Axie Infinity has had a wild few years, rising to prominence from obscurity, putting Web3 games on the map, popularizing Play-to-Earn, having its Ronin bridge hacked, coming under fire for hurting developing nations, and so on. The big news to end 2022 from Axie Infinity is that the game’s app has finally passed the Google Play Store Review.
We’re thrilled to share that we passed Google Play Store review! We’ve worked closely with the Play Store over the past year, sharing our learnings as the leading web3 game developer. This culminated in Origins passing a completely transparent review process – we believe it to be the first web3 game to do so.
— The Lunacian announcement
Axie Infinity: Origins will initially launch on the Malaysian Google Play Store as the developers trial the app, gather feedback, and test the water of a mobile client. The team will then look to roll the app out in other regions, including Europe, North and South America, and East Asia.
So, what are the “caveats”? Well, the app will have limited functionality, with the most notable alteration being that “players will not be able to earn tokens, in compliance with current Play Store policies.” This is a major concession for the Axie team to make and given that Play-to-Earn in the game is what secured it the large and diverse playerbase, this presents a problem.
Mobile Web3 gaming is a topic we have discussed a lot at Token Gamer, whether it’s the top 5 mobile blockchain games in development or why the mobile market is untapped so far in the space. Many doubted mobile gaming would ever achieve any real following, only for it to garner a playerbase that would eclipse all other platforms combined. The issue is the gatekeepers.
Google is the far lesser evil in this regard, with Apple’s App Store tremendously difficult to get onto. Trust us on this, we have first-hand experience as we spent months attempting to get the Token Gamer app onto the Apple App Store, despite not selling or interacting with NFTs directly. Now, in the defense of Google and Apple, the crypto space as a whole has proven difficult and dangerous for users, whether it’s indie games that pull the rug or gargantuan exchanges headed by criminals. Nevertheless, if Apple and Google would like to avoid a third-party coming and taking over Web3 mobile app distribution, they will have to work with the industry.
As for Axie, this news is conflicting. It’s a great first step and many of the most successful blockchain games so far are perfectly suited for mobile gaming, Axie being one of them. Nevertheless, the removal of any earning capacity does remove one of the game’s primary dimensions, however difficult it might be to earn in a blockchain game at present.
What do you make of this news? Let us know on Twitter.