new phenomenon has emerged that’s steadily capturing the world’s attention – Web3 iOS games. Despite the historical resistance of Apple towards NFTs, these decentralized, blockchain-based games are gaining significant traction on the iOS platform, defying expectations and breaking new grounds.

Mobile gaming is a colossal force in the entertainment industry, having raked in more than $89 billion in revenue in 2021 with over 2 billion active players. A significant chunk of this market – a staggering 58% to be precise – is dominated by iOS games, bringing in an impressive $52.3 billion in revenue. Given these figures, Web3 games are not merely making a splash in the iOS AppStore, but they’re charging headfirst into the most lucrative segment of the gaming industry.

Several Web3 games have already established their popularity on the AppStore. 

One of the forerunners in the Web3 gaming scene on iOS is NFL Rivals, an arcade-style football game developed by Mythical Games. The studio also made the popular Web3 game, Blankos Block Party. In NFT Rivals users can navigate through a football season, accumulating and upgrading individual player cards.

A unique feature of NFL Rivals is the integration of NFTs representing players on a user’s team. These can be traded for MYTH, the governance token of the Mythos Foundation DAO, on the Mythical Marketplace. Though transactions aren’t conducted in-app, this subtle introduction of Web3 elements has positioned NFL Rivals as a significant player in the Web3 gaming ecosystem. Released in April, NFL Rivals already tops the sports gaming charts in the United States.

Cross The Ages, an Immutable X-based trading card game, is another iOS Web3 game that’s gaining momentum. Players build decks to battle and compete for rare NFT prizes, with each card represented by an NFT that can be traded on Immutable Marketplace. The game’s non-custodial trading mechanism aligns well with the decentralized ethos of Web3, contributing to its escalating popularity globally.

Cross The ages stats

Of course we can’t talk about the success of Web3 games, without mentioning Axie Infinity. This battle strategy game was a dominant figure in the 2021 Web3 bull-market, and the team recently launched its new app Axie Infinity: Origins on iOS. With this move, Axie Infinity has set a milestone as it allows players to utilize their Axie NFTs within the app – a feature not previously permitted by Apple.

Axie Infinity Dapp Stats

The notable successes of NFL Rivals, Cross The Ages, and Axie Infinity demonstrate that Web3 mobile games can indeed thrive on iOS. By adeptly navigating Apple’s constraints, these games have crafted experiences that retain the engagement of Web2 gamers while incorporating the asset ownership enabled by Web3 NFTs.

These groundbreaking developments might even catalyze a more NFT-friendly policy from Apple, potentially triggering a boom in Web3 mobile game development. Signs of this impending surge are already visible, with the card game God’s Unchained on Immutable X planning iOS and Android launches later this year.

While regulatory challenges might emerge, with the SEC alleging several gaming tokens as securities, the Web3 mobile gaming wave on iOS is here and poised to grow. In the intersecting worlds of crypto and gaming, it seems that the most lucrative gaming market is gradually succumbing to the irresistible pull of blockchain and decentralized finance.

The mobile app stores hold the power to unlock the long-awaited era of web3 mass adoption, seamlessly connecting countless web2 users to web3 and propelling blockchain integration among a vast community of gamers. This transformative shift addresses the absence of gamers within the web3 realm, heralding a new frontier of possibilities.

Fabrizio La Vita, DappRadar’s Gaming Partnership Manager

6. $476 million poured into Web3 gaming projects

May 2023 has marked another high-impact month for investments in blockchain gaming and metaverse, signaling a strong trajectory for Web3 gaming this year. Investors have continued to show their steadfast support, with a staggering $476 million raised for the gaming industry, bringing the total raised this year to an impressive $1.6 billion.

Investments in Web3 gaming projects

Despite the fervor surrounding memecoins, the spotlight has increasingly shifted towards the gaming landscape, particularly within Asia. It comes as no surprise, given the recent developments in the region, that have catalyzed the sector’s growth.

In the midst of this booming trend, Beijing’s municipal government unveiled a white paper aimed at promoting innovation and boosting the Web3 industry, asserting that Web3 is an “inevitable trend for future internet industry development.” This initiative further stoked the fire of this revolutionary sector’s growth.

Complementing Beijing’s vision, Hong Kong unveiled new crypto regulations set to go live on 1 June, granting retail investors the ability to trade digital assets and strengthening the investment opportunities in the Web3 space.

Japan has also joined the race, having approved a Web3 whitepaper earlier in April. The goal is to foster industry growth and ensure the country stays competitive in the rapidly evolving Web3 landscape.

Where are the web3 gaming investments going

In line with these transformative shifts, significant investments have emerged from the Asian gaming landscape. The Hong Kong-based venture capital firm CMCC Global is leading the charge, and launched a $100 million fund for blockchain projects. This fund stands as a testament to the confidence in Web3’s potential for investment and growth.

In a similar vein, the Henan Cultural Tourism Investment Group established a private fund of 150 million yuan ($21.7 million) to channel into metaverse projects. This move aligns with a strategic plan published by the Henan government last October, aiming to expand the province’s metaverse industry to a whopping 30 billion yuan (~$440 million) by 2025.

This ambitious vision isn’t isolated. Last year, Shanghai unveiled a metaverse strategy aimed at generating $300 billion in wealth for the city, reinforcing the massive potential seen in the Web3 sector.

Following the Asian trend, Diagram, a global player, announced the successful raise of over $100 million for its latest fund, Diagram Ventures III L.P. (“DVLP III”). Exceeding its initial target, the fund is dedicated to partnering with entrepreneurs to quickly validate, launch, and scale technology companies in the fintech and Web3 sectors.

As these developments unfold, the upswing in Web3 gaming investments in May 2023 marks an exciting era for the industry. The unwavering commitment to blockchain gaming and metaverse expansion, particularly within the Asian market, signals a promising future for the Web3 industry, offering a new frontier for investors and gamers alike.

7. Virtual Worlds continue to struggle

During May 2023, virtual world dapps witnessed a substantial decline in trading volume, which plummeted by 76%, reaching a total of $9.7 million. Furthermore, land sales experienced a decline of 30%, with a total of 11,270 plots sold.

Virtual World Trading volume and sales count

This downturn can be attributed to a shift in user attention towards other trends, namely mememania and DeFi services. The increasing popularity of these alternative options has temporarily diverted users away from virtual worlds, resulting in a notable decrease in trading activities. While virtual worlds have played a significant role in the past, users are now exploring different avenues within the blockchain ecosystem.

It is worth noting that the metaverse, once a hot investment trend, has lost some of its allure among investors. Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a new and captivating investment avenue, capturing the attention that was previously directed towards the metaverse. 

Despite the current challenges faced by the virtual world industry, the integration of generative AI tools holds promise for the metaverse. Innovations like ChatGPT and other generative AI solutions are facilitating the rapid creation of virtual worlds and avatars. This advancement allows developers to design immersive experiences at an accelerated pace, potentially reigniting interest in virtual worlds.

A prominent example of generative AI’s impact can be seen in top game maker Activision Blizzard, which has already begun utilizing AI to expedite game design and development processes. By leveraging generative AI, Activision Blizzard aims to enhance efficiency and create captivating virtual experiences for players. The adoption of such technologies signals a positive trajectory for the future of virtual worlds.

In the coming weeks, we will be launching a comprehensive metaverse report that delves into the intricacies of this industry. Our report will closely analyze prominent virtual world projects, shedding light on their potential, challenges, and future prospects. By examining the evolving landscape of the metaverse, we aim to provide valuable insights for our dapp users.

8. Conclusion

Despite persisting regulatory hurdles, investor optimism in the blockchain gaming sector remains steadfast. With a whopping $476 million invested in the industry, the transformative potential of blockchain gaming is now resonating even with the historically resistant iOS AppStore.

The advent of new blockchain technologies is creating a competitive landscape, prompting conventional gaming entities to embrace the transformative possibilities of Web3. Innovations now allow gaming studios to onboard novices, circumventing the need to grasp the intricate technicalities of Web3. Mobile gaming, notably within the burgeoning Asian market, will likely be a significant driver towards mass adoption.

On-chain gaming activity in May showcased a resilient sector, experiencing a 6% surge in daily Unique Active Wallets (UAW). Despite a dip to a record low since July 2021, games still retain a considerable 36% share of monitored on-chain activity.

While WAX remains the frontrunner among gaming chains, the rise of alternatives such as BNB Chain and Polygon indicates a burgeoning competition. The industry also welcomes new players, as shown by Hippo Dash’s remarkable entry, gathering over 150k monthly UAW within just a week of its beta launch.

The Sui blockchain and Intella X have been influential in industry growth, responsible for 34% of new games unveiled during the month. Despite previous roadblocks from Apple, Web3 games like Axie Infinity and Cross The Ages have found a flourishing platform in iOS.

Nonetheless, the sector isn’t without challenges. Virtual world dapps, for instance, faced a steep 76% drop in trading volume and a 30% fall in land sales over the month.

In sum, despite impending competition and potential economic headwinds, the future of the on-chain gaming industry looks buoyant. Ongoing innovation, strategic partnerships, and robust investments promise to fuel the industry’s growth and bolster its market position.

Share this post on social media

Share this Article

Related articles

Related articles

Blockchain Gaming Resilience: $421M Investment Amid Meme Token Hype

DappRadar x BGA Games Report #14
Blockchain gaming report DappRadar x BGA April.