Top News

#1: Illuvium’s Land Sale

Source: NFT Plazas

On Thursday, Illuvium kickstarted a land sale for its finite 20k plots of land (out of the max supply of 100k). Twelve hours in, at the time of writing, the team has sold 2.8k land plots and roped in $13M in sales — all minted via Immutable. Furthermore, the sale took place via the somewhat controversial Dutch Auction format — which has given projects like Champions Ascension issues in the past — but consensus so far is that the process worked out quite well. The way the auction is being run also spreads activity out as it runs once per hour in batches of 278 with 2-hour durations and price reductions of 2.5% / minute.

Given the current economic climate, the starting prices might shock some participants, with 5 tiers of land ranging from 2 to 80 ETH (or $3,617 to $144,703). The land itself has some important utility for Illuvium; primarily, it produces resources like Fuel that are vital to gameplay. Interestingly, the land purchases aren’t only available in ETH (except Tier 5) but also in Escrowed Illuvium 2 (SILV2) for Tiers 1-4. Of course, none of it is playable yet, so it’s likely that at least some of the purchases are driven by pure speculation. It’s also interesting to contrast the very high starting prices versus something like Splinterlands, which sold land claims last year for $20 each before the land craze. The land in Splinterlands is not yet implemented despite being an active game this whole time, but the utility is very strong in a similar fashion to Illuvium.

In general, land speculation in web3 has started to cool off mainly because it’s such a long-term play. As we’ve said many times, the gap between hype and reality was destined to shrink, and even active games with land as a requirement to play like Crypto Unicorns have seen land prices on OpenSea start to move downwards. And games like The Sandbox and Decentraland have seen even starker declines. That said, Illuvium’s successful sale (so far) shows that there remains abundant interest in the space; blockchain gamers are craving higher production value experiences, and these upcoming games become magnets for hope and high expectations. We’re generally skeptical about how most games treat land, but we’ll see how it ends soon!

#2: Sky Mavis Announces First Builders Program Participants

One of the ways Sky Mavis hopes to expand its fanbase and community around Axie Infinity is to encourage others to build minigames around it. The builders program was announced back in January, and an accepted development project could receive a $5k minimum grant (in AXS). That $5k figure was doubled in an update in April to $10k in AXS. The program originally allotted 5k AXS total to the program; given the decline in AXS’s price, the total dollar value has dropped from approximately $360k to $102k — not much firepower or incentive.

This week, Sky Mavis announced the first 12 participants accepted into the program — minigames ranging from racing, match-3, endless runners, and more. If you do the math, 12 projects times a $10k minimum grant (total: $120k) already means Sky Mavis is exceeding its budget. Of course, when the original budgeted amount is so low and the total treasury / funding value is so high, it feels silly to really cling to this number. It feels like an absurdly low amount to invest if the team is serious about supporting UGC, but perhaps it’ll grow exponentially once they learn and improve with this initial cohort.

That’s not to say budgeting doesn’t matter, however. The Ronin bridge hack still looms large, and if the team still aims to pay back all that was stolen (over $600M at the time, now technically far less as ETH has fallen) that money will have to come from somewhere. It’s still a possibility that AXS will be used to help reimburse for what was stolen, but given the downward pressure that would occur from a public sale, that’s likely a last resort.

There are other weird quirks about the builders program, too (which the Axie Infinity deconstruction digs much more into). Most notably, the revenue share scheme is convoluted, and in some cases high percentages must go back to the treasury, which not only is negative for developers but hinges their fates extra closely to that of AXS.

In short, the builders program isn’t providing enough funding, leans too heavily on AXS, and often leans into too high of a take rate. It’s very early, so the policies and tactics still might change, but it’s not the most promising early sign.

Game Announcements

Source: Playtoearn
  • Mini Royale: Nations released the ability to mint certain battle-pass-related NFTs. Link
  • Gods Unchained released the ability to upgrade the “shine” rarity of cards through duplicates. Link
  • Farsite announced a two week delay to its June Alpha plans to include a Pilots Academy feature. Link
  • Ember Sword announced a series of weekly competitions in June to win land plots. Link
  • Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, the next game in the Ni No Kuni RPG franchise, was revealed to have NFT and P2E mechanics, a first for the series. Link
  • Infinite Drive, a driving game with brand partnerships, announced NFT and web3 support. Link
  • A Muhammad Ali boxing sim was announced that includes AI training for NFTs. Link
  • Meta Apes, a mobile strategy game, went live on the BNB sidechain. Link
  • Planet Mojo, a digital world with multiple game modes, announced NFT minting for June 6th and 7th. Link

Funding Announcements

Source: VentureBeat
  • Village Studio raised $2.3M for a cross-game NFT avatar system led by Animoca Brands. Link
  • Animoca Brands raised a fresh $88.8M through subscription agreements to new paid shares at a valuation of $1B. Link
  • Utopia raised $23M to help build the future of DAOs. Link
  • South Korea announced $177M in funding for metaverse and web3 projects. Link
  • Old Fashion Research launched a $100M fund to bring metaverse and web3 projects to Latin America. Link
  • Decentral Games raised $1M to stabilize the ICE Poker ecosystem from the Decentraland DAO. Link

Ecosystem Updates

  • After Avalanche submitted its proposal to partner with ApeCoin DAO and host the Otherside project, Immutable followed up with its own proposal. Link

Notable Market Moves

  • Most of the top tokens were down by the end of the week, following overall crypto market trends. It’s been a rough few months!
  • ApeCoin’s drop coincided with Immutable’s proposal to host Otherside on its ETH-based layer 2. We’ll see what happens if Polygon submits a proposal as well. ApeCoin itself is already supported on Polygon, so it would be a decent fit.
  • PlayDapp managed to overtake Render Token this week as the tenth spot, mostly because RNDR dropped significantly more (12%). Despite the upcoming Illuvium land sale, ILV still stayed just below RNDR as well, even though it held steady.
  • StepN continues to struggle to keep GMT up as it creeps down near its all-time low of $0.94. Overall momentum for the project seems to have slowed over the week, according to Dune charts. A sustained period of slowdown has the potential to significantly hurt token prices if players look to exit suddenly.
  • WAX was the only top 10 gaming token to gain this week. This may be related to the release and quick pumping of the MiningNetwork game on the network, but it may not be sustainable.

Content Worth Consuming

Source: NFX
  • Web3 Gaming Is An Evolution, Not A Revolution (NFX) – “We believe that for web3 gaming to succeed, it needs to build on top of the best of web2 gaming. Leaders in web2 games are some of the best entrepreneurs we’ve ever seen at building products, creating engagement, and overall understanding user psychology. Web3 games projects today would be wise to embrace the product psychology that made games so meaningful and enjoyable in web2 – before earning money was a primary incentive for some users. The winning strategy, we believe, is to evolve what worked well in web2 games with the awesome new capabilities and concepts of web3. A new wave of games doing just this is around the corner and could change gaming forever.” Link
  • Blocklords Deep Dive with CEO David Johansson (Naavik Metacast) – “In this week’s Crypto Corner episode, your host Nico Vereecke sits down with David Johansson, CEO of MetaKing Studios, makers of Blocklords. Blocklords is a Web3 Medieval Strategy MMO with asymmetric gameplay facilitating a (potentially) sustainable Play-and-Earn economy. In this interview, the duo discusses how David came to lead MetaKing, what influences the team’s decision making behind Blocklords, and the future direction of the company.” Link
  • One vs. Two Token Models in Crypto Gaming (Nat Eliason) – “What’s great with this model is you can split out the speculation and the game economy. When you launch anything in crypto, people will speculate on it to try to get a nice fast return. Having one token where people can speculate and one token where people can play the game lets these two uses play out separately so that a surge in speculation doesn’t cause a surge in the in-game prices. You don’t want a surge in speculation to suddenly drive up the price of everything in the game.” Link
  • Reinventing the Internet w/ a16z’s Marc Andreessen & Chris Dixon (Bankless) – “The journey of a16z is the history of the internet–from Web1 builders to Web2 disruptors. And now they stand as core capital infrastructure of Web3. Having just announced the $4.5B raise of their Crypto Fund IV, as well as their new web3 Podcast, this episode will break the internet… or fix it.” Link