2022 wasn't a great year for many of us, not least Axie Infinity, developer Sky Mavis who is hoping to turn things around in 2023 with a new approach – the implementation of an "even more aggressive" ecosystem, so said Sky Mavis co-founder Aleksander Leonard Larsen as part of a recent Bloomberg panel.
Playable on PC and mobile, the blockchain game first released in 2018 but really took off in 2021 – the year when it broke beyond one million daily active users. At the time, 67 per cent of players were accessing the game on Android despite only being available as a sideloaded APK file rather than the Google Play Store.
Ups and downs
Axie Infinity is to remain a play-to-earn game, Sky Mavis has suggested, despite a decline of nearly 80 percent in the past year regarding trading price. Co-founder Aleksander Leonard Larsen commented "We need more tokens and crazy stuff in terms of experiments."
The future of play to earn remains the subject of some scepticism however. A Newzoo report on the evolution and future of play-to-earn delves into the market and argues that the model is unsustainable. Unless in the context of a metaverse, Newzoo suggests that an in-game economy will eventually "crumble".
More than $2 billion of Axie Infinity NFTs had been traded by October 2021 and its total valuation reached $3 billion, making the monster battling game a strong example of play-to-earn’s evolution in the industry.
However, in March 2022, Sky Mavis had approximately $625 million in cryptocurrency stolen from its Ronin Network, which had been supporting its flagship blockchain title. The company later raised $150 million in capital from a round led by Binance, spending the money to reimburse players whose funds were stolen.
Trouble persisted for Sky Mavis, as on 12 May 2022 the utility currency Smooth Love Potion plummeted to $0.004. The developer struggled to ensure players that the game's ecosystems were sustainable or offered potential profitability.
In order to be competitive this year, Larsen has stated that "more tokens" will be needed and that Axie Infinity is going to be "even more aggressive" when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Last spring, Yomi Games raised $2 million on its path towards becoming the "Zynga of Crypto".