Axie Infinity, the wildly popular virtual world NFT game, recently hit a series of landmarks that revealed just how successful of a force the game has become and how much more may lie ahead. The virtual world game, which features appealingly designed “pets,” or “Axies”, offers a variety of ways to earn money, from breeding to battling. Steadily building since late 2017, Axie‘s recent explosive growth is now catching attention across NFT and crypto demographics as both a business and community success.
“Axie Infinity Community!”
Axie Infinity, or Axie, for short, at first appears to be a fairly simple concept that reveals its complexity as one digs deeper. In the Axie Infinity Whitepaper, the game is described as a:
“Pokémon-inspired universe where anyone can earn tokens through skilled gameplay and contributions to the ecosystem. Players can battle, collect, raise, and build a land-based kingdom for their pets. It’s also taken on characteristics of a social network and jobs platform due to the strong community and play to earn opportunities that have come from its early success.”
The play-to-earn concept is key to Axie‘s popularity. Axie has multiple ways to earn in the game with more on the way. Just as the “play” side evolves, so too does the “earn” side.
According to its timeline, Axie Infinity‘s development began in 2017 with its first Axie presale in February of 2018. Parent company Sky Mavis was officially launched in early 2018 with headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where it is led by CEO Trung Thanh Nguyen. More importantly, the timeline reveals the systematic development of Axie which laid the foundation for its recent explosive growth.
Growth highlights include:
- “Axie Infinity has generated over $39 million worth of total revenue between July 10th and July 17th, 2021…To put into perspective just how astonishing that figure is, in the same span Ethereum and Bitcoin generated $37.9 million and $4.7 million in total revenues respectively.” (William M. Peaster)
- “Over the past 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days, Axie Infinity has done more volume than any other NFT Marketplace, including open ones like OpenSea, Foundation, and Rarible, and asset-specific ones like CryptoPunks, NBA TopShot, and SoRare. It’s now third all-time by volume, and amazingly, its past 30-day volume alone would rank third all-time!” (Packy McCormick)
- “Today they’re getting ready to surpass Fortnite as the largest discord community in the world.” (Ryan Sean Adams)
- “We’re going ballistic on Twitch” (Jihoz)
Many factors have played into Axie‘s success, from consistent development to great art to the opportunity to play-to-earn. Axie‘s overall set of features already feels quite complete with more to come. However, Axie‘s deeper appeal and perhaps, one day, its historical significance derives from the overlap of community and play-to-earn heightened during the Covid pandemic. A recent documentary explores this element:
“‘PLAY-TO-EARN’ | Trailer”
“PLAY-TO-EARN” is a documentary by Coindesk columnist Leah Callon-Butler. Callon-Butler first wrote about a community in the Philippines, Cabanatuan City, where seemingly everyone played Axie Infinity. Callon-Butler then went on to create the “PLAY-TO-EARN” documentary about the village’s relationship to Axie. Both the documentary and Cabanatuan City are now symbolic of the potentially life-changing economic power of Axie and the community forces that have become part of the game’s power.
As she notes in her follow-up article, the earnings from Axie enabled whole families to play and to earn the money they needed to get through the Covid crisis when so many lost their jobs. While the Philippines is not the only nation where Axie Infinity is popular, it has been the strongest example of widespread uptake fueled by stories of gaming success such as the man who bought two houses with his winnings.
As Yield Guild co-founder and NFTS WTF DAO member Gabby Dizon states:
The most important thing to understand about #PlayToEarn is that we're arming people with hope. Once they understand that their gaming skills can give them a better life, it gives them agency to take control of their own lives and make it better. How many games can do that?
— Gabby Dizon (@gabusch) June 14, 2021
The unique ability of the Axie Infinity team to grow a virtual world game over years and successfully connect to players in a meaningful way is in itself a huge accomplishment. To have an effect on the economic well-being of whole communities reveals Axie Infinity as an example of the potential for NFTs to become a tool for creating a better world.
Featured Image Courtesy Sky Mavis