Who were the blockchain gaming winners of 2023?

It’s the time of year to wrap up 2023 in a bow and look forward with anticipation to 2024, but just before we break out the midnight champagne, let’s take a final opportunity to highlight some of the projects that did great work in 2023.

Indeed, this is particularly important in the context that in a now booming crypto market, it’s easy to forget the projects that built through the hard times that made up most of 2023.

Blockchain game of the year: NFL Rivals

While everyone will likely have their favorite blockchain game of 2023, there’s no doubt Mythical GamesNFL Rivals is the most significant blockchain game of the year.

Compared to the likes of Nine Chronicles M, which offers a more advanced blockchain experience, or Parallel, which many consider the best designed TCG, NFL Rivals has managed to engage with players who’d never consider touching blockchain or NFTs.

And more importantly it managed to do so within the rules for NFTs and blockchain games set out by Apple and Google for their app stores. As such it’s been instrumental in opening the door for multiple blockchain games building on mobile which would otherwise not have done so.

Saying that however, the game itself is clearly proving more popular than most other blockchain games too. Since launching in April, it’s exceeded 4 million downloads across Google Play and App Store, as well as recently breaking $2 million in NFT trading volume.

NFL Rivals was one of the first games to integrate in-app NFT purchasing using Apple Pay and Google Play, which has been further expanded in its scope to become a full buyers marketplace in a recent update. Most recently it’s launched a feature called Quick Trade which allows users to trade in-game NFTs in NFL Rivals. It’s also expected to launch the ability to sell NFTs in-app, something that currently can only be undertaken on the web-based Mythical Market.

Web3 gaming project of the year: Mocaverse

Announced at the end of 2022, Animoca Brands’ membership Moca NFTs minted in March 2023. With its $31.88 million raised during this year, Mocaverse has integrated with multiple web3 games, including Pixels and Ubisoft’s Champions Tactics, and evolved far beyond just any NFT collection. Polygon and AWS are collaborating with Mocaverse to launch accelerator program Moonrealm and most recently the project has created utility through the Moca ID mint, which among other benefits offers holders to earn exclusive rewards through the Moca x Pixels metagame.

Saying that, the general increase in NFT trading volume during Q4 2023 would probably have been enough to boost the utility of Moca NFTs, which are now valued at $8,400, up over 50 times from their mint price.

In an end-of-year roundup on X, Animoca commented, “2023 started with a low but this year ends with a flood of optimism that may spillover well into 2024. We’ll continue to monitor new developments & double down on winners in our existing portfolio to capture the maximum value of this exponential web3 megatrend.”

No doubt Mocaverse has laid the foundation to remain one of the rising stars during 2024.

Gaming blockchain of the year: Ronin

While Axie Infinity was at the center of attention during 2021’s blockchain gaming bull run, the underlying Ronin blockchain remained a background character. Now that’s changed. Whether a second bull run is underway can be debated, but starting the year with the announcement of the first set of new thirdparty games coming to Ronin, Sky Mavis’ EVM chain ended the year with the success of previously-Polygon based Pixels.

Its migration to Ronin, proved to be the move which caused a new spike in the activity on Ronin.

Following Pixels‘ addition to the network, more projects have followed suit – with more surprises expected in 2024 – and already the numbers speak for themselves. Ronin currently has over 330,000 DAUWs, up 2,300% since the end of 2022. It’s valued at $530 million and has more than 15 years of runway.

The competition will be fierce in 2024, with the likes of Immutable, Beam, Optimism, Arbitrum, Skale and many others, but Ronin enters the year in pole position.

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