GameFi has been an appealing landscape over the past year. Although the whole crypto market has been lukewarm – amid debates over whether we’re in a full-fledged bear market (and, if so, how long it will last) – its subsets have suffered losses. NFTs, GameFi and Defi have not been an exception.
It seems that ‘blue chip’ NFTs have endured, medium and small projects have suffered, and Defi is far from dead. The collapse of Terra Luna is likely to exert long-lasting ripple effects within Defi. This leaves us with GameFi, which recently witnessed a sharp fall in the number of active users and was a cause for the longevity concern among the critical audience.
Let’s delve into the current situation of GameFi and what we might anticipate in the future.
GameFi’s Decline: A Regression Or Cause For Greater Concern?
A new weekly analysis from Arcane Research shows that it was a reality check for blockchain-based games during the first two quarters of 2022. Active users of the leading Ethereum-based blockchain games, such as Axie Infinity, Decentraland and The Sandbox, have declined by almost 96% from November 2021.
The number of top Ethereum-based games users drops by nearly 96%. Source: Arcane
It seems hard to find a better illustration of the current status of the GameFi industry than Axie Infinity, the once-pioneering Play-to-Earn title in the GameFi market, whose in-game currency, Smooth Love Potion (SLP), failed this year. Earlier this month, we explained in detail how that occurred. Axie is still standing as the market leader, but builders in the space have much to learn.
The Arcane team draws some conclusions. First, slower momentum in the metaverse and NFTs have contributed to this fall in audience numbers, but the reduction in financial incentives has also contributed to this decline. GameFi must develop other channels of sustainability, which should be fueled by introducing quality items to the market.
Second, the market must focus on three key pillars: barrier of entry, token inflation, and incentives. This is a balance hard to achieve.
Axie Infinity’s Smooth Love Potion (SLP) came back to earth. Source: SLP-USD on TradingView.com
What We Know About This Market & Audience
There are still opportunities in the gaming and crypto space. According to NRG Esports, rug pulling, shilling, and bad behaviours have discouraged players from attempting NFTs. The NFT ecosystem, which still regards Ethereum as the market leader despite high gas costs, requires a streamlined onboarding procedure. Most players surveyed by NRG shared that play-to-earn would benefit the gaming ecosystem.
No matter how game developers feel about the problem, the audience is there. Should the market want it, suppliers will ultimately give it, but unless a significant P2E rival that challenges conventional publishers and developers enters the market, it may be a slow burn. Developing a video game requires blood, sweat, and many hours (not to mention capital).
Although not every “xyz-to-earn” model will survive, at least in the medium term, we can stay optimistic about play-to-earn as more structural components are considered. The inherent connections of in-game prizes in some popular games are a compelling reason why blockchain-based games have emerged as such a competitive sector.
However, broader market waves will undoubtedly impact individual game economies in the near term. In a few years, a portion of what we’ll likely consider “logical” in P2E is likely uncharted today.