The emergence of play-to-earn games has put NFT sales on steroids in 2021 with the total value topping $1.2 billion in July alone. The uptick is remarkable as it came after NFTs appeared to soften on the heels of a rousing first-quarter start. NFT volumes touched $2.5 billion cumulative sales volume in the Jan-Mar and Apr-Jun quarters of 2021.
Data major DappRadar estimates the NFT collectibles growth in July at a whopping 300% over the previous month. No need to sweat over the cracking growth stats as it correlates with the rise in popularity of a clutch of play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and Cryptopunks even as the NFT collectibles bellwether CryptoKitties continues to lead. Will the NFTs revival continue in 2021?
The play-to-earn genre of games allows users to grow income in the shape of tokens. They are earned as rewards for carrying out various tasks in the games or achieving different levels. In Axie Infinity the players have to manage digital pets called Axies. Rewards are earned by activities like farming, breeding pets, adventures, and trading digital pets. Apart from Axie Infinity, there are other games that are continuing robust growth. They include CryptoKitties, Upland, and Splinterlands.
However, Axies have been by far the most impressive, recording 810% growth in DUAWs (daily unique average wallets), a measure of the volume of blockchain transactions. Peer-to-peer transactions have been the strength of Axie Infinity with multiple NFT sales of above $100,000 of the rarest Mystic Axies. While the more popular crypto games demand an upfront entry fee, several games that require no upfront pay have also come up making space for novices alongside veterans.
The rise in NFT valuations across the board has much to do with the growth of Axies NFTs over the recent months. Axies NFT collectibles became the most valuable collection ever in July going past NBA Top Shot that sells digitized experiences in terms of magic moments of NBA games. Axies trading volume has touched $830 million this year including $600 million in July. AXS, the governance token of Axie Infinity, is also performing well this year with a price surge of 431% rise in a month and 7,089% this year so far.
The emergence of BSC (Binance Smart Chain) as a rival to Ethereum in blockchain gaming has also helped push up the volumes. BSC has become the most used network in crypto gaming recording in July over 658,000 unique users. This compares well with Ethereum’s 336,000 and WAX’s 105,000 unique users during that month. Play-to-earn game CryptoBlades based on BSC standard has positioned itself as the decentralized application used most only behind PancakeSwap decentralized exchange.
CryptBlades generated more than $90 million in gaming revenue clocking above 50 million transactions in a few days.
The confluence of many defining attributes of blockchain makes NFT games eminently acceptable to gamers. Among them are the blockchain’s fast and easy secure fund transfer feature, motivation of ready monetization avenues, and the transparency of decentralized ledger that allows for easy authentication of the collectibles’ rarity. Rarity ensures value.
Following the paradigm shift in gaming with the entry of the play-to-earn genre, the prediction must be that blockchain gaming is here to stay and revolutionize the crypto world. The Covid-19 pandemic’s travel restrictions may have also contributed to the crypto gaming boom.
“With trading volumes rising, gaming collectibles have become the stars of the crypto world,” according to Dragos Dunica, DappRadar co-founder. “Games-related pages saw an eightfold increase in views in July alone,” he adds. The unique active wallets DappRadar tracks in all the games doubled to about 740,000. “As the dive into the metaverse deepens, crypto gaming is priming for meteoric growth,” NFTs promise to be a big part of the future of blockchains, be it art, experience collectibles, or games. They are here for the long haul.