Blockchain Gaming Retakes Center Stage with Metaverse and Play-to-Earn Fields

UpOnly | Research #1: Tremendous growth proves innovative blockchain-gaming companies are here to stay

When the earliest version of a blockchain-based play-to-earn game launched in 2017, little was known about what the future would hold in this segment of the crypto economy. Fast forward five years later and the world is catching on to blockchain’s potential to change the dynamics of online gaming and bring immense value to both gamers and developers worldwide.

The advancement and proliferation of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) environments has brought forth the next generation of gaming applications which can offer a highly immersive gameplay environment. Metaverse economies have the potential to deliver even more immersive experiences for gamers and have seen increased adoption in recent years.

This inaugural release of UpOnly | Research reviews how play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming applications are finally taking off. The industry currently boasts millions of users, raising high hopes for what the next decade will bring.

Play-to-earn user base sees tremendous growth

According to industry tracking site DappRadar, there were fewer than 28,000 wallets interacting with play-to-earn games at the tail end of 2020. There were a little over 30 such games available globally at the time, and many of them had a few hundred users given their focus on attracting crypto-native gamers.

However, things drastically improved amid the COVID-19 pandemic when Axie Infinity, arguably the most widely known play-to-earn game, gained traction. The Pokémon-inspired game became an unexpected source of income for many families in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines. Axie Infinity’s rise demonstrated the power of play-to-earn to the world, and saw the platform rack up 2.5 million users in less than three years.

At the time of writing, several other blockchain play-to-earn gaming creations have emerged, offering richer gameplay and immersive 3D virtual worlds popularly known as the Metaverse. It is not surprising then that the space has attracted more users and now resides closer to the threshold of mainstream adoption.

Top blockchain play-to-earn games by user count as of January 10, 2022 (Source: Statista)

Despite the impressive growth, the blockchain gaming user base is still tiny compared to traditional gaming ventures. There are an estimated 3.2 billion gamers worldwide, with in-game spending in the U.S alone crossing $60 billion in 2021. This signifies that there is a lot of room for growth if play-to-earn gaming creations can resolve challenges around less intuitive gameplay and economic sustainability. Interestingly, a lot of funding has gone into ecosystem startups in the past few years, offering glimpses of hope that the industry can resolve its challenges and continue on the path to mainstream adoption.

Play-to-earn and metaverse gaming startups raise $5 billion in 14 months

The increased adoption of play-to-earn and Metaverse games is largely buoyed by increased investments into ecosystem startups. After spending the first few years in relative obscurity, many industry leaders including Sky Mavis (developer of Axie Infinity) and Animoca Brands, have raised several hundred million dollars in the past two years.

The space attracted $4 billion worth of investments in 2021 and is already off to a flying start in 2022. According to DappRadar, ecosystem startups raised $1 billion in January 2022, with Animoca Brand’s $360 million raise being the pick of the bunch.

This week, Australia-based Immutable raised $200 million to invest in its gaming studio and a scaling technology for its existing gaming applications. There are high hopes that blockchain and Metaverse gaming projects can utilize the increased funding to raise the bar and make needed improvements to challenge their established mainstream gaming counterparts.

UpOnly’s unique role in this brave new world

The present and future potential of play-to-earn games can be fully harnessed if players and investors have access to robust application data. For instance, a traditional gamer seeking to switch to play-to-earn requires insights regarding the most profitable games to play. Existing data sources are rudimentary at best, and do not provide quality coverage of on-chain data that investors and gamers require to make informed decisions.

UpOnly bridges the gap through its premier data directory for play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming ventures. The platform will provide a comprehensive overview of analytics data curated from top play-to-earn gaming applications. The objective is to deliver highly actionable data that has the potential to boost investments into the emerging space.

UpOnly’s offering is further enhanced by a prediction platforms that allows spectators to earn income by predicting the outcome of play-to-earn gaming events, and a media outlet that provides unbiased coverage of the latest developments in the industry. UpOnly will become the go-to-resource for the fast-growing play-to-earn and Metaverse gaming community, helping onboard the first billion users to this exciting space. Get ready!

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