The craze behind Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies in general is at an all time high, which means that many industries, including gaming, have taken a vested interest in the underlying blockchain technology. One such game is Axie Infinity, which uses its own Ethereum based cryptocurrency to facilitate the creation and use of the titular “Axies” in the game. Since the game is built on top of a blockchain network, many people have used the game as a means of income generation as well as used it to trade digital goods. Essentially, it’s like an online Pokemon game, but you can earn real-world money from it if you know what you’re doing.
That’s a lot of complicated words there, and for someone who hasn’t delved into the world of cryptocurrencies it’ll take a lot to understand what Axie Infinity is. Let’s start with the basics.
What is Axie Infinity, In Simple Terms?
Axie Infinity is, as its own whitepaper puts it, a growing universe of games and systems that use Pokemon-like characters called Axies. Any unique digital good whose trade history can be tracked via the blockchain network with proof of purchase and ownership is called an NFT, and since Axies are user-generated creations, they are also NFTs. The game itself is a hybrid of card-based battle systems and turn-based combat, where each Axie has their own unique abilities. Like Pokemon, Axies can be categorized into many types, specifically 9 types in the world of Axie Infinity.
At the end of each match, the player earns SLP (Small Love Potion), which acts as the game’s experience points. Using SLPs, which are ERC 20 tokens, players can then breed their Axies to create more, and can choose to either use them for future battles or sell them for profit on the marketplace.
Each Axie’s unique abilities come from their genes, and breeding Axies results in the digital offspring inheriting certain traits of its parents. Around 50% of traits in the offspring are inherited from its parents, so users can mix and match different types of Axies by grinding to create the ones they feel will hold value. Each Axie can be bred a maximum of seven times, so as to avoid hyper-inflation of the digital creatures on the platform.
Players will need at least three Axies at any given time to initiate a battle with either other players online, or with NPC characters. New players need to buy Axies from the marketplace in order to start playing the game. By now, you should be able to grasp how the game’s economics work, and why its foundations built on cryptocurrency networks can be deemed profitable.
How Does Axie Infinity Make Money?
Like any platform built on top of blockchain, Axie Infinity’s success relies on how many people are using its resources. The developers claim that the game has generated over 13,000 ETH (16M+ USD) in revenue so far, with a steadily growing player base. Axies’ business model is based on the “play to earn” mantra, which means each player is rewarded for their engagement with the game and the larger platform as a whole. So how can players earn money from the game? Well, as the game’s whitepaper puts it, there are many ways in which players can engage with and profit off of the platform, such as:
- Competing in PVP battles to win leaderboard prizes.
- Breeding Axies and selling them on the marketplace.
- Collecting and speculating on rare Axies such as Mystics and Origins.
- Farming for the love potions and selling them on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Uniswap and Binance.
- Use in-game AXS (Axie Infinity Shards) tokens to buy digital goods and assets within the world of Axie Infinity.
Players can sell their Axies for ETH on the marketplace, which can then in turn be converted to fiat currency on popular exchanges like Binance, CoinDCX, WazirX etc.
How to Play Axie Infinity?
Getting started with Axie Infinity requires some preparation, which should be easy enough if one is familiar with how cryptocurrency platforms work.
- For starters, players will need to create an Ethereum wallet or use their existing wallet to buy ETH (e.g Binance, Metamask, WazirX).
- Create an Axie Infinity account on its marketplace.
- If your Ethereum wallet was created via Metamask, then you can use it to log into Axie Infinity directly.
- Download Ronin wallet browser extension, which is built on top of the Ronin side-chain created by Axie’s developer Sky Mavis. Ronin wallet can be installed in Google Chrome and Firefox.
- Click on “Attach Ronin to Account” under the Activate Ronin Wallet box, in the middle of the Dashboard.
- Deposit your ETH from your main wallet to Ronin, using Ronin bridge.
- Acquire Axies from the Axies Infinity marketplace.
Once you have acquired three Axies, you can start playing the game by downloading the app using the following links:
Now you can start playing Axie Infinity. You can read up on the Axie Infinity handbook to know the rules of the game before jumping in. Keep in mind that the game’s app on mobile platforms is not available on their respective storefronts. Android users will have to download the APK from the link provided and side-load the app on their phones, while iOS users can join the game’s beta test group with the link provided.
What Hurdles Does Axie Infinity and Similar Platforms Face in India?
While this all seems like a great way to generate income through gaming, gaming companies, including Nazara, are looking for ways to use a similar system in their own products in India. However, the idea of using NFTs has been met with resistance from developers, with the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) issuing calls to halt the use of NFTs in singular ecosystems and to use Proof of Stake (PoS) for cross-ecosystem NFTs.
Nazara’s own CEO and founder Nitish Mittersain told IGN India in a lengthy interview that his company is looking into a similar system as used in Axies Infinity for use in India.
“[Axies Infinity] is moving the model to a play to earn [as opposed to the usual free-to-play IAP or subscription models],” he says. “You grind the game, you create assets, and you can sell those assets to others who want to fast track their progress in the game. And all of this happens in the open market, even if I want to trade a game NFT outside the game in an open market, smart contracts allow me as a developer [of that NFT] to earn royalties on it.”
“Most developers in India have not grasped it,” he added. “And therefore, they are kind of shutting down their mind to it. I am trying right now to convince my team. Some of my team members think I’m crazy. But I’m trying at least.”
It remains to be seen whether any NFT-backed gaming ventures can sustain a player base, or even start one, in India as the country’s government pushes for the creation of its own national cryptocurrency.