Axie Infinity Case Study : The Rise, Fall and Future of a Crypto Gaming Giant

The history of Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a turn based strategy game that utilizes NFT and blockchain technology to create a fun, action packed experience. Development started back in 2017 by Sky Mavis who was led by Nguyen Thanh Trung, the cofounder and current CEO.

Axie Infinity is built on the Ronin blockchain. This acts as a bridge to the more mainstream Ethereum network, allowing the transfer of assets and liquidity cross-chain thanks to interoperability.


2018 rolled around, and the first rendition of the game was released to the public in an early phase. Gamers loved it and a general positive status quo on this project was felt around the small but mighty gaming community on the blockchain at the time.

After initial success, 2019 saw the development of the card game mechanics that are associated with the game now, along with the designated application to enhance the experience.

The AXS token governs the project and is used both in and outside the game for transactions and yielding rewards. It was introduced in 2020, sometime after the initial release, and can also be staked for more rewards.

DappRadar, the accredited web3 body, announced Axie Infinity as their blockchain game of the year in 2020. A monumental achievement to say the least, and this helped to solidify their place within the Play-to-Earn paradigm.

Ronin Wallet was created as a designated wallet for Axie Infinity players. Users can store and transfer assets across chains, offering a seamless experience.


Like many modern games, new installments are added to change gameplay and bring a new feel to the eco-system. So far, we have seen the following:

  • Axie Infinity Classic
  • Axie Infinity: Origins (first released in Q2 2021)
  • Axie Infinity staking (Q3 2021)
  • Axie Infinity Land (NFTs) is added (2022)

The crypto boom of 2021 hit, and Axie Infinity was really on top. At the time, it was one of the most innovative blockchain titles, and had a strong user base. At one point, 2.3 million people were recorded each month.

People in less developed nations were able to access the game and turn their game time into a stream of income, showing the power of Play-To-Earn gaming.

AXS token, off the back of the huge community, reached an ATH price of around $160, one of the biggest P2E prices we have ever seen!

Axie Infinity’s contribution to crypto gaming

Over the years, Axie Infinity has become a staple for crypto gaming. The colorful graphics, the competitive nature—what’s not to love?

It was one of the titles that laid the foundations for the wider industry. Having come into fruition for the first time in 2018, this is one of the earlier names on the crypto gaming timeline.

The token reached a monumental value, and the userbase was strong. But there is still more to address with Axie Infinity. Just 3 years after the game’s release, $2 billion was recorded in NFT sales, which then doubled the year after to $4 billion. NFT gaming and its community were proving their worth at this point despite being such a new concept.


Crypto esports is slowly becoming a huge sector of web3 and Axie Infinity has paved the way. The Axie Infinity World Championship was held in 2022 with a prize pool of $1 million.

Before Axie Infinity picked up its notoriety, Play-to-Earn (P2E) games were stale in gameplay and not immersive. Now that games are being released, they have sustainable economies and feature really interesting features that keep players interested.

Axie Infinity, despite the crypto bear markets, has proven strong, with an even stronger fanbase still playing the game and engaging with the eco-system.

The fallout – What happened to Axie Infinity?

Despite its mainstream success, Axie Infinity has not been far from controversy and negative press.

The most notable was the Ronin Bridge hack in March of 2022. Hackers managed to break into the network and come away with a large chunk of change. To be specific, $650 million in USDC and Ethereum was stolen. This was a huge cause for concern and caused Axie Infinity to show its vulnerable side.


Another cause for concern with Axie Infinity is the P2E mechanism. It solely relies on the number of users playing the game, rather than the time and effort spent. This, in turn, creates an unsustainable and potentially questionable earning structure.

When a game has 2.3 monthly players, which then depreciates to 250,000, this is a HUGE blow to the earning side of the game. This is despite the esports incentive that is very much present.

Furthermore, the AXS token unlock in April 2023 has also played a factor in its price decline. 18.89 million tokens, worth $155.27 million at the time, were unlocked, which equated to 7% of the total circulation.

Is Axie Infinity dying, or is there still hope?

It would appear that Axie Infinity 2023 is nowhere near what it once was. The player base is down in numbers, and the value of the token has sunk. Axie Infinity dying to many was maybe inevitable and could show cracks in blockchain gaming due to the market share it had over the sector once upon a time.

New seasons have been released throughout this turmoil, which can help mend the wounds inflicted.


Now gamers can enjoy Axie Infinity: Homeland and Axie Infinity: Raylights, both of which are slightly different from the traditional game. Maybe this is an attempt to attract a new market to the Axie metaverse?

Axie Infinity continues to hold weekly leaderboards and is even a part of the Cloud9 esports tournament roster, and is the first blockchain game to be featured on this. Esports fans know about Cloud9, making this a great accomplishment.

Overall it is clear that there is work to be done to build back momentum for this blockchain game, however it cannot be denied the place it holds in the space still to this day.

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