$1.3 billion were raised in Q3 by blockchain games and Metaverse projects
Despite the harsh market conditions, Web3 games continue to be a driving force for the dapp industry. In Q3, gaming activity accounted for almost half of all blockchain activity tracked by DappRadar across 50 networks, with 912,000 daily Unique Active Wallets (UAW) interacting with games’ smart contracts in September.
Alien Worlds and Splinterlands remain the two most played Web3 games, with over 160,000 daily UAW registered in September. Gameta, a gaming platform first deployed on Solana and now running on the BNB Chain, attracted over 1 million daily UAW in September.
Similarly, the Polygon-based Benji Bananas climbed the rankings during the last quarter attracting over 29,000 daily UAW in September.
The impact of blockchain games is also visible in the NFT market, where Gods Unchained cracked the top 5 collections by trading volume in September with over $18 million generated by its game assets.
Stepn, the dapp that spearheaded the move-to-earn paradigm, has cooled down after a torrid Q2. However, it is positive to see new alternatives arising from this movement. Sweat Economy, a Near-based dapp, minted a record-breaking 10,000 NFTs last month, while OliveX is working with The Sandbox to boost the fitness part of the Metaverse.
The Sandbox itself successfully launched its Alpha Season 3, with over 200,000 daily users visiting multiple experiences from renowned brands like The Walking Dead or Atari. Virtual world platforms such as Big Time and Otherside completed important milestones in their respective developments as MMORPGs look destined to onboard the next big wave of blockchain users.
Finally, even though the investments in blockchain-based games and Metaverse projects declined in Q3 ($1.3 billion) compared to Q2, the capital raised by this segment has almost doubled last year’s total. It is also worth noting that projects focused on building the Web3 Metaverse infrastructure, like Inworld AI or Hadean, have received over 36% of the quarterly investments.
To learn more about the Q3 state of the blockchain gaming sector, download and read the full report in pdf.
- The number of unique active wallets in the blockchain gaming industry increased by 8% (912K) month-over-month, and its dominance remains over 48%.
- Gameta, the new Web3 gaming platform on BNB Chain, became the most used dapp in September, surpassing PancakeSwap, with over 1.33 million unique wallets in the past 30 days.
- In September, due to a P2E gaming tournament featuring significant in-game NFTs for winners, Benji Bananas, a game produced by Animoca Brands, had a rise in unique active wallets of over 2,400% from the previous month.
- The Sandbox Alpha Season 3 has over 90 experiences, with 4 million people registered with a wallet, and over 200,000 daily active users.
- Move-to-earn projects are gaining popularity and flourishing in this bear market. Sweat Economy minted a record-breaking 10,000 NFTs on Near Protocol, StepApp will be available for iOS and Android on December 1st and, OliveX, the digital fitness company that developed Dustland, collaborated with The Sandbox to develop the fitness Metaverse.
- Blankos Block Party and Star Atlas, two online games using NFTs, became the first Web3 titles to be released on the major PC gaming marketplace Epic Games Store.
- With over $18 million in sales in September, the digital collectible card game Gods Unchained climbed into the top 5 collections by NFT trading volume.
- September’s investments were the lowest all year, only $156 million were raised by blockchain games and Metaverse-related projects. However, this month showed us that the industry never ceases to build.
- Gameta, the Web3 gaming platform, became the most used dapp in September with over 1.83M users
- Benji Bananas increased its daily unique active users in September by 2,468%
- Axie Infinity launches new products and features
- STEPN celebrates its first anniversary
- Sweat Economy demonstrates how Web2 apps can integrate Web3
- Step App debuts on iOS and Android on the 1st of December
- Genopets drops new app version
- OliveX partnerships with The Sandbox to expand the fitness Metaverse
- Blankos Block Party and Star Atlas debuted on Epic Games Store
- Atari X arrives in The Sandbox Alpha Season 3
- Esports meets Web3
Blockchain Gaming Industry Overview
In September, the blockchain gaming industry increased the average of daily Unique Active Wallets (UAW) by 8% to 912K accounting for 48% of blockchain activity, a highly positive indicator for this category.
Looking at the top six gaming protocols based on the number of UAW, Solana is the only blockchain from this group that increased its usage from the previous quarter with an impressive 269% spike (45K dUAW) from Q2 to Q3; yet, only 4.82% of gaming activity happens on Solana. The number of dUAW decreased in the other five protocols.
WAX, one of the dominant gaming protocols, had a 15% decline to 338K from Q2 to Q3, but still accounted for 36.20 % of all gaming activity. Similarly, EOS saw a loss of 14.73%from the previous quarter, while the BNB chain had a fall of just 1.98% (114K) from Q2; it now controls 12.34% of the gaming activity. Polygon, had a fall of over 20% (65K) and Hive, which experienced the highest decline of 42% (160K), still controls 17% of all gaming activity.
Apart from the aforementioned blockchains, it is worth noting the case of Flow, which has increased its gaming activity tremendously over the last quarter. Flow now reached 24,930 dUAW thanks to the casual games Solitaire Blitz and Trickshot Blitz.
A look at the Top 10 Blockchain Games
In Q3, Alien Worlds became once again the most played blockchain game with 190,770 average daily UAW, an increase of 14% from the previous quarter. Alien Worlds has consolidated its on-chain player base with around 190k daily wallets. By staking TLM, players may compete for resources, engage in commerce, and participate in planet DAOs. The shortage of resources provides the game with a minimal DeFi feature.
Splinterlands is the second most played blockchain game this quarter, with 159,522 average daily UAW, a 47% decrease from Q2. Despite undergoing several game economy changes, Splinterlands has managed to consolidate its player base. On the 16th of September, it announced its newest NFT project, Runi, which will allow users to have their first opportunity to acquire and play with a one of a kind NFT in the history of the game.
On September 22, 2022, the Runi whitelisting procedure went live, allowing users to reserve up to three Runi NFTs per wallet and earn a discount on the NFTs using VOUCHER tokens. In late October, the NFTs will be immediately accessible for purchase with ETH on OpenSea.
BNB’s Era7:Game of Truth, also experienced a major spike in activity (199%) during the third quarter, reaching 23,625 players. Element, the world’s first multi-chain aggregated NFT marketplace, established a strategic agreement with Era7 on September 23 to support the “Era7 WCT”: the first Web3 worldwide light-competition event.
According to the present plan, Era7 WCT will be conducted 6-8 times each year, with a non-stop launch every two months, and the reward amount will be specified in the token launch schedule and BUSD prize pool configuration. The entire prize fund is anticipated to exceed $5 million by 2023.
Tens of thousands of participants from 30 nations participated in this quarter’s official Era7 competition WCT. 1,296 of these players qualified for the Play-In round, while 128 proceeded to the knockout and final round. The tournament’s total prize fund was $130,000 and the winner was announced on the 1st of October.
Gameta, the Web3 gaming platform, became the most used dapp in September with over 1.83M users
Gameta is a Web3 gaming platform that was first deployed on Solana and has now migrated to BNB Chain. Following its selection for BNB Chain in the GameFi market, Gameta started its alpha test campaign on August 23. The platform currently offers seven games: Invest Master, Ants Runner, Super Gloves, Sleep Ragdoll, FrogPrince Rush, Human Tower, and Tadpole Count.
Its daily Unique Active Wallets increased by 109% in September, reaching 69K, and 253% from the previous quarter, making it the most popular decentralized application in September, exceeding even PancakeSwap.
If you want to know more about Gameta, read our guide and listen to our AMA with the game’s Director of Global Community
Benji Bananas increased its daily unique active users in September by 2,468%
Benji Bananas was first released as a mobile game in 2013. It was a simple, engaging rope-swinging mobile game that anyone could download and play for fun. In March 2022, the game’s developer, Animoca Brands, announced the later addition of play-for-earn (P2E) mechanics in the form of the Ape Coin (APE), which is linked with the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem.
If you want more details about Benji Bananas, read this article.
Built on the Ethereum blockchain and the Polygon Layer-2 sidechain, Benji Bananas in September saw the most significant growth in daily Unique Active Wallets, with a gain of 2,468% (29K). This growth was mainly driven by hosting a P2E gaming tournament, with many valuable in-game NFTs up for grabs for the victors.
Apart from Benji Bananas, another Polygon-based game with impressive growth this month, was Arc8 by GAMEE, with an 81% increase in its average dUAW. Even though the game is still 36% down from the previous quarter, Arc8 has become a mobile Web3 game with constant player activity.
Learn more about Arc8 by GAMEE with this guide.
Overall, Polygon has become an important referent of the Web3 gaming space. In September, the Ethereum sidechain performed well with a 61% increase in its gaming daily UAW, and hosts 7.43% of the entire gaming activity.
Axie Infinity launches new products and features
In Q3, the number of daily Unique Active Wallets for Axie Infinity declined by 86% compared to Q2. Even with this metric down, this quarter has been a productive one for the project. The team had their inaugural AxieCon conference in Barcelona, Spain, where they announced the introduction of new products and features tackling relevant GameFi topics including game economies, decentralization and community empowerment.
Among the announcements are accessories for Axies (the characters in Axie Infinity), the first mini-game for NFT landowners, and additional features for the upcoming Land alpha game.
Land is an ambitious multi-year project, according to Axie Infinity, that intends to push the frontiers of Web3 games and serve as a hub for the Axie Infinity digital country to play, interact, and construct. It will have numerous gaming genres, including simulation, strategy, and role-playing, as well as Metaverse aspects enabling community interaction.
While Axie Infinity’s main Land game, also known as Project K, is in production, the company has announced the release of a new mini-game that employs Land NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on October 11: Axie Infinity Raylights.
Land NFTs may be seen as primitives in the realm of Axie Infinity, similar to Axies, which can be utilized throughout an unlimited number of experiences. In Raylights, players will utilize minerals to manufacture, cultivate, and find new plants, which they can then use to beautify their land plot. As they go, they will unlock more materials and layers and amass a wider assortment of plants to display.
They also announced that “Axie Infinity: Origin” will be renamed “Axie Infinity: Origins” in order to create a more unique brand for “Origin” Axies. In addition, Season 1 started on September 14, 2022, with a total prize pool of 112,000 AXS (the Axie Infinity tokens), with the winner receiving 6,750 AXS.
Have we reached the bottom of virtual worlds?
Virtual world projects experienced a down quarter as the category’s trading volume decreased by 91.61% from the $74 million generated in Q2. On the other hand, the number of land sales decreased by 37.54% quarter-over-quarter to 52,224 showing that the hype for these types of projects hasn’t completely decreased, but might be near the bottom.
This quarter, Otherdeed for Otherside generated $54 million in sales, a decrease of 92.70% from Q2. Nonetheless, this quarter included significant events: in July, the project assembled 4,300 “Voyagers” for a first look tech presentation and tour of the world constructed by Improbable. Also, in August, Eminem and Snoop Dog performed in the Otherside Metaverse for the annual Music Video Awards. Notable is the fact that Otherside represents 73.98% of the total virtual world trading volume in the third quarter.
NFT Worlds in this quarter decreased by 80.62%, reaching $3.6 million, the lowest amount of trading volume ever recorded. This fall is driven by the Minecraft ban on the NFTs, back in July.
While most of the Metaverse projects experienced a cooldown period, The Sandbox‘s sales increased by 25.69% this month, although are still down 73.21% from the second quarter. The surge in September was driven by The Sandbox Alpha Season 3, which provided over 90 experiences including The Walking Dead, Atari, Snoop Dogg, Steve Aoki, Ubisoft’s Rabbids, and Care Bears. The Season has seen more than 4 million registered wallets and over 200,000 monthly active users.
Netvrk Land has also seen an increase of 54.16% ($173K) from the previous month but is still down 62.34% from Q2. For the first time, Netvrk Land closes the quarter below half a million, the lowest trading volume ever recorded.
Move-to-earn: The next big blockchain gaming trend?
Move-to-earn applications are growing more popular, with gamers from every imaginable background. Thousands of individuals are enticed by the motivation of reward for physical exercise, and there are enormous communities of fitness app enthusiasts worldwide.
STEPN celebrates its first anniversary
In September, STEPN celebrated its first anniversary and remains one of the most popular M2E (move-to-earn) dapps, with over 3 million accumulated monthly users and over 735,000 shoes minted. However, the game has been trapped in a downward trend since May 2022. In Q3 the monthly active user decreased by 67%, reaching 482K.
Apart from STEPN, a few dapps are climbing the M2E ranks, albeit most are still in their initial stages.
Sweat Economy demonstrates how Web2 apps can integrate Web3
The 13th of September marked the official debut of Sweat Economy on NEAR, with the largest NFT airdrop in the protocol’s history. The move-to-earn platform, operational on Web2 since 2016 with over 120 million worldwide users of their Sweatcoin app, has also released its new Web3 SWEAT token to 13.5 million token holders.
Since its launch, the app has had more than 1.3 million active users and over 1.5 million transactions.
Sweat Economy has released its Sweat Wallet, designed to be user-friendly for the many Sweatcoin users who have never interacted with a blockchain before, to facilitate the onboarding.
The Sweat Wallet is also robust enough to support token staking, NFT games, and the many other features that will comprise the economy of movement. Within 72 hours of Sweatcoin’s Token Generation Event (TGE), over 2M people downloaded and activated the Sweat Wallet app. After SWEAT’s record-breaking IDO sale on the DAO Maker platform, the Sweat Wallet app immediately became the most downloaded Finance app in 51 countries.
Step App debuts on iOS and Android on the 1st of December
Step App, a move-to-earn Metaverse project and the first decentralized application (dapp) on Step Protocol, combines gamification, Augmented Reality (AR), and economic incentives to attract first-time users into the Metaverse.
The application has not yet been released, but it was revealed through a tweet from the team that it would debut on iOS and Android on December 1. In addition to Usain Bolt, one of the greatest sprinters of all time, more than 45 million people have already pre-registered for the project, which constitutes a significant achievement.
Additionally, Step App has created a 60-day growth campaign in preparation for this launch. Namely, a promotional event that will aid in preparing for the formal launch of the product via consistent and clear communication.
Genopets drops new app version
Genopets, another Solana move-to-earn dapp that utilizes augmented reality like Pokemon Go, released a new version of their app for both Android and iOS devices in September.
Along with life and graphics improvements, this build should fix an issue many Android users have seen, where their steps aren’t always counted. The new version brings new sounds and options for volume control. Habitat owners can now also choose to show their Habitat as the Genopets background.
OliveX partnerships with The Sandbox to expand the fitness Metaverse
OliveX Metaverse has partnered with The Sandbox to establish a new space in the Metaverse and promote its brand partners Trib3, Gym Aesthetics, and Playinnovation. Through this cooperation, OliveX’s partners will be able to introduce their products to the Sandbox Metaverse.
By investing in location-based AR move-to-earn game creator DEFY, the corporation is also attempting to introduce gamification to the fitness industry.
OliveX has also invested in the Breathonics app by Silentmode Limited, which is a mental health training software featuring up to 15 minutes of personalized meditation music.
Will the Vulcan Forged ecosystem bring in the next wave of Web3 users?
Vulcan Forged is a community-driven initiative that encourages the simple and rapid production of blockchain games. Its ecosystem operates mostly on VeChain, Polygon, and BNB Chain. However, its NFTs can exist on various blockchains.
The whole Metaverse and biosphere of Vulcan are based on Greek mythology, and will soon be combined into the project’s own blockchain ecosystem, Elysium.
Vulcan Forged is much more than a simple development solution. It is also a dapp incubator with over 10 games, a community of over 125,000 people, and a crowdfunding site. In addition, it offers a DEX, an in-game NFT store, and an NFT art platform, making it the go-to location for blockchain gaming enthusiasts.
Vulcan Forged is also renowned for creating the open-world massively multiplayer online role-playing game VulcanVerse (MMORPG). It is the crowning achievement of the Vulcan environment.
In September, it secured $8 million in Series A funding led by SkyBridge Capital, an investment firm founded by former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.
The investment is intended to accelerate the expansion of “Metascapes”, a play-to-earn immersive Metaverse game that enables players to construct their own territory in the Metaverse and save that data through non-fungible tokens (NFT). The funds will also be utilized to expand Vulcan’s activities in North America and other areas.
We’ve asked the founder and CEO of Vulcan Forged, Jamie Thomson, what is the biggest issue the GameFi sector faces . He stated that
The economics of play-to-earn-experience are problematic, because ultimately these rely on the commercialization of the game experience. Those who have spent decades in the gaming business will be aware of the significant commercial potential created by strong in-game and out-of-game communities. As long as players realize their worth, monetized collectibles, avatars, and in-game experiences will always be in demand.
How many individuals are here to purchase in-game assets and play, and how many are here only to sell with the intention of making a profit? When the dynamic shifts toward the latter, the equilibrium between supply and demand fails, resulting in a market dominated by sellers adhering to the greater-fool hypothesis.
In fact, Vulcan Forged’s new game “Metascapes” will provide a greater emphasis on the game itself, allowing players to concentrate on their creativity and the prospect of generating additional value via land and NFTs.
You can watch our AMA with two of the project’s leads to learn more about the Vulcan Forged ecosystem .
Web2 Gaming Brands’ Exploration of Web3
Although it is premature to name Web3 “the future of the internet”, it represents significant advantages over Web2. Its goal is to distribute all of the internet’s resources among its users, a feature absent from Web2 because Web2’s resources are now concentrated among “tech giants.” Who could possibly argue against this? As Web3 projects increase in popularity, individuals cannot get enough of the benefits they provide.
Play-to-earn games are one of Web3’s most significant capital creators. This explains why blockchain games are so popular, and why large gaming firms are shifting their focus from Web2 to Web3 to remain competitive.
Epic Games Store, which reported more than 194 million customers late last year, has adopted a different approach to Web3 gaming than its major competitor, Valve’s Steam marketplace.
Valve said in the autumn of 2021 that developers could not publish any games on Steam that incorporated NFTs or cryptocurrencies.
In response, Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney stated that it would let other producers deploy NFT games as long as they complied with applicable laws and industry standards.
However, Epic Games expressed no intentions of developing their own NFT-powered games. Therefore we don’t expect Fortnite skins to enter the realm of non-fungible tokens.
Blankos Block Party and Star Atlas debuted on Epic Games Store
On the 15th of September, Blankos Block Party, an NFT-powered online creation game, launched on the Epic Games Store, becoming the first Web3 title published on the popular PC gaming marketplace.
The Epic Games Store version of Blankos Block Party is functionally identical to the version available on the game’s official website. Both are accessible in a stage described as “early access,” and on 28th September, the complete game with greater material launched on the two platforms.
Star Atlas, a Solana NFT game, followed in the footsteps of Blanko’s Block Party by releasing a playable demo on Epic Games Store on 29th September.
Star Atlas: Showroom is a pre-alpha showcase of the game’s underlying Unreal Engine 5 technology. It allows Star Atlas NFT owners to explore a 3D area and inspect the ships and vehicles they’ve purchased. Access is presently restricted to NFT owners, who may obtain an access key by owning a ship and joining one of Star Atlas’ factions inside the game.
In addition to releasing the first playable version of Star Atlas, the company also published a toolkit to make it simpler for other developers to bring their own Unreal Engine 5-based games on the Solana blockchain. Furthemore, they revealed changes to the game’s governance structure through a DAO and a road to complete decentralization of the game’s economy and ecosystem, as well as a forthcoming digital graphic book that sets the game’s backstory.
Atari X arrives in The Sandbox Alpha Season 3
On the 10th of September, Atari X, one of the world’s most well-known global brands and interactive entertainment producers, announced the launch of Atari Sunnyvale, a massive social and gaming experience in The Sandbox that features a dozen environments based on classic Atari games and a full game based on Crystal Castles. There are a total of 17 original Atari games featured.
Within Atari Sunnyvale, gamers will be able to explore and interact with one another alongside Atari-themed characters. Winners of various tasks and games, such as hide-and-seek, are awarded gifts.
The Crystal Castles adventure is a game in which players race around a labyrinthine castle, gathering jewels and battling foes. Crystal Castles is the first of many forthcoming games.
Atari is one of the major landholders in The Sandbox and will continue collaborating with partners over the next years to create more player-community-engaging experiences. Learn more about Atari X and the shift to Web3 in our latest article.
Esports meets Web3
On the 15th of September, Guild of Guardians (GOG), a mobile squad-based action role-playing game published by Immutable Games Studio and developed by Stepico Games, announced a multi-year agreement with eight of the world’s largest and most prestigious professional esports organizations.
Together, the partners will shape the future of Web3 gaming and digital entertainment and offer pre-registration for Guild of Guardians to the world’s greatest esports community.
Under the agreement, Cloud9, Fnatic, NAVI, Ninjas in Pyjamas, NRG, SK Gaming, T1, and Team Liquid will enter the vivid fantasy world of GOG as fully-fledged, playable characters representing their respective brands. These characters will be traded as digital collectibles on the carbon-neutral scaling solution Immutable X.
This partnership allows esports fans to support their favorite teams and players in new and meaningful ways by representing their team in-game using digital assets. With genuine digital ownership, fans can produce, own, and exchange their digital assets, as well as compete with others for rewards.
According to Forbes, five of GOG’s partner companies are among the top 10 most valuable esports teams in 2022, and the aggregate value of the eight participants is approximately $2 billion USD.
$1.3 billion were raised in Q3 by blockchain games and Metaverse projects
Following the trend witnessed throughout the year, partnerships and investments in blockchain gaming kept coming with another $156 million raised in September.
During the third quarter, investors poured $1.3 billion into the blockchain gaming business, a decrease of 48% from the second quarter.
Nonetheless, even if this quarter had the lowest level of investments, it demonstrated that the sector never stops expanding and that new major players are entering the market. Hadean, a London-based deep technology startup, obtained $30 million in financing in September to develop its Metaverse infrastructure platform.
Hadean has built essential Metaverse components and struck multi-year partnerships with entertainment (Minecraft, Pixelynx, Sony, and Gamescoin), education, and business digital twin service providers. This new round of investment will accelerate Hadean’s capacity to equip producers in new and developing Metaverse marketplaces with the means to transform every element of how we work, construct, purchase, and consume.
Expectations around the total amount of investments for this year into this growing industry have been down by 8.8% to $9.25 billion, in comparison to last quarter projection.
The amount of investments demonstrates that despite the challenging and uncertain conditions in the digital asset markets, major investment entities remain bullish on the blockchain gaming industry.
Given that the crypto gaming sector is still at an early stage, a large number of games and studios are expected to see quick expansion and a subsequent decline in the near future.
The many similarities between the origins of free-to-play and blockchain gaming, however, imply that early entrants in the sector need close observation, because of the potential market growth dynamics.
We are currently at an embryonic stage with tremendous potential for expansion. While there are still a number of improvement opportunities, the industry is continually evolving and innovating.
Blockchain gaming’s future is bright, and it is on track to become the frontrunner for Web3.