The Web3 gaming platforms and metaverse projects see the number of active users dwindle as Web2 gaming remains king.
Recent data from DappRadar suggests that metaverse gaming platforms Decentraland, The Sandbox, and other metaverse-related projects like STEPN and Bloktopia attract only a few gamers to their platforms. According to the insights tracker, as of October 10th, Decentraland had 379 daily users. The Sandbox recorded 616, while STEPN and Bloktopia only had one user each.
Decentraland holds the top spot amongst the biggest metaverse projects in the crypto space, closely followed by The Sandbox. Their market capitalization values soar above $1.2 billion, making the poor numbers look even poorer. The Metaverse concept sparked a bull run in 2021. Still, the failures of frontline projects like The Sandbox and Decentraland to attract users beg the question of dwindling interest in metaverse gaming.
However, with competitors like Axie Infinity and Alien Worlds having over 20,000 and 202,000 active users, respectively, a loss of interest does not appear to be the case. Decentraland has since rejected the numbers via their Twitter handle, claiming that DappRadar’s methods of tracking daily activity did not capture the true situation of things. Yet, users continue to churn out data that suggests that all may not be well. According to a tweep, @TraderRob10, Decentraland only recorded 1074 user interactions with smart contracts throughout September.
An active user, according to DappRadar, is a unique wallet address that interacts with specific smart contracts in a decentralized application. Players who visit the application but do not make such transactions may not meet the criteria.
Users of metaverse gaming platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox do not need to interact with smart contracts all the time, while players on Axie Infinity and Alien Worlds sign transactions as part of the experience. While the numbers on DappRadar may be misrepresented, player volumes remain low on these metaverse gaming applications compared to Web2 (regular) video games.
Placed side by side with popular video games like Counter-Strike Go or Grand Theft Auto 5, metaverse gaming numbers are in stark contrast. Web2 video games record millions of daily users, with the likes of Roblox claiming over 52 million daily users across its games in Q2 2022. Yet, Decentraland and The Sandbox are worth billions, so many expect them to record better numbers.
The mood is generally low in the crypto space today as the prolonged bear market gains momentum. Financial markets have suffered globally, and perhaps, the ripples have spread to metaverse gaming. These platforms use a play-to-earn (P2E) model that became popular during the bull run of 2020 and 2021. Since crypto prices fell, gamers incurred sharp losses, and the P2E model does not appear profitable. However, many still see the likes of The Sandbox and Decentraland as good investments, which explains why they are still worth billions.
The fate of metaverse gaming is intertwined with that of cryptocurrencies. While the sector is fairly young and should not be expected to compete with Web2 gaming, low player volumes on top platforms can be discouraging.