Everyday promises regarding the metaverse’s breadth and scope come thick and fast, along with its increasingly inevitable chances for success and some sky high, bullish valuations.
However it seems that all is not truly rosy in the land of ‘verse as while growth potential certainly exists, the fact remains that even the biggest players are, right now, still failing to attract new users in the quantities required to justify their valuations.
And this failure to deliver daily active users (DAU) has now come home to roost, hitting early investors where it hurts – in the valuation of tokens.
The Sandbox’s SAND, Decentraland’s MANA and Axie Infinity’s AXS have all suffered the usual rocky peaks and troughs over the last 12 months but all three are down in value year to date: MANA by 26%, AXS by 38%, and – biggest loser – SAND is down 46%.
Better off buying Bitcoin
Meanwhile, steadfastly volatile Bitcoin, while down, has only seen a 5% USD valuation drop. In other words had crypto fans simply kept their worth in Bitcoin and done nothing, rather than invest in burgeoning metaverse tokens, they’d have lost far less.
It’s clearly not great news, and when those DAU figures are racked up against giants such as Counterstrike, DOTA2 and PUBG: Battlegrounds an even more worrying and gloomy future presents itself. The fact remains that – for now and for the immediate future – non-blockchain, conventional games are attracting vastly larger numbers of users to play and are more adept at holding onto them.
Looking at a 30 day average number of users via Steam, Axie Infinity dropped 30% from the previous period to about 107,240, The Sandbox is down 29% to 1,180 and Decentraland is down 15% to 978 users a day. Read that and weep – that’s 978 users… (Data via DappRadar).
Meanwhile the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sits atop the pile with 833,333 daily active users.
Good news / Bad news…
The optimistic way to look at such data would be to suggest that the metaverse’s big hopes clearly have room for improvement and huge potential to growth. A more pessimistic take might be to suggest that conventional games (and the gamers who love them) are still absolutely smashing it.
And, given the backlash against big names (such as Ubisoft) treading toes in the NFT world, there seems to be zero interest in non-blockchain games changing their (smash hit) tune any time soon.
The answer would appear to be for the likes of Axie Infinity to invest in gameplay over simple Play To Earn as they have promised to do with their battle-based Origins and land-grabbing Project K, both aimed at promoting retention and attracting new users.
Only time will tell how successful such returns to traditional gaming values within the blockchain gaming space will be, and what similar reversals of fortune Decentraland and The Sandbox can pull off in the coming months.