Just How Big is the Play to Earn Wave: DappRadar Shows Massive Growth

P2E games are still rebalancing their models, with options for speed, trading access and game-first appeal.
  • Games divide on blockchain choice, a split between easy trading and network speed.
  • Polygon keeps gaining influence as it carries some of the most active games for 2022.
  • Axie Infinity considered past its prime, still a model for a series of new games.

The play to earn space is still developing, and the growth signs are encouraging. Led by the boom of Axie Infinity, now the growth is spreading to other games. DappRadar notes that by March 2022, players per week grew by 2,000%. At the same time, the space continues to invite investments and value, adding $2.5B in inflows in Q1.

What Makes P2E Games into Leaders

At the same time, there is a big disparity between the token value of P2E projects and their usage. Most games are still trying to find the right balance between gameplay and earnings potential. As of April 2022, the market cap of all game tokens shrank to about $15B in value, as most assets continue to slide from previous peaks. 

There is also significant disparity between token listings. Early arrivals managed to place their tokens among the most liquid exchanges, and games that arrived later were met with listing fatigue. 

The next game to issue a token, Sunflower Land, will face this issue. The new SFL token, scheduled to drop on May 9, will have to find its sources of liquidity, starting with decentralized pairs. There is little chance SFL will gain wide adoption. Other projects, such as ApeCoin (APE) and STEPN (GMT) go token-first and appear on all leading exchanges and brokerages, after arranging their listings and influence in advance.

Which Blockchains are Booming in 2022

The other big divide is between the distinct blockchains that carry games. In terms of speed and usage, WAX-based games such as Alien Worlds remain at the top. Token-first games, which rely more on DeFi and speculative trading, still cluster around Ethereum. 

In the middle are the games on Polygon network, Avalanche and Binance Smart Chain, which manage to combine speed and access to trading. Those chains host what could become the next Axie Infinity: Pegaxy, Crabada, Mobox, Aavegotchi, Sunflower Land. Those games combine idle earnings with goals and upcoming skilled gameplay, while aiming to balance their economy.

Other contenders include Crazy Defense Heroes, Bomb Crypto, and CryptoBlades. A handful of games are trying to break out using a different set of up-and-coming blockchains, including Flow or ThunderCore.

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