Social web3 MMO, Pixels, made the bold move over to Ronin in September. This turned into something of a masterstroke from Ronin with the UAWs (Unique Active Wallets) rocketing in the past 30 days. But, if you take a deeper look into the analytics, there is even more information to be gleaned.
Ronin and Its Emerging Game Empire
Sky Mavis announced in March that it wanted to bring external games to Ronin, and on that charge, it has done well, not only with Pixels, but The Machines Arena too. Axie Infinity is, of course, what propelled Ronin to the heights it is, but with Play-to-Earn almost belly-up (and I don’t see it coming back in anywhere near the form it was), Axie Infinity represented a risk; no longer could Ronin have that as its sole gaming project if it wanted to progress, at least not without major investment.
So, the idea to bring external games onto the network is undoubtedly the right one, The Machines Arena is a strong project, and although Ronin is still light on games, it’s making headway.
The crowning jewel of the expansion is, however, Pixels, and it’s not even close.
Pixels: The Story Behind the Stats
Since we covered Pixels‘ move to the Ronin Network, I’ve both tried the game and kept a close eye on its progress. It has been on the ascent, but in the past 7 days, it has gone parabolic. This has caught the eye of lots of crypto media and so I thought I’d take a look at the stats beneath the stats.
As we know, UAWs is a broad and misleading metric. The first mistake many outlets have already made — and will continue to make — is that UAWs equals DAUs (Daily Active Users); It never does. Many players will have multiple wallets — particularly if it’s free-to-play as Pixels is. Similarly, a wallet interacting with a game does not indicate the user is playing the game, so the daily UAWs shouldn’t be painted as the game’s playerbase either.
The Stats Behind the Stat
The first thing to note is that Pixels is seeing success and that can’t — and shouldn’t — be taken away from the project. High five to the developers behind the game and Ronin for picking a winner. That said, “over 100,000 UAWs” is rarely the whole story and fortunately, I have access to tools that can break it down further.
First up, the major concern with huge UAW numbers on a free-to-play game is not an issue here: it isn’t bot-based stat padding. Many web3 games have seen this issue and some, like Splinterlands, have even actively purged the bots from their reported numbers. So, the salient point here is this: those crazy numbers Pixels is seeing do not appear inflated; only around 1.1% of users are suspected bots. Excellent news.
Now, although that’s a major positive, the breakdown of users is a mixed bag as you can see in the above graph. It’s important to highlight that the numbers are strong regardless of this breakdown, but the “Inflow Only” category making up 64.34% of the UAWs is interesting. To quote DappRadar’s documentation:
Inflow only 🧑💻
Wallets that primarily receive funds. For example, users claiming earnings, rewards and other payouts.
So, Pixels has two tokens, $BERRY and $PIXEL, and $BERRY is a sort of workhorse, central to all gameplay. $BERRY is used by players to buy and sell items, resources, and so on. What’s important here is that $BERRY can be claimed as a daily reward in the game’s dashboard. So, it appears that 64.34% of the UAWs (again, this is almost definitely not 64.34% of the playerbase) are essentially logging in to collect the daily rewards and not engaging with gameplay loops.
This sounds bad and while it isn’t great — it’s a large portion of people engaging with the game hedging their bets that $BERRY will go up — this isn’t some scathing exposé. 20.32% of the dUAWs are everyday players engaging with the gameplay, not merely the daily rewards. It is also more likely that this 20.32% are closer to 1-for-1 with wallets if they’re playing the game. This means, at the last log of dUAWs, Pixels had around 21,303 “players” — that’s superb, and these are daily returning players too.
It’s true that some may see this breakdown and scoff at Pixels, but they would be wrong to do so. Pixels is recording nearly three times the number of UAWs that Ronin’s prize pig, Axie Infinity, is and it is recording around the same number as the mighty Alien Worlds which has been on the podium of web3 games for years straight. Around 20,000 daily players (which is my extremely crude estimation) is highly impressive for any game, web3 or otherwise.