Sky Mavis’ Jeff Zirlin says web3 gaming isn’t dead, but thriving

Once the clear market leader in blockchain gaming – with signature IP Axie Infinity kickstarting the first bullrun – Sky Mavis is now driving momentum in a different manner; through the ecosystem of its Ronin blockchain.

So, with some questioning the pulse of the sector, it was a good opportunity to fire some questions over to Sky Mavis co-founder Jeff Zirlin and get his take on what’s happening now and in the future.

BlockchainGamer: Is web3 gaming dead?

Jeff Zirlin: Last month, Ronin reached an all time high of 1.6 million DAUs. And according to DefiLlamaAxie and Pixels are the top NFT projects by monthly recurring revenue.

  • Axie Infinity‘s monthly rev is $306,000,
  • Pixels’ monthly rev is $1.3 million.

This is compared to Yuga Labs and Pudgy Penguins, which are both at $146,000.

This week Ronin users purchased over $10 million worth of Moku raffle tickets. Contrary to what some influencers on crypto Twitter might claim, web3 gaming is far from dead – it’s thriving and Ronin is leading the way.

Is web3 gaming apart from Ronin dead?

Ronin is the leader due to its unparalleled focus on community and distribution.

However, we are actually starting to see some interesting contributions from the rest of the space such as The Beacon, which recently hosted a successful p2a event.

Is web3 gaming apart from Pixels dead?

The migration of Pixels to Ronin highlights our power as a games distribution platform. Since the migration in October, Pixels experienced explosive growth, with its DAU surging from 5,000 to over 1 million, and has reached another major milestone with over 5 million lifetime wallets. We are proud of what Luke and the Pixels team have been able to accomplish.

We haven’t seen any evidence that more aggressive games onboarding would have succeeded.

Jeff Zirlin, Sky Mavis

That said, there are plenty of other games and projects building on Ronin that are adding immense value to the ecosystem and web3 gaming. Apeiron, the world’s first NFT-based godgame, went from 8,000 DAUs to 80,000 DAUs after migrating to Ronin. In the last week, Sky Mavis announced major plans to scale, Lumiterra’s migration, 2.2 million RON tokens committed to the Moku Lucky Draw, and a partnership with Earn Alliance

Given the above, have you changed your priors that there will be a large number of successful blockchain games or should we reconsider that perhaps there will only be a small number of successful blockchain games?

We believe that the gaming community is looking for diverse gaming experiences, and Ronin will be the distribution platform for those diverse games aiming to onboard the next billion people into crypto through gaming.

It’s likely that the most successful games will be magnitudes larger than the rest. This is also the case in traditional gaming.

Although you have announced plans for this, will we look back and see the relative slowness of Ronin to become more decentralized more quickly to be a weakness?

We believe that history will look back favorably on our focused approach during the early days of the network. We haven’t seen any evidence that more aggressive games onboarding would have succeeded, if this was the case then Ronin would not be the market leader right now.

Despite your best efforts, the various versions of Axie Infinity (and its companion games like Homeland) remain relatively small in terms of audience. Isn’t it time for Sky Mavis to park the IP as a legacy brand and come up with something new?

Axie is in a more mature state relative to other web3 gaming IPs. Therefore, we might have a bias to seeing it as boring or stable. However, in the first half of this year we’ve seen major growth.

For example, since we deployed the Axie Bounty Board in April we’ve seen:

  • Axie daily active addresses go from 12,600 to 59,800 (+378%) 
    • MAA from 26,500 to 209,800 (+691%)
  • Origins DAU +80%
    •  MAU +184%
  • Classic DAU +223%
    • MAU +47%
  • Avg daily trading volume go from 62,200 to 151,300 (+143%). 
    • Monthly trading volume is up from 2.3 million to 3.4 million (+47%)
  • Avg daily treasury revenue has gone from 4,000 to 11,800 (+195%)
    • Monthly trading revenue go from 222,000 to 306,300 (+37%)

Axie is still the #1 NFT and gaming IP by ecosystem revenue, aside from Pixels. However Pixels is in an earlier, more volatile stage of growth.

Finally, will the most successful blockchain games over the next couple of years be web2.1 titles that can be distributed through app stores finding a mass audience, or experiences that leverage fully integrated blockchain primitives?

There will likely be two baskets of successful games.

Web3 native IPs and teams like Axie/Pixels that lean into web3 mechanics and community building.

There will also be web2 IPs like Ragnorok that are able to successfully transition to the web3 world and bring much of their existing fandom.

Find out more about Ronin via its website and X account.

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