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How the line between NFTs and GameFi will blur

The NFT ecosystem has become the land of the giants, with several behemoth companies and studios dominating the space through consolidation and investments. 

The most significant forces are undoubtedly Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs—two companies that simultaneously rose to prominence in the blockchain industry, albeit from radically different directions. 

Whereas Animoca Brands and its subsidiaries own several of the most prominent blockchain gaming titles and have investments across the board, Yuga Labs entered the spotlight by launching the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection. The studio has since bought the largest NFT collection by Market Cap—CryptoPunks—and founded several other NFT projects.

NFT Collection comparison (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

BAYC Collection (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

CryptoPunks Collection (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

These two worlds now collide as NFTs become gamified, with enormous repercussions for investors and regular crypto enthusiasts alike. 

Using on-chain data, we can assess the true scope of these giants’ holdings, understand their impact on the industry, and analyze how you can make better decisions in anticipation of further collaboration and consolidation by these players.  

Who are Animoca Brands?

Animoca Brands used to be a relatively minor mobile games developer until 2021, when its flagship product, The Sandbox, made waves in the crypto industry during the bull market. 

The SandBox NFT Trading Volume  (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

The SandBox NFT Sellers & Buyers  (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

While Animoca has several other notable games in its portfolio, it has become known for its extensive investment in GameFi and NFTs. Since 2021, it has funded nearly a hundred projects. 

Animoca Brands’ Investment by Category(Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Number of Animoca Brands’ Investment by Category(Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Investment history of Animoca Brands (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Projects they’ve invested in include guilds like YGG and Avocado Games, blockchain games like Mines of Dalarnia and Upland, and broader infrastructure projects like ImmutableX and Atmos. 

Gaming Projects Stats – Animoca Brands (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Animoca Brands’ investments are truly extensive. However, in the current bear market, it has become clear that even backing from Animoca is a smooth sailing path to growth. 

Only 7 of Animoca’s GameFi investment projects have more than 100 daily active users. On the other hand, the company is a significant investor in both of the two most consistently active games in the industry currently, Alien Worlds and Splinterlands, as well as one of the fastest growing projects and the largest on Polygon, Arc8

New Users-Alien Worlds

New Users-Splinterlands

New Users-Arc8 

The vast majority of games struggle to attract new users as of October, 2022. 

Top Games Ranking by New users (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

The data above shows that while Animoca Brands dominates the GameFi industry, GameFi itself risks being trapped in its bubble of existing users—no new blood—without an influx of outside interest. 

Until recently, the GameFi and NFT industries have been relatively separate. However, that’s starting to change, and the partnership between Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs could be the catalyst for the next wave of GameFi adoption. 

Who are Yuga Labs?

Around the same time Animoca Brands’ The Sandbox gained mainstream attention, Yuga Labs launched the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.

Launched on April 30, 2021, the price of their first BAYC NFT was 0.08 ETH (then worth about $190). Within 12 hours, the collection was sold out, and celebrities like Stephen Curry, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Post Malone began purchasing Bored Apes. 

Yuga Labs has risen to be one of the biggest names in Web 3.0 by launching a series of offshoot projects—Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club—and acquiring the #2 blue-chip collection, CryptoPunks, in March 2022. The company has also launched its token, ApeCoin, and is building its metaverse project, Otherside, which will integrate its various NFT collections and more. 

Yuga Lab’s Portfolio (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Even the company’s lesser-known project, Meebits, performs relatively well, although it is currently rife with wash trading

Meebits NFT Trading Volume (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Meebits NFT Wash Trade List (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Yuga Labs’ many offshoot projects highlight the difficulty in keeping even the top blue chip collections from getting stale. Its expansion into the metaverse (with Otherside) is the perfect case study for how NFT studios gamify. Gamification can keep their communities hopeful for the next thing and add utility. 

NFTs meet GameFi

As outlined above, GameFi projects need fresh users and waves of interest, while NFT studios need to give their collections utility. Considering these two factors, the gamification of NFTs seems inevitable. 

Gaming NFT Ranking (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Will Otherside be the project that brings the gamification to a head?

In December 2021, Animoca Brands partnered with Yuga Labs on an undisclosed blockchain game. However, many speculate that this game is indeed Otherside, which will gamify NFT ownership by creating a world where Apes and other NFT projects—e.g., World of Women, Cool Cats, etc.—will interact. 

Indeed, after Yuga Labs released a teaser trailer for Otherside featuring Cool Cats and Nouns NFTs last March, the Cool Cats collection saw an increase in trading volume. 

Cool Cats Collection  (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Animoca Brands is a strategic investor in Cool Cats Group, highlighting how NFT ecosystem giants now share crossover value between their products.

Since March, though, the Cool Cats collection has lost 72% percent of its value. Nevertheless, they still sit at a respectable 2.9ETH floor price. 

Marketcap-Cool Cats Collection  (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Daily Floor Price-Cool Cats vs. BAYC  (Data source: Footprint Analytics)

Summary 

By giving utility to popular NFT collections, GameFi developers increase their user base. On the other hand, games can solve the utility problem for studios—a mutually beneficial relationship. 

The first to reap the rewards of this trend will be participants in the top blue chip ecosystems, namely the Yugaverse. However, as the number of collections and blockchain games expands, we can expect collaborations between midsize and small developers and studios creating metaverse NFT gamification.

This seismic shift is one of the reasons why Footprint Analytics is building out analysis capabilities that combine the GameFi and NFT domains. For example, as it will become impossible to assess GameFi projects or NFTs in their own bubbles, Footprint Analytics is building a wallet tracker that gives analysts the full picture of a gaming NFT holder. Which NFT assets are the most useful for players within the context of a particular game? What percentage of NFT Collection X also play Blockchain Game Y? These types of questions will become more pertinent. 

This piece is contributed by the Footprint Analytics community.

The Footprint Community is a place where data and crypto enthusiasts worldwide help each other understand and gain insights about Web3, the metaverse, DeFi, GameFi, or any other area of the fledgling world of blockchain. Here you’ll find active, diverse voices supporting each other and driving the community forward.

October, 2022

Author: daniel@footprint.network

Source: Animoca Brands & Yuga Labs

Footprint Website:  https://www.footprint.network

Discord: https://discord.gg/3HYaR6USM7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Footprint_Data

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