What happened to Axie infinity?
Axie Infinity took the NFT gaming world by storm in 2021. Yet, through 2022, the game saw a steady decline in popularity. This left many actual and potential investors asking, what happened to Axie Infinity?
While the Crypto-winter undoubtedly played a part in the decline of Axie Infinity, there is a larger, more profound message in their story that should serve as a guide for future NFT mobile gaming developers.
The story of Axie Infinity could be described as a tragedy in three parts. The first part of which starts with its initial booming success. However, before we look at the story of what happened to Axie Infinity, we must first understand what the game is.
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game that sits on the blockchain. Players collect Axie monsters to train, upgrade, breed and fight. Each Axie is a wholly owned NFT stored on the blockchain. Players earn money by breeding rare Axies or selling battle-tested monsters via the in-game marketplace. You can exchange the Axie Infinity currency Smooth Love Potion (SLP) into real-life profits.
The Axie Infinity world took the traditional elements of mobile gaming and introduced a real-world reward mechanic. Mobile gaming has been driven by the concept of a casual gaming experience. Together with quests, collectibles, and regularly updated objectives, which are pulling players deeper into that digital world.
Heavy Investment from the Philippines Powered Axie Infinity Early On
When Axie first launched, it saw tremendous success in the Philippines, as it offered people a chance to play games to earn real sums of money. At one point, the Philippines accounted for over 40% of the total Axie Infinity player base.
The early adoption of Axie Infinity in the Philippines saw a swell of interest and active players. People who are living below the poverty line could earn an income by playing a game. The potential rewards for doing so far exceeded their wage potential. However, the passive nature of the game became its own worst enemy.
Covid-19 Pandemic Made the Perfect Platform
Axie Infinity hit the market in 2019, with the first battle system entering its alpha phase in December 2019. The launch of the game coincided with the global COVID-19 pandemic. As jobs were lost and people were confined to their homes, a chance to earn money by playing a mobile game ticked multiple boxes.
Playing a game helped to stave off boredom, while the crypto-NFT element offered a chance to supplement the lost income. However, the Axie gameplay mechanic is not overly engaging. Instead, the game embraces the hard-grind mechanic commonly associated with JRPG games.
The lure of potential profit pulled in a large player base. However, the slow and unrewarding gameplay saw many people fall away. Especially once the realization of the Axie Infinity payout structure became apparent.
A Flawed Earning Structure
Anybody who wonders what happened to Axie Infinity only needs to look at their play-to-earn mechanism. While there is a genuine chance to earn real money playing Axie Infinity, the rewards do not come close to matching the effort.
Rather than offering better rewards for those heavily invested players logging significant hours, it instead focuses on a reward system that grows based on the number of active players. As a result, the payout system more closely resembles a pyramid scheme than anything else.
The need to grind Axie Infinity took its toll on players. As the world started to open up once more, these people found themselves stuck. Playing long into the night for a reward that was not worth the effort. In addition, many players have cited physical and mental health problems. Caused by the hard work needed to get even a small reward in the Axie economy.
As more play-to-earn titles hit the market, offering more interactive and entertaining gameplay, many jumped ship away from the Axie universe.
A Hacking Scandal Cost $600 Million in SLP
The cryptocurrency market struggled in 2022 due to the crypto winter that saw many blockchain-based currencies plummet. In addition, Axie Infinity also had to deal with a hacking scandal that saw over $600 million in SLP tokens stolen, further weakening the game’s infrastructure.
Not only were people finding the game boring with few enticing rewards, especially in the face of newer games, but gamers could suddenly no longer trust their confidential information to be safe.
Many players quit playing Axie because what little profit they made was wiped out. by the overreliance on new players investing in the game, despite existing player investment.
Is there a future for Axie Infinity?
Yes, there is a future for Axie Infinity, but everybody needs to be on board with it. The Axie currency SLP has plummeted in value, leaving those still invested in the game at something of a sticking point. The amount they have invested has decreased, yet to pull out now would forever leave the question of what it is they worked for.
The real problem with what happened to Axie Infinity is that the developers lost or changed their initial focus. The Crypto-winter and hacking scandal affected Vietnam-based developers Sky Mavis greatly. As a result, they created a new version of Axie Infinity based on the more traditional microtransaction model.
Axie Infinity: Origins is a free-to-play game that is crypto-free. Everything runs on microtransactions. This works to the advantage of the developers but sadly leaves original Axie Infinity players adrift.
As it stands, Axie Infinity dropped from 2.3 million daily players a year ago to just 187,000 in January 2023. However, for those willing to look at things from a broader perspective, Axie can help pave the way for a better NFT mobile gaming experience in the future.
The story of what happened to Axie Infinity should serve as a prime example of the fragility of crypto-gaming on mobiles. Of course, this new niche will have teething problems, and mistakes will be made. However, while this comes at the expense of a once-thriving game, it should offer sufficient learning material for other developers looking to make a name for themselves in this niche.
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