Key points to remember
In about a year, NFT games are now poised to overtake PC games in popularity
Compared to conventional PC games, only 10 games are more popular than top NFT editions
$2.5 billion raised by blockchain games in the first quarter of 2022, on the way to $10 billion this year versus $4 billion for 2021
As gaming token prices plummet alongside the broader market, user growth and investment have been strong
As NFTs plummet as the market continues in risk-free mode, I’ve decided to dive into the stats of an industry that I believe is one of the most intriguing use cases of this new technology.
Of course, a lot of NFT are overpriced and can be attributed to bear market hysteria, but I’ve always thought the marriage between games and NFTs was natural. Players spend so much time playing certain games, as well as money on in-game add-ons, that defining ownership and maintaining a historic record on the channel seems to make sense.
So what do the numbers say about the adoption of NFT games compared to conventional games, and do they paint a more optimistic picture than plummeting token prices?
In terms of active users, the growth over the last year has been meteoric for NFT games. A report from DappRadar calculated the growth of blockchain gaming at 2000% since the first quarter of last year.
Also in the first quarter of this year, $2.5 billion was raised for blockchain games and other metaverse projects. Although this came before the ugly downturn of the past few months, it is still promising given that $4 billion was raised in all of 2021, a time when the bull market was in full swing. This puts gaming and metaverse projects on track to raise $10 billion through 2022. So even an extremely conservative 60% funding cut would put it above 2021 levels.
NFT game users
Funding is strong, but so are the users. A look at the chart below showing the top 10 NFT games confirms that the industry is starting to grow in popularity and attracting more and more unique users per month.
To put the numbers above into context, an interesting current benchmark for NFT games is PC games. The chart below shows the top 10 most played PC games on the Steam platform. Although data on the total number of users in a month is more difficult to obtain, the graph below shows the average number of concurrent players over the last 30 days (rather than the total number of users unique per month according to the graph above).
Assuming 5% of active gamers are online at any given time, the graph below then compares how NFT games compare to the most popular PC games, with NFT games in blue and conventional PC games in orange.
This shows that while NFT games have yet to overtake PC games, this is extremely close to happening. Only the top 10 PC games capture more users than the top NFT game, Alien Worlds, and the margin is very narrow, with Alien Worlds only around 1,000 users.
Yet, despite the bullish growth in numbers, these games are being brandished as fads due to the general pullback in the crypto markets. Additionally, the graph below for two of the biggest tokens – Alien Worlds and Axie Infinity – shows that the freefall has been brutal after last year’s explosive accelerations.
But looking beyond the prices of these tokens (much of which would have been due to speculation) and instead digging into the growth of users and investments being made in these platforms, the future still looks bright.
It’s a reminder that despite the bearish sentiment in the markets, there is very real technology here that is making a difference and disrupting industries. To be on the edge of the top 10 PC games is already quite an achievement, given the nascent nature of space.
As to whether these tokens are good investments at current prices? Well, that’s a problem for another day.