‘Axie Infinity’ creator Sky Mavis launches new mobile app where purchase of NFTs is not necessary
Axie Infinity rose to prominence as an NFT-enabled game that at its peak garnered millions of users, but in a mobile version released Wednesday, players don’t need to buy NFTs.
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The mobile app, Axie Infinity: Originsis a card-based game where players receive non-NFT starting characters instead of having to buy NFTs to play the original desktop version, according to Decrypt.
The need to own Axies, furry NFT creatures, to play the game gave rise to an in-game economy that for a time attracted millions of players worldwide. Players from mainly developing countries like the Philippines rented NFTs from other players – who mostly lived in Western countries – to play and earn crypto, and the NFT owners got a share of the loot.
At the top of their game, some players – depending on the country – could make as much, or more, than they wanted working a minimum wage job, Fortune previously reported.
But the last year Axie Infinitypopularity has declined. As crypto prices have fallen, so has the price of Axieits in-game cryptocurrency, Smooth Love Potion (SLP), which is down 99% from its May 2021 high.
The uproar has caused the company behind the Web3 game, Sky Mavis, to think again. After pivoting from a term it helped popularize, “play-for-earn,” in favor of the softer “play-and-earn,” the company’s co-founder, Aleksander Leonard Larsen, told a conference in February that the company had to double down.
“We need more tokens, we need more crazy things in terms of experiments,” Larsen said at the time.
The new mobile app is definitely an experiment to expand the player base. It’s also a test case for Apple, which hasn’t been receptive to NFTs in the past, but has recently approved the blockchain-based NFL game NFL Rivals from Mythical Games. Axie Infinity: Origins rolling out in Latin America and Asia on Apple’s App Store.
Owners of NFT Axies can use theirs in the app, Larsen said Decryptbecause the game is built using Sky Mavis’ Ethereum-based Ronin sidechain.
Axie Infinityits native cryptocurrency AXS jumped as much as 15% on the news Wednesday. It was up 6.5% to $7.23 on Wednesday afternoon. The game’s in-game cryptocurrency, SLP, was also up, about 3%, according to CoinMarketCap.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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