Axie Infinity Is Creating The Killer App To interest Gamers in Blockchain Technology
Pikachu, I choose you!
For an entire generation, that sentence is one of the most recognizable tv-show phrases. Pokémon is arguably the most successful gaming franchise ever created. Starting with the Gameboy release Pokémon Blue and Red almost 25 years ago. Since 1996 over 100 games have been released and almost all of them were a hit.
To get an idea of how big of a hit they were, the game Pokémon Go, a free-to-play game that uses augmented reality, already surpassed $ 4 billion in revenue in its first 4 years of existence.
The attraction of Pokémon has always been cute creatures battling each other while gaining experience, levels and moves to use in battle. But beneath it all lies an unexpected deep layer of strategy and choice to create the best team of Pokémon available to play your adventure with.
The entire concept has evolved from a 2D black & white sprites game to a mobile augmented reality experience and now, the concept seems ripe to harvest the advantages of blockchain technology.
In comes Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is trying to do just that. Highly inspired by Pokémon, but also implementing ideas brought to the blockchain world by projects like Cryptokitties and Decentraland, Axie Infinity is trying to create a world where players can battle, level up and breed their ‘Axies’ while at the same time earning crypto. The game uses the same aspects that made Pokémon such a hit: Cute creatures battling it out, while at the same time delivering a deep layer of strategic gameplay that ensures engaging gameplay that lasts virtually forever.
The main gameplay and use for your Axies is to use them in battle. Battles can be vs AI, or vs other players. The battles are turn- and card-based. By battling you are able to earn experience and Love potions. Love potions can be used to breed Axies.
But that makes it sound easier than it is. Axies consist out of 6 different classes and also have 6 body parts that have certain stats. Cards given prior to battle are dependent on 4 of the 6 body parts of your Axie, and these parts also add stats that depend on their class. Classes are weak and strong against certain other classes, in typical Pokémon fashion, and cards used in the battle of the same type as your Axie give extra bonuses.
It’s immediately clear that there is a tremendous amount of depth going on and while the game is easy enough to jump into, it also ensures that it’s hard to master.
Breeding Axies is something that Axie has taken from what used to be the most popular Ethereum based blockchain game: Cryptokitties.
The Axie Infinity team takes biologics seriously. Axies have actual genetics, with dominant and recessive genes. Players can breed Axies multiple times trying to create an Axie with the perfect set of stats for battling.
Since there are 3 major roles for your Axies in battle, Tank, Damage Dealer, and Swift attacker and certain genes improve certain stats, breeding Axies that are suited perfectly for a certain role can be very lucrative. Axies have been sold for 300 Ethereum in the past. An entire economy has been created where people battle others to earn love potions which are needed to bread their Axies, either to further bread the perfect Axie, or to sell those Axies on the marketplace.
This may be the Killer app that we’ve been waiting for that brings the masses to blockchain technology, and teaches a new generation the concept ‘Play 2 Earn’.
Axie Infinity has taken a strong point from another blockchain-powered game as well. Just like in Decentraland players can buy plots of land in the Axie Universe. These plots of land can be purchased, rented out, and developed by players. The plots can be upgraded using resources that can be found playing the game or by buying them on the marketplace.
There are 5 different types of regions, all with their own special statistics. Owners of a plot of land can cultivate their land into shops, access points for dungeons, resource production, and others. Creators can build on top of Lunacia, the Axie universe. It’s yet another way of generating income for players playing the game, and with the possibility of increasingly improving your land and the output it delivers, players that hang on and keep spending in-game time will get more and more resources and (real-life) funds.
The land doesn’t come cheap though. Since there is a limited number of land available, we’ve seen prices balloon. February 8th set a new record, with someone buying 9 plots of land for a combined price of over $1,500.000!
From the start, Axie Infinity has made it their goal to be extremely community-focused. They acknowledge the fact that their game can only be as successful as the size of their community and this has shown to be an excellent vision. Axie players are often deeply embedded in their game and the network effect may result in Axie becoming a pivotal blockchain project with more players joining and learning about the blockchain revolution.
Creating an economy and jobs
the dot on the horizon for Axie Infinity has always been to create a good game while also creating a way for players to earn crypto at the same time. Engaging gameplay certainly is important, but it’s even better if you can make a living out of playing that game.
There are different ways of earning cryptocurrency by playing Axie. Players can battle their Axie to earn Love potions that can be sold on the marketplace. Some people have the time to battle Axies to earn these potions while others are happy to pay for them.
Players can also use these potions to breed their Axies which can then be sold, and as mentioned before, there are a lot of variables and options to create the best Axies, and if you manage to breed a great one you will be rewarded handsomely.
Players can buy and sell plots of land, items, and Axies, trying to find them somewhere cheap and flipping it for a higher price.
Lastly, people that are more interested in earning passive income can buy the AXS cryptocurrency and in the not-so-distant future stake them to earn some more AXS tokens.
All of them combined can generate the players an income. There are 2 caveats.
1: It will take some money to get started. You will have to buy 3 Axies to start battling. Currently, the cheapest on the marketplace is $82.
2: initially, the payout for battling will only be a couple of dollars per day. Perhaps enough in some countries, but below minimum wage in most.
It does seem to be the case that the more you play, the better you understand the breeding and battling tactics the higher the payout will be. And as with regular land development and prices, it takes some time to see your investment here grow. It can be sped up with more energy and time spent in-game!
Axie Infinity hasn’t gone unnoticed. It has attracted a couple of big names both in and out of the cryptocurrency world. Below we take a look at the 3 most prominent partnerships:
With the support of Samsung behind them, Axie Infinity has gotten the back-up from a real tech behemoth. Samsung has officially partnered with Axie Infinity and added support for the game in their blockchain wallet. Users can find the game in the Dapp section and access it through the built-in web 3 browser. Axie Infinity is also looking into the possibility of developing a mobile app. The partnership makes sure that Axie Infinity will be introduced to millions of Samsung users.
Second on the list is gaming giant Ubisoft, known for titles such as Assassins Creed and Rainbow Six. Ubisoft has adopted Axie Infinity in its ‘Entrepreneurs Lab’ which is built to foster productive collaborations and shape tomorrow’s entertainment. The Ubisoft team will help prepare Axie Infinity for mainstream release. Topics include a Free-To-Play version, onboarding, and progression systems. Again, showcasing Axie infinity to its millions of gamers.
Binance, the biggest crypto exchange by volume worldwide, is another household name that has taken an interest in the project. They helped create awareness by adding it to their Binance Launchpad. Binance sees its launchpad as “a significant part of our holistic support when it comes to supporting blockchain startups”. Furthermore, they act as an advisor helping Axie make the right moves in the crypto world.
Binance has also enabled the trade of Love potions in their innovation zone.
And to top it off Binance is also a validator on Ronin, a sidechain that was necessary to make playing Axie possible due to Ethereum having exuberantly high fees.
Since everything that happens under the hood in Axie Infinity is actually a transaction on the blockchain, the congestion on the Ethereum network was limiting the possibility for people to play the game and a fair amount of profits were lost due to high gas fees.
Ronin will come with fast & seamless transactions with almost instant confirmation. And drastically reduced gas fees. The sidechain will continually be developed with new features coming out regularly.
In a world where jobs are disappearing increasingly. And where Covid has taken its toll, it’s great to see that new types of work are being created. The Axie team believes in a future where work and play become one. Add in further digitalization with every year passing and it’s clear that Axie has a bright future ahead. Better yet, looking at their exponential growth the last couple of months Axie might well be that missing link, the killer app that gets the broader public interested in blockchain technology. A new generation is rising that will demand to be paid, and be incentivized for their time spent playing a game. A revolution in the making.
There are still some issues that have to be resolved. The price tag to start can, and probably is, too high for everyone to start enjoying the game. Buying 3 Axies that cost close to $250 is a steep entrance. And at the time of writing the cheapest plot of land will cost you over $600. Taking into account that starting out you can only make a couple of dollars a day it’s clear that the financial side makes it difficult for beginners to actually Earn2Play. At least it’s a first step in the right direction that may need some tweaking and there’s also the possibility that Ubisoft’s Free to Play model fixes this.
The development of Ronin was a great step but Axie has to enable everyone to be able to play this game instead of just the wealthy if it wants to reach mainstream adoption.
Accessibility, for now, also is a hurdle that has to be taken since it still requires substantial crypto knowledge to get started. The same applies here though, with the likes of Samsung helping Axie these issues can be resolved in the future.
For now, we are thoroughly enjoying the Axie Universe, and can’t wait until we get to experience everything Axie has in store for us! They are paving the way towards a revolution in both the gaming and blockchain world and we sincerely hope that they manage to become the killer app that interests gamers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency era!