The cautionary tale that is Axie Infinity is likely well known to most, but for those who are looking for a rundown of the game’s lifespan from launch to present could do worse than a recent feature from Bloomberg that provides insider reporting and a timeline of the title’s rise, fall, and attempted shift of focus.
Readers will recall that Axie has been one of the most financially successful blockchain online games on the planet, having risen to financial prominence last year through a play-to-earn model that charges significant sums up front and takes advantage of desperate participants in small economies around the world, a practice we have previously discussed in detail in our Lawful Neutral column.
Bloomberg’s new piece speaks with players of the game, top brass of developer Sky Mavis, and economic experts about how its crypto economics, wider crashes of the overall crypto market, and a $620M theft from North Korean hackers have helped sink the game and caused problems for its economy, which ultimately resulted in a “sleeping dragon problem” that saw players hoard tokens and then immediately try to liquidate them as prices spiked.
The piece further talks about the game’s current direction: Sky Mavis has taken on former Pokemon Go project manager Philip La on as a new head of product, who himself is trying to create items for players to buy in-game such as decorations for avatars and change the idea that Axie is a way to get rich, while Sky Mavis’s co-founder Jeffrey Zirlin, who reportedly is sympathetic to the fact that Axie’s economic crash saw people lose life-altering sums of money in some cases, sees this as the game’s economy self-correcting. “Sometimes [the game has] to flush out the people who are just in it for the money,” he’s quoted as saying.