Axie Infinity Rolls Out ‘Lite’ Version of Crypto Game on Apple App Store
The developers of games to earn crypto game Axie Infinity have released a version of their latest game to Apple’s App Store that does not require users to purchase NFTs.
Axie Infinity: Origins is a card game that will initially give players free “starting characters” that are not NFTs. It represents a shift away from the original Axie Infinity game, which required users to either buy or rent NFTs to play.
“We’ve been in contact with Apple for about two years now,” Axie Infinity co-founder and COO Aleksander Leonard Larsen told Decrypt. “After much trial and error, the current version is a small version of Axie Origins with more to come.”
Origins, which was previously available in limited regions through the Google Play store and owns Sky Mavis’ own Mavis Hub, is now rolling out to key markets in Latin America and Asia on the App Store.
It will be available to Apple mobile users in countries including Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
He said this free-to-play version begins with non-NFT Axies, the cute digital characters in the game.
“Starter Axies will remain as non-NFTs,” Larsen said. “But as people buy other Axies in the app, we will have [to] turn them into NFTs.” He added that NFT holders will also be able to move their axes into the app.
The game operates on Sky Mavis’ proprietary Ethereum-based Ronin sidechain, so owners of NFT Axies will be able to play them in the iOS release. Developers said in a blog post that they believe this is the first time Apple has agreed to make an externally purchased NFT usable on the App Store.
After the launch, Larsen told Decrypt that the company hopes to introduce the studios that are part of the Ronin Network to Apple, potentially making it easier for their games to be accepted as well.
“The relationship with Apple is solid,” he said.
AXS up but still well below the peak
The original token of Axie Infinity got a boost after the announcement. AXS was up 9.6% in the last 24 hours at the time of writing, priced at $7.44, according to data from CoinGecko.
This is still a long way from the all-time high of $164.90, reached in November 2021. In the time since then, Axie has had to deal with a major downturn in the crypto market, as well as the fallout from a $622 million hack of Ronin. .
Axie’s in-game token, Smooth Love Potion (SLP), also took a small bump of 4.2% on the announcement, but is still down more than 99% from its July 2021 peak.
The decline in the value of SLP led to a collapse in the original Axie game’s finances, prompting the company to make several changes to tokenomics. Origin was soft-launched last year as part of a transition from play-to-earn to “play-and-earn”.