Mobile-first blockchain game Axie Infinity has hit all-time highs in terms of its player base and economic volume.
Available on PC, Mac and iOS but mainly played on Android and distributed by side-loaded APK files, developer Sky Mavis has confirmed that the game now boasts over 350,000 daily active users (via Twitter).
Its marketplace for trading NFTs hosted over $170 million of trading volume in the past 30 days, which generated $11 million in net income for the game's treasury.
One interesting use of the blockchain technology is that a percentage of the game's economic activity is placed in a treasury, which is controlled by the community of token holders rather than Sky Mavis. In total, the game has now experienced $240 million of lifetime trading volume of its NFTs, placing it in third place of all blockchain NFT projects.
Axie Infinity was developed by Vietnam startup Sky Mavis. The company has raised $13 million in investment from companies ranging from Animoca Brands, Hashed and Consensys to individuals like US entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Axie Infinity launched using the Ethereum blockchain in 2018 but has recently switched to its own Ronin technology, due to the latter being cheaper and faster to use. This is one reason for the game's recent growth.
More generally, the game has built a strong community in countries ranging from the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil as it allows players to earn cryptocurrency that can then be converted to local currencies.
Labelled play-to-earn, this feature has been further reinforced by online organisations such as Yield Guild Games, which permits players to borrow the expensive in-game assets required to play, taking a cut of their earnings in return.
Three Axie NFTs are required to make a team that competes in turn-based PVP, with the winner earning an in-game currency called SLP. This can also be used to breed additional Axie characters.
The game's growing popularity has resulted in the price of the cheapest Axie NFTs rising to around $200 each, with one of its rarest (Mystic-class) approaching $50,000. This makes them one of the most expensive NFTs of any blockchain project.
Yield Guild Games recently raised $4 million to expand its mobile-focused blockchain gaming model.