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Web3's Mobile Gaming Moment 👾
Crypto game devs are embracing the App Store
Dear Bankless Nation,
If you are still skeptical about this whole metaverse thing, the world’s largest hardware company now seems to disagree with you.
While Apple is bullish on spatial computing, they’re still shunning crypto. That won’t stop game developers from making the most of the mobile gaming opportunity, however.
Web3 Games Are (Slowly) Coming to iOS
Bankless Writer: Ben Giove
Web3 iOS games are having a moment. Yes, you read that correctly.
Despite Apple’s history of hostility toward NFTs, Web3 games are finding success on iOS.
Mobile gaming is immense. It’s the largest vertical within the video game industry, having generated an excess of $89 billion in revenues in 2021 on the backs of more than 2 billion players — iOS games accounted for 58% of this, pulling in a whopping $52.3 billion in revenues.
This means that Web3 games are not just breaking into the Apple App Store. They’re breaking into the most lucrative niche in all of gaming. Keen to learn more?
Let’s dive into Web3 gaming on iOS by taking a look at a few of the App Store’s most successful titles. In doing so, we can see what their success may mean for the space as a whole - And see why Apple’s Web3 gaming wave may only just be getting started.
NFL Rivals is an arcade style football game. The game is similar to Madden’s Ultimate Team, where users can play through a football season while building up their team through collecting and upgrading individual player cards.
NFL Rivals is developed by Mythical Games, the same studio behind another popular Web3 game, the MMO Blankos Block Party. Like Blankos, the Web3 elements of NFL Rivals are opt-in, and subtly introduced on the back-end. Though no trades take place in-app, players on a user's team are represented by NFTs.
These NFTs can be traded for MYTH, the governance token of the Mythos Foundation DAO, on the Mythical Marketplace. The experience of using this marketplace may be a bit jarring for crypto natives, as it’s custodial, with users only able to withdraw their MYTH to Uphold, a centralized exchange.
In this regard, NFL Rivals is pretty similar to another licensed sports game, NBA Top-Shot, which soared in popularity during the 2021 bull market and utilized a similar, normie-friendly wrapper.
Despite just releasing in April, NFL Rivals has already become a hit, with the game at one point topping the sports gaming category in the United States.
Cross The Ages
NFL Rivals is not the only game in town: Cross the Ages is another Web3 title that’s gaining popularity.
The Immutable X-based trading card game (TCG) based on a book series allows players to build decks in order to battle and compete to win rare NFTs. Each card in a player's deck is also represented by an NFT, and can be freely traded in Immutable’s marketplace.
Like NFL Rivals, these transactions also do not take place in-app. However, Web3 native gamers may be a bit more familiar with the trading experience, as the Immutable marketplace is non-custodial, living on the Immutable X Layer-2.
Cross the Ages is gaining steam, topping the charts in multiple countries across the world.
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New Web3 games are not the only ones making waves on iOS — the old guard is making splashes of their own.
On May 17, Axie Infinity: Origins, launched on the App Store in Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
The most popular Web3 game during the 2021 bull-market, Axie appears to have broken new ground, as players are able to utilize their Axie NFTs within the app. Per the game’s official blog, this the first time Apple has permitted this functionality.
Although it may seem trivial, this represents a milestone for Web3 mobile games, as historically Apple has employed an even more restrictive policy towards NFTs.
The Floodgates Are Opening
As you can see, Web3 mobile games are finding success on iOS.
Games like NFL Rivals and Cross The Ages have emerged as chart-topping hits in spite of the constraints placed on their game economy. These titles are creating the real-time playbook on how to create an experience that can attract and retain Web2 gamers while still enabling player ownership of assets via NFTs on the back-end.
OG Web3 games are also breaking new ground, with Axie Infinity players able to utilize their NFTs from within the confines of the game’s mobile app.
While there is a long road ahead, these games could pave the way for more NFT-friendly policies from Apple, a move which would likely kickstart a flurry of Web3 mobile development.
We’re perhaps seeing the first signs of this impending rush, with God’s Unchained, another Immutable based-TCG, announcing their plan for iOS and Android launches later this year.
Although some regulatory roadblocks may lie ahead, with the SEC alleging in their latest lawsuits that numerous gaming tokens such as SAND, FLOW, and AXS are securities, the Web3 mobile gaming wave on iOS is here — and it soon may turn into a tsunami.
Crypto is eating money, finance, and now, it’s beginning to nibble on the video game industry's most lucrative market.
Check out the mobile gaming titles above! 👾
Read our gaming deep dive: Digging into the Crypto Gaming Sector
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.