According to a recent report curated by NonFungible, players of the monster-battle nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, game Axie Infinity transacted nearly $3.5 billion worth of NFTs in 2021. This accounts for almost two-thirds of all NFTs transacted in the entire blockchain gaming industry in 2021. In second and third place were sports highlights marketplace NBA Top Shot with $827 million and community gaming platform Loot with $242 million, respectively.
Created by Vietnamese video game developer Sky Mavis in 2018, the game contains creatures called "Axies" that players collect and use to complete daily quests, duel other players, etc. Every Axie is an NFT minted on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Completing tasks with Axies rewards players with Smooth Love Potions (SLPs), which can be sold for cash on cryptocurrency exchanges, thereby generating a stream of income for players. On the whole, Axie Infinity accounted for 19% of the estimated $17 billion in total NFT transactions last year.
Last November, Axie Infinity surged significantly in popularity, especially among gamers in developing countries, where one can potentially earn more playing Axie Infinity than working minimum wage jobs. However, players have complained to its developers that their earnings have fallen in light of SLP falling in price by 67.5% in the past year.
Although, the price decline can be partly attributed to the rising token inflation due to more and more players joining and playing the game. At the time of publication, there are nearly 2.7 million monthly Axie players, compared to just north of 1 million last March. But from July 2021 to now, the circulating supply of SLP increased from 541.7 million to 5.13 billion.
Overall, blockchain gaming enthusiasts bought and sold $5.18 billion worth of NFTs last year, spread across 20,986,532 sales. In addition, there were a total of 112 blockchain games and 1.88 million active wallets. Based on analysis by NonFungible, these statistics accounted for 2.18% of the world's total gaming market in 2021.