Pixels Crypto Game Fuels Resurgent Ronin Blockchain

This year’s bull market has seen a resurgence of many crypto narratives from yonder cycles, including crypto gaming. In that sector the Ronin network – whose game Axie Infinity reigned over the last gaming moment – is back again.

Since the start of 2024, Ronin’s user base has ballooned over 700%, according to Token Terminal, growing faster than Solana’s meme coin-fueled DeFi landscape as well as TON, the on-chain home for messaging app Telegram’s mounting crypto efforts.

A single game has fueled Ronin’s resurgence: Pixels. The low-fi farming game sees players set up plots of digital land and embark on quests in order to earn digital currencies. In the past month it has seen 1.25 million unique users plug in and play, per DappRadar.

Beneath the numbers a wave of energy is flowing into Pixels that matches the mania surrounding Axie Infinity. In the Philippines in particular, play-to-earn gaming has returned as a viable way for people to make a living, according to the New York Times. Its popularity has defied expectations, said Jeffery Zirlin, head of growth for Sky Mavis, the company behind the Ronin blockchain.

“Some people thought crypto gaming would only take off when” the industry had studio-quality video games, he said in an interview with CoinDesk. Instead, the top title pumping energy into the sector is a somewhat nostalgic pixelated farming game – hardly a masterpiece like Red Dead Redemption II.

Unlike Axie Infinity, Pixels was not built by Sky Mavis for the Ronin network. It started life on Polygon and moved to Ronin last October, before the current bull run caught on. Back then Pixels had maybe 3,000 daily active users, said Zirlin. Now, it can see as many as 750,000.

Those numbers still are a fraction of the energy Axie Infinity had at its height. Still, Zirlin said Ronin has an even bigger user base. He said Ronin has 12.7 million wallet downloads. All those people are at least ready (from an infrastructure standpoint) to buy the NFTs that can accelerate gameplay in Pixels.

Notably, they don’t have to. Pixels differs from Axie in that it does not require users to be crypto-ready from the get-go. They can set up their wallets and start earning later on.

Zirlin said Ronin and Sky Mavis continue to bet on crypto gaming despite its “seasonality.” Like most everything in this industry, gaming does well (really well) during bull markets and can pitter off during bears. He said the company is equipped to handle the turns and is in fact built for it.

“If you plan like that there’s no real negative,” he said.


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