Pixels tops charts in first days of 2024
Normally, you’d expect the popularity of a Web3 game to have a linear relationship with its money inflows. However, the early days of 2024 have shown that this is not always the rule.
The massively multiplayer online game (MMO) Pixels crushed it on the charts this week, pulling in 123,100 unique active wallets (UAW) in the last 24 hours.
Pixels is a laid-back adventure game where you can farm, explore, own land, and flex your non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It’s an easy game where you can just wander around and stumble upon cool stuff.
However, despite the decent UAW numbers, its in-game token, BERRY, is practically pocket change at $0.0002. So, the total in-game trading volume for the period amounted to…*drumroll*
Let’s zoom in on UAW — it’s a metric that DappRadar uses to figure out how many individual crypto wallet addresses are interacting with a DApp’s smart contracts.
Basically, any transaction on the blockchain.
It’s a solid indicator, but it doesn’t catch everyone actually playing the game. Take those individuals who blew this month’s budget on New Year’s Eve and aren’t making any in-game transactions this week.
The Sweat Economy claimed second spot on its UAW, so it seems like people might be committing to those fitness resolutions.
The Sweat Economy App is simple – it rewards you for walking.
Users just have to hit that download button, start it up, and watch those sweatcoins pile up with every step.
It saw 102,600 UAW over the same period and $34,700 in-game trading volume.
Card games, however, don’t seem to be kicking off the new year with the same popularity.
The well-loved blockchain card game Splinterlands took a hit, experiencing a 40.24% drop in its UAW, seeing only 41,800 users engage in transactions.
Axie Infinity had an increase of 21.59% over the same period, with 15,900 UAW interacting with the game.
Avalanche’s head of gaming: 2 things that see games fall ‘flat on their face’
Ed Chang, the head of gaming at Ava Labs — the team behind the Avalanche blockchain — is gearing up for a big 2024 with a bunch of games he has lined up to play across the year.
He tells Magazine that while he’s enthusiastic about Web3 gaming in 2024, some titles will probably fail to launch.
“The biggest challenges will be user acquisition and the regulatory environment. So many high quality games will be coming out in the first half of the year, but if they don’t have the right marketing budget and strategy in place, they will fall flat on their face.”
User acquisition is the biggest challenge in Web3 gaming due to the difficulty of just getting started with a Web3 game, let alone getting into the groove of playing it.
Chang highlights five new releases in 2024 he’s excited about. Judging by his picks, he’s not into boxing himself into just one game genre. He’s that rare breed in the gaming world – an open-minded gamer.
Chang’s pumped about AAA first-person shooter Shrapnel. Neon Machine, the game’s developers, recently raised $20 million in funding for its development, positioning it as a potential blockchain-based competitor to Call of Duty.
Two other games in the battle genre that Chang is also excited about are the third-person shooter Gunzilla and the sci-fi survival game Providence.
Meanwhile, NFT racing game Trial Xtreme, play-to-earn horse racing game Pegaxy, and play-to-own ARPG Fableborne are also among his picks.
Looking back at 2023, Chang’s had a few favorites, including 5v5 character-based FPS Valorant and top-down shooter game Megaweapon.
For those seeking a new game to play while traveling, Chang recommends the action-adventure game Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
“It kept me company on many plane rides,” he says.
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Hot Take: Titan Hunters
MMORPG Titan Hunters is a play-to-earn game using BNB Smart Chain (BSC).
The main gist of the game is you are a hunter, beefing up your weapons and armor so you can go toe-to-toe with some nasty monsters.
But hey, if grinding isn’t your style and you’re more into instant gratification, just throw some crypto in, and you can get the fancy armor without having to level up.
Aside from fighting, you’re on the hunt for collectible pets known as, yep, you guessed it, Titans.
These Titans are NFTs that you can use to battle out against fellow players or team up for epic showdowns against other Titans.
When you switch to multiplayer mode, you can team up with three other players to face off against the ultimate boss — the Titan — in the arena.
While it sounds like it checks off the boxes of a game you can enjoy, honestly, it didn’t capture my interest at all.
Unlike other blockchain fighting games like Champions Arena and Cyborne, which grab your attention with both awesome graphics and gameplay, this one fell a bit short.
Primarily, the controls feel slightly clunky and awkward to navigate.
At the start, there’s a quick tutorial that lasts all of about five seconds before throwing you into the game, and I was left scratching my head, wondering what the heck I’m even supposed to do.
Now, if it were Grand Theft Auto, I could happily spend hours exploring a map. But when it’s some garden-looking thing with nothing else around, I had to turn to YouTube just to figure out the basics.
I never really bother looking for play-to-earn games just to make some crypto if the game itself isn’t fun. But with this one, the thought did cross my mind a few times.
I was kinda second-guessing if I’m even the right audience for this game, considering I’m a 27-year-old guy.
Even though I thought it was aimed at a younger crowd, checking out the white paper confirms that I’m actually in their target market, which is the 16-35 age range.
VanEck makes this year’s big Web3 gaming prediction
As we waved goodbye to 2023, asset management firm VanEck published a report titled “VanEck’s 15 Crypto Predictions for 2024.”
In the report, VanEck claims that a groundbreaking blockchain game is set to make its debut this year.
“Blockchain gaming will see at least one title surpass 1 million+ daily active users, demonstrating the long-awaited potential,” the report declares.
I don’t want to be a buzzkill, but I’m pretty sure we get this prediction every year. But hey, it wouldn’t be the Web3 industry without some overly confident forecasts.
So let’s wait and see.
Meanwhile, VanEck went all-in on Immutable, shouting out that its native token, IMX, has a good shot at hitting the top 25 crypto club in 2024.
Right now, it’s holding down the 42nd spot.
The investment giant also sings praises about how Immutable is tackling the major bummer in Web3 gaming – the lack of fun:
“Immutable has multiple AAA games building on their platform that implement token models that cannot be simply farmed and are truly fun games to play. These titles, which have been building for years and received $100m+ in funding, are being released in 2024.”
A game that is particularly being hyped ahead of its release in Q2 2024 is the mobile roguelite squad RPGGuild of Guardians.
During a recent interview on The Blockcrunch Podcast, Robbie Ferguson, co-founder of Immutable, dropped a bold statement about the ripple effect a successful Web3 game could have on the entire industry.
“The games that do succeed will deliver more volume than every other NFT collection in the world combined, they will triple the Web3 user base overnight,” Ferguson says.
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— Immutable’s Gods Unchained makes a comeback on the Epic Games Store after a brief exile. It got the boot because the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) slapped it with an Adults Only (AO) rating.
— Keywords Studios acquired UK development studio The Multiplayer Group for 76.5 million British pounds ($96.5 million).
— Planetarium Labs’ RPG Nine Chronicles recorded over 250,000 downloads on its mobile version and became #1 on Google Play.
—Medieval Empires rolls out the “MEE to Play” release, introducing additional land NFTs while allowing players to rent spaces on their land NFTs and stake their MEE tokens.
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Ciaran Lyons is an Australian crypto journalist. He’s also a standup comedian and has been a radio and TV presenter on Triple J, SBS and The Project.