Web3 games that rose and failed in 2023

At least three quarters of web3 games have entirely failed, according to researchers at CoinGecko, who found that a stunning 2,127 abandoned or inactive web3 games have launched over the past six years.

CoinGecko used Footprint Analytics’ data for its study. It defined a failed game as one whose activity had declined by more than 99% since its peak.

In 2018, crypto founders launched a total of 422 games. Within 12 months, 307 of those had failed. In 2019 and 2020, failure rates for web3 games declined to abysmal annual lows of 94%.

Unfortunately, this year is faring no better. 509 out of 720 games launched in 2023 have already failed — representing a 71% failure rate.

Below is a list of some failed web3 games. All of this assumes, of course, that web3 even exists beyond a marketing buzzword.

Failed web3 games in 2023

  • ConDragon, a game in which players caught, upgraded, or traded dragon-themed NFTs.
  • Play Today, a blockchain-based golf game. Its X account no longer exists, which likely crimps its social media engagement.
  • MetaCash, a virtual world video game with a market capitalization so small ($1.7e-10) that CoinMarketCap has to use negative-powers to express it mathematically.

Other games had initial signs of promise, only to later tank in value:

Gods Unchained (GODS) peaked at $8.83 and currently trades around $0.39. This game was, unfortunately, removed from the Epic Games store due to an “Adults Only” rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which is likely to negatively impact its potential user base. Its developers say it is appealing the ruling, which they say was likely based on the play-to-earn component and not the game’s content. In any case, its number of daily active users peaked at 947 and currently sits near zero.

League of Kingdoms Arena (LOKA) peaked at $5.37 and is now trading at just over $0.30. In 2021, it raised $3 million in a funding round with the participation of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Phantasma (SOUL) peaked at $3.97 and is currently trading at just above $0.22. Its boasts a blockchain that supports “SmartNFTs” that can change based on certain conditions. For instance, some users have a “pocket monster” that evolves into a powerful form once it gains a certain amount of experience. However, vanishingly few NFTs on its platform are used today.

Splinterlands (SPS) reached a high of $1.27 but is currently trading around $0.03. Created with the goal of giving gamers greater control over their assets, Splinterlands was a web 3 game that peaked at just over 490,000 active users and has lost well over 90% of them.

WAX: This token peaked at $5.01 and currently trades at $0.07. It was once billed as a way to trade virtual representations of assets, including in-game assets. It got a temporary boost from a recent collaboration between the makers of the Funko POP! bobblehead figures and Disney, which uses the WAX blockchain. However, despite spikes in trading volume that sometimes went over $1 million, its day-to-day volume has cratered. Recently, it has logged daily trading volume of just $13,000.

Read more: The play-to-earn crypto bubble has popped — Axie Infinity leads, down 99% from ATH

GameFi and metaverses: Crypto gaming revolutions that weren’t

The $600 million exploit of Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge in 2022 was the nail in the coffin of ‘GameFi’ — a portmanteau of games and finance. At its zenith, Axie Infinity employed 20,000 Filipino workers who repeated in-game tasks to earn in-game potions and character upgrades. None of those jobs exist anymore.

Another attempt by crypto promoters to revitalize their web3 promotion was the metaverse. This time, web3 promoters pitched a suite of metaverse currencies, land parcels, characters, and tickets, each of which had an associated token or NFT.

Like all web3 games, metaverses have failed to gain much traction after their promotional periods. Demand for metaverse tokens has plummeted. 

Even Meta’s $36 billion metaverse, Horizon Worlds, flopped entirely. Despite a flabbergasting tens of billions of dollars spent building this metaverse, researchers found only 900 average daily users inside Horizon Worlds — most of whom were children.

Like many other crypto industries, web3 games and their backers frequently fail. CoinGecko found that 75% of the 2,817 web3 games launched since 2017 have fallen inactive.

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