The second of this four-part series breaks down the extensive CoinMarketcap and Naavik 2022 Blockchain Gaming Report, looking at the decline of current play-to-earn games.
of this four-part series covered the mass adoption of blockchain games mentioned in the CoinMarketCap and Naavik Blockchain Gaming Report
. Part 2 looks at how the speculation bubble in play-to-earn
games is popping.
This section started with the unraveling of play-to-earn games’ token valuations since the start of 2022:
With the exception of STEPN
, which was released in March, prominent games like Axie Infinity
are down more than 80% from their all-time highs
. Besides the dwindling market capitalization, user numbers are decreasing as well. Axie Infinity's daily active users (DAUs) peaked in November 2021, before undergoing a steep fall:
STEPN’s active users:
Both have seen a meteoric rise and an equally steep fall in user interest.
The same has happened to trade volumes. The monthly traded volume of AXS is down over 95%, as is STEPN's count of monthly shoes/sneakers minted. Sales of virtual land NFTs in Yuga Labs’ Otherside, The Sandbox and Decentraland have also seen a similar collapse in interest.
The first-era blockchain games were defined by CryptoKitties, released in 2017, which showed the potential of player ownership through NFTs, but lacked playability due to the limitations of the Ethereum network.
The second generation was defined by Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity — but the play-to-earn model had a flawed economic design. However, this second era of blockchain games built on top of the first by utilizing scalability solutions to produce playable games. However, the focus on sustainable yield earning over fun ultimately led to the demise of these play-to-earn games.
More importantly, the report highlighted:
“The next era of crypto games, to (over)simplify, will build off of the previous two eras — using various scalability solutions and sidestepping the most significant economic flaws while prioritizing fun”
Below are three case studies
of projects taking the right approach, according to Naavik
has been announcing a new profile picture project, pre-sales for a new card set, the release of a new podcast, developing two new games, and hosting its first-ever Splinterfest convention. The team is developing its ecosystem at a rapid pace, while delivering long-term utility to its community.
For example, the new card set was sold for the governance token, SPS, instead of the utility token, DEC, and profits went to the DAO instead of the company. Splinterlands is doing well by accruing value to the token holders instead of the developers, and evidently its token price
has not suffered a significant drawdown compared to the other P2E projects.
Sorare is an Ethereum-based fantasy sports game, which according to the report, “has a sustainable and arguably very profitable model, which is still rare among blockchain games.” While fantasy sports has been around for a long time, Sorare managed to raise a substantial amount, closing a $680M Series B round led by Softbank in September 2021, at a $4.3B valuation.
Unlike rivals like NBA Top Shot, Sorare is a full-fledged fantasy game. It boasts 500,000 users and 150,000 on-chain card holders, with 30,000 of them transacting monthly. Thanks to its free-to-play model (with the ability to buy or win better cards), Sorare has been able to attract significant interest to its product.
That has allowed the company to build out its staff to 170 employees and 50 job openings, with collaborations with the NBA and the PGA Tour coming.
Dark Forest, a massive multiplayer strategy game, explores the zero-knowledge proof
technology that is to power the next generation of Ethereum scaling solutions. Primarily, the technical achievements of this game stands out — it runs completely on-chain and utilizes secret information that is central to the zero-knowledge approach
This has a real impact on its gameplay: the "fog of war" that is central to its strategy-focused play is real in Dark Forest. Players can make moves that are verified on the blockchain but remain hidden from their opponents. This is through the implementation of zk-SNARKs, one of the first in blockchain games.
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