A recent article by Time followed the story of Samerson Orias, who, like many Filipinos during covid, had turned to Axie Infinity to supplement their income.
But an unsustainable Play-to-Earn structure, plus the issues caused by the Ronin hack, has led to a mass exodus of Axie players from the once lucrative platform. Orias and many others say they have grown to hate the game.
“While Axie Infinity boasted over 2.7 million daily active users last November, only 760,000 are still active, according to one tracker.”
Axie Infinity failed to deliver
Before turning to Axie Infinity, Orias worked as a line cook in the rural Philippines, specializing in making takoyaki – Japanese octopus balls in seasoned batter typically sold by street vendors.
Orias was making 4,000 pesos a month ($72) at the job, way below the average Filipino monthly salary of 44,600 ($800). However, Orias’s friend introduced him to Axie Infinity, saying he was earning $600 a month from battling monsters in the game.
Keen to improve his situation, Orias, who was under immense financial pressure at the time, including paying for his mother’s medication following a stroke, decided to go for it. He soon started earning Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens, which he converted to pesos allowing him to take better care of his mother.
Orias’s situation was not unique. An August 2021 article published by Bitpinas stated that the Philipinnes had the most MetaMask users, accounting for 20% of the global userbase, as a consequence of Axie Infinity’s popularity.
However, over a year on, “most Filipino players” have stopped playing, citing “anger and anxiety” issues, even losing thousands of dollars in the process. Orias said he now finds the game boring and stressful. He also added that playing made him more aggressive in real life too.
“Fourteen months later, most Filipino players, including Orias, have exited the game nursing anger and anxiety—and, in some cases, thousands of dollars down. Orias grew to hate playing the game.”
Where it went wrong
The Ronin hack, which resulted in the theft of $615 million of USDC and Ethereum tokens, happened on March 23. But even before that, as evidenced by plummeting sales volume, players were leaving the platform.
The situation has not been helped by the onset of crypto winter, which has depressed token prices across the board since May.
As recently as eight months ago, players reported earning as much as $3,000 a month playing Axie Infinity. But bear in mind that the SLP token has tanked in dollar value since then, along with developers implementing updates to limit daily SLP rewards.
At the peak of its popularity, buying a team of three Axies (the minimum number needed to play) would cost approximately $1,000. But now, a team can be had for as little as $15. One Reddit user commented that he feels ill thinking about his $1,600 team outlay.
“Lmao. Thinking I paid 1.6k$ for a team last year makes me ill.
Earlier this month, Axie Infinity co-founder and CEO Trung Nguyen said “nature is healing” in an attempt to revive the platform. A recent update introduced a further incentive to play in land staking, where players can earn AXS tokens.
However, for players like Orais, who was wiped out by plummeting Axie character valuations, it is a case of never again.