Blockchain Gaming Engagement and Funding Steady Amid Crypto Bear Market

4 min readJun 17, 2022


UpOnly Research #15: Increased user engagement spurs venture capital backing for blockchain gaming titles

Talks of a crypto bear market and potential winter are turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bitcoin is barely holding above $20,000, while nearly all top cryptocurrencies are trading around 80% below their previous highs. This week saw more layoffs at leading companies, notably Coinbase and BlockFi.

This week’s UpOnly | Research reviews the state of player engagement in GameFi, and covers the biggest fundraising news involving Web3 gaming startups. Interestingly, the GameFi space has outperformed despite the drop and continues to attract investors. The continued injection of capital into the space demonstrates its immense potential and inevitably sets the tone for startups to do more than just survive any potential crypto winter.

Active monthly play-to-earn user base stays above three million

The play-to-earn space is becoming less correlated to the broader crypto market amid the recent downturn. While the price of in-game assets is in tandem with the other NFTs, industry games continue to see increased engagement levels.

Public data reveals that the top 10 play-to-earn games attracted over three million players in the past 30 days. The top two games, Alien Worlds and Axie Infinity, boast a combined active user base of nearly 1.5 million players during this period.

Axie Infinity may have lost several users in the past few months. However, the game remains a preferred option, attracting 700,000 players in the past 30 days. The current figure is still significantly higher than the 50,000 monthly active users Axie Infinity reported in September 2020 (less than two years ago).

Other fast-rising gaming titles such as Nakamoto Games are also seeing remarkable growth, surpassing the 100,000 registered user milestone in recent weeks. Continued player engagement with blockchain games amid a potential crypto winter defies popular arguments that players are merely playing for financial rewards. Active user engagement also fuels investor interest in backing upcoming blockchain gaming startups.

Felix Capital raises $600 million to invest in Web3

Felix Capital, a London-based venture capital firm targeting creative startups and investors, announced the completion of a $600 million fundraising this week. The fresh capital will, among other niches, invest in the Web3 and blockchain ecosystem.

Felix Capital already has NFT gaming startup Sorare on its portfolio. Sorare’s fantasy game has gained significant traction since launching in 2019, attracting over 1 million registered users, with 270,000 monthly active users. Sorare’s success and the massive consumer interest in NFTs make it increasingly likely that Felix Capital deploys more capital into the NFT gaming space.

Per the official announcement, the firm plans to grow its exposure to “Web3, a new platform for creativity, community, and of course entrepreneurship.” The firm also noted the growing urgency among consumers to “live a more sustainable lifestyle,” a theme consistent with the move-to-earn industry.

Playful Studios raises $46M to launch Web3 game

Playful Studios, maker of popular gaming titles Words with Friends and Lucky’s Tale, is launching a Web3 game dubbed Wildcard. The game is initially being developed with $46 million funding raised by Playful Studios subsidiary Wildcard Alliance. The funding round was led by Paradigm, with participation from Griffin Gaming Partners and Sabrina Hahn.

The new division is being led by PlayStudios co-founder Paul Bettner, a veteran renowned for building several mainstream games, including Age of Empires, that boasts over one million monthly players. Bettner has become a firm believer in Web3’s potential and admits the space presents a “tremendous opportunity to build entertainment that can include, empower and onboard millions of new players.”

PlayStudios’ decision to launch a Web3 division when other game developers remain skeptical lends credence to the industry’s immense potential. It is likely a matter of when, and not if, many mainstream gaming companies eventually pivot to creating blockchain-based titles. When that time does arrive, early play-to-earn investors and believers will likely reap massive rewards.

UpOnly’s week in review

About UpOnly

UpOnly is a first-of-kind data directory that provides insightful and actionable data on the move-to-earn, play-to-earn, and Metaverse gaming fields. We aim to become a one-stop shop for gamers worldwide to identify the most lucrative play-to-earn opportunities and optimize their performance. Alongside our data directory, we will launch a decentralized prediction platform that will allow anyone globally to bet on the outcome of play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming events.




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