Axie Infinity, from developer Sky Mavis, is a “play-to-earn” game that uses NFTs for characters and cryptocurrencies to facilitate the in-game economy. It has experienced incredible growth this year to become the leading game in this new genre. Here are some fascinating stats about Axie Infinity.
Global Google searches for “Axie Infinity” went from essentially zero at the beginning of this year to a full-blown trend by mid-July.
It has plateaued into merely being an enormously popular keyword, with over 706,000 queries per month (per AHrefs).
Axie Infinity is a Play to Earn (P2E) Game
Play-to-Earn is a completely new genre of games that are defined by their ability to pay players in cryptocurrency for playing the game. This opens up numerous avenues for making real-world money as you play the game. Below is a simple graphic to show the nature of these games vs. a few traditional titles.
Above is a simple graphic to show the nature of these games vs. a few traditional titles.
In September of 2020, the game had around 50,000 monthly active players. Just one year later, it had just under 2 million monthly players, a 3,811% year-over-year increase.
The chart above shows this growth in monthly and daily player counts. The daily count estimate is likely conservative, as CoinDesk reported a daily active player count of nearly 2 million in early October, 2021.
The player base of Axie Infinity is global but concentrated in certain countries so far. By far the largest usage is from the Philippines, but other countries are gaining steam.
Aside from the U.S., which is a hub of gaming innovation, the countries on the list generally have weak currencies. This means that the in-game SLP currency converts more favorably to the local currency of those countries and therefore provides a meaningful additional income stream for many players.
The growth of the user base has been tremendous but many games grow quickly without the ability to monetize the users well. Not so with Axie Infinity. The revenue growth of the game has been absolutely staggering. It has the third-highest protocol revenue in history, behind only Filecoin and Ethereum itself:
And in the past 6 months, Axie Infinity is second only to Ethereum:
If you create an annualized revenue run rate based on the months since Axie Infinity really took off in July, it would place Sky Mavis as #758 on the Fortune 1000 list by revenue, ahead of DoorDash, Zoom, Overstock.com, Match Group, and Lyft.
A Tale of Two Tokens
There are 2 cryptocurrency tokens that operate within Axie Infinity, and both are required in order to “breed” or create new Axies–the NFT characters that are needed in order to play the game. You need a team of three Axies in order to play at all.
The two tokens are Smooth Love Potion (SLP) and Axie Infinity Shards (AXS). SLP is the inflationary token paid out to players for playing the game. AXS is the governance token.
Smooth Love Potion (SLP)
Below you can see that the SLP minted (earned by players) has been rising dramatically.
It’s worth noting that Sky Mavis makes changes to manage the minting (earning) of SLP because runaway minting without corollary burning creates too much supply and lowers the price of SLP on the market.
Even so, in October 2021 there were 7,343,026,387 SLP minted (per AxieWorld data), which at the SLP closing price on 10/31/21 of $0.07 USD means that the total value of all SLP minted in October was $514,011,847.09. This figure amounts to 1.7% of the GDP of the Philippines (GDP data from Trading Economics).
Axie Infinity players are not employees, but if you consider the game to be an employer, it is 3.77 times the size of BDO Unibank, the largest employer in the Philippines. (Estimated as October SLP minted above multiplied by the portion of users in the Philippines, and compared to an average monthly “labor and related expenses” line item from the P&L of BDO Unibank per the Wall Street Journal).
The price of SLP has fluctuated dramatically over time, at times close to zero and $0.36 at its peak on May 1st, 2021. It has been in decline recently because of the higher minting activity, i.e., more supply is being created so the price declines.
It’s important to understand that because SLP is the token created in large quantities through gameplay, it’s not likely to be a great investment over time. It’s simply unlikely to skyrocket like other tokens might. Here’s a graphic of the boom and bust cycle that has been observed in this token so far:
Axie Infinity Shards (AXS)
AXS, on the other hand, has been an amazing investment for those who got in early. The dominance of Axie Infinity as an early play-to-earn and metaverse winner has caused the governance token to skyrocket from about $0.15 in November of 2020 to a peak of $159.76 a year later on November 7th, 2021.
That’s a 106,407% increase in one year! Stated another way, a $100 investment last November would have been worth $106,407 on November 7th of this year. AXS has dropped recently as the broader market has been punished by the Omicron variant.
In order to play the game at all, you need to purchase 3 Axies from the Axie Infinity Marketplace. Some Axies are valued for their rarity as collectibles, and the most expensive one sold to date was in July of this year for over $800,000 (per NFTsStreet.com).
However, the value of most Axies is determined by their utility in competing in-game and earning SLP. There are 9 classes of Axies and each one has basic stats as well as 6 “parts” that determine the cards they can play in battle.
The overall average price of an Axie right now can be seen below:
The lowest-priced Axies on the Marketplace are known as “floor” Axies and as of 1/21/22, there are some for as little as $65, although Axies at prices that low can be hard to actually purchase as they move so quickly (depending on their demand and PvP potential).
Also, generally speaking, the price of Axies is fairly rational and related to their earning potential so the prices will track the price of SLP to some extent. Floor Axies tend to be very low in earning potential and it can be difficult or impossible to play competitively with them.
Troubleshooting Performance & Technical Issues in Axie Infinity
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