Axie Infinity is one of — if not the — most recognizable games in Web3 after popularizing the concept of Play-to-Earn in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022. However, as the markets nose-dived, so did Play-to-Earn, and by extension, Axie Infinity saw a huge hit in all metrics. So, why has 2023 started with a sharp ascent?
The problem with Play-to-Earn(P2E) as a genre of gaming has been its intrinsic link to the crypto market at large. Although it could conceivably be overcome, it hasn’t been and so as Terra Luna, 3AC, and FTX detonated the crypto market, P2E cascaded to the ground with it. The heart-warming stories of people in developing nations putting food on their tables during the troubles of Covid dried up, replaced with accusations of P2E games actively hurting the very same nations. (We dedicated an episode of the Mint One podcast to this discussion which you can see below.)
Well, the markets have seen a slight uptick in the last few weeks (nobody say “bull run”!), but Axie Infinity has seen something rather special in the last 30 days. In fact, the spike has been significant:
Unique Active Wallets: 8.56k
Number of Transactions: 29.74k
Trading Volume: $550.26k
Unique Active Wallets: 17.98k (+110%)
Number of Transactions: 75.89k (+155%)
Trading Volume: $15.16m (+2,655%)
In 30 days, Axie Infinity’s trading volume has risen 2,655%, the number of transactions has increased by 155%, and the number of UAWs has increased by 110%, according to DappRadar.
There are some caveats worth making here. Firstly, Axie Infinity is said to be down 85% from its peak, so even a sharp uptick like this isn’t recapturing a large portion of lost players and interest. Secondly, the number of active players is difficult to gauge. UAWs is a poor but easy way to garner a rough indication of playerbase, but Axie Infinity has always been tricky to calculate. One resource claims that Axie Infinity had 2.7 million active players this time last year, down to between 400k and 500k now. These numbers are likely far closer to accurate than 18k, but the uptick seen in the three above metrics is not reflected in Activeplayer.io’s statistics.
I was tempted to omit the UAW stats and I haven’t led with that information as it isn’t all that reliable or interesting. Trading volume is typically indicative of general interest, as is the number of transactions, and they have increased considerably.
Is this Axie Infinity’s resurgence? Is Play-to-Earn rising from the ashes? Maybe to the former, almost certainly not to the latter. But, this is crypto, where people make predictions and the market laughs.