Crypto gaming is buzzing again as the broader market recovers, and upcoming gaming-centric network Saga is seizing the moment to pull in players ahead of its mainnet launch and airdrop.

After announcing a $5 million seed extension funding round and its community airdrop plans in November, Saga is now running a “play-to-airdrop” campaign across numerous crypto games to get users into the ecosystem—and tempt them with potential token rewards for playing the early games on running on Saga’s testnet.

Saga CEO and co-founder Rebecca Liao told Decrypt’s GG that the team never considered giving game developers grants to build in the ecosystem. Instead, she said, Saga will “sponsor that user acquisition” for games by offering a share of its airdrop, hopefully drawing players into the ecosystem and rewarding them with SAGA tokens.

“We’re in a really unique position to do it because we’re one of the few chains that has focused on the gaming use case that is not yet live,” Liao explained. “And so we have that massive airdrop that can be done at genesis. That has been enormously helpful for something like a play-to-airdrop mechanism.”


The play-to-airdrop campaign began earlier this month with a holiday-themed “advent calendar” of gaming competitions, she said, but will continue into January and February with additional tournaments and events ahead of the planned Saga mainnet launch.

Saga’s current campaign features games like the fantasy-themed Generative Dungeon, the arcade-style game Tally Up, action role-playing game Rogue Nation, and the Pokémon Go-esque location game Vennity. Another World, a metaverse game that supports avatars based on the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Azuki NFT projects, is also participating.

The top finishers on the leaderboard for each game’s competition will be eligible to receive the SAGA airdrop when the Saga mainnet goes live in early spring. It’s subject to location, however, as some parts of the world (including the United States) cannot claim the airdrop.


Liao said that some games are also offering additional prizes and that since games may ultimately launch their own dedicated tokens, participating in these tournaments could yield a “double airdrop” for some players.

The Saga Protocol is designed as a “chain to launch chains,” Liao explained to Decrypt, as developers get dedicated chains called chainlets that can be linked to power games and other apps. She likened it to how developers can rely on multiple cloud instances when building apps, and the chainlets can be collectively utilized in various ways.

While Saga is a general protocol capable of running various blockchain apps, about 80% of developers in its “Innovators Program” are making games.

Part of the reason for that may be Saga’s gasless approach for users, which means they’re not forced to pay fees every time they conduct an on-chain action. Developers will use the SAGA token to pay validators to support their chainlets, though game and app developers can choose how they want to monetize their own games.

Saga is designed to work with other chains, too. Saga announced collaborations with Ava Labs and Polygon earlier this year and said such companies see Saga’s architecture as a way to support their tech.

“We have deliberately positioned ourselves to be complementary to any other layer-1 out there,” Liao said.

And gamers may get a taste of how that will work in the coming weeks, as Liao teased that Saga plans to expand its play-to-airdrop campaign to games running on partners’ chains, including Avalanche and Polygon.


Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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