In brief

  • Axie Infinity, a surging Ethereum-based video game, has topped 1 million daily active users, according to new figures from developer Sky Mavis.
  • However, not all of those users loading up the app may own the Axie monster NFTs required to actually play the game.

Ethereum-based monster-battling game Axie Infinity recently surged into the spotlight with soaring NFT transaction volume and new all-time highs for its native AXS governance token, and now there’s another big benchmark figure to add to the pile: more than one million daily active users (DAU).

Developer Sky Mavis announced the news today, providing figures that show more than 1.02 million active users of Axie Infinity’s apps over the last day. More than two-thirds of users are on Android, with nearly all the rest on Windows PCs. Much smaller player bases are found on macOS and iOS, with the latter version currently only available to testers.

There is a notable caveat to these DAU figures, however: while Axie Infinity is free to download, you can’t just jump right in and start playing. The game requires a team of three Axie monsters, which are sold in the form of NFTs. These tokens effectively act like a deed of ownership to a digital item—in this case, an interactive video game creature. They’re not cheap: each NFT starts for around $200-300 on the marketplace, with higher-value Axies trading for thousands of dollars’ worth of Ethereum.

However, there are third-party “scholarship” options available, such as through startup Yield Guild Games, in which Axie owners loan their excess NFTs to players via a profit-sharing model. Some players, especially in developing countries, can make a living playing the game and selling the SLP tokens earned in battle. This week, cryptocurrency exchange FTX announced that it would sponsor 137 additional Axie scholars through Yield Guild Games’ program.

Sky Mavis did not share updated figures on how many users own Axies compared to how many users are downloading and opening the app. However, as of Monday, August 2, the developer reported having more than 910,000 daily active users with just over 836,000 wallets holding Axie NFTs. Crypto analytics firm CryptoSlam currently reports that more than 914,000 total wallets hold Axie NFTs. In other words, there’s still a solid margin of people that download and open the game, but aren’t actually equipped to play it yet.

Even so, Axie Infinity has seen an enormous surge in players over the last two months. On June 8, Sky Mavis reported having just over 108,000 daily active users, and that number more than tripled to over 350,000 users as of July 5. That figure has nearly tripled again over the last month to top the one million mark today. Earlier this year, Axie deployed a Ronin sidechain to minimize Ethereum fees and congestion, and began migrating users’ NFT assets to Ronin in late April just before the current boom began.

However, the rapid expansion hasn’t come without headaches. Axie Infinity has struggled under the weight of increasing user demand, with the game not always functioning properly in recent weeks. On top of that, Sky Mavis has reported issues due to distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, along with server hosting problems.

Axie Infinity’s swelling numbers are staggering, with the game’s official marketplace reporting more than $1 billion in NFT transaction volume over the last 30 days. CryptoSlam reports different figures, however, showing $740 million in NFT sales over the last 30 days, with the all-time figure now topping $1 billion. The variance may be due in part to considering the value of ETH when each purchase was made, as opposed to tallying it all via today’s current value. Ethereum’s price is up 26% over the last 30 days.

Meanwhile, the value of the game’s AXS token has risen from a price of just $0.59 on January 1 to an all-time high above $52 in late July—a more than 8,700% increase. At the moment, the price sits just above $43 per CoinGecko.