Why some Web3 developers are losing money

Why some Web3 developers are losing money

The interview rooms at Token2049 in Singapore earlier this month had adjustable stools that sank lower the longer you sat on them. Thanks to tight security at the conference, I was late for the meeting. Aleks Larsen, chair of Sky Mavis Chair, was on the floor at the meeting.

A better writer might be able to spin this into some sort of metaphor. Is there a quip about the value of s' two tokens? What is the reason for s' perceived slow decrease over time into irrelevance?

Sky Mavis, a Vietnam-based game publisher, led the development of play-to-earn gaming. It attracted millions of players - some of whom played it for a living - then its token collapsed, it was hacked, and the industry dismissed it as little more than a scam.

Even so, Larsen, the chairman and co-founder of Sky Mavis, says he is not done yet. Axie's statement to DL News: ''Axie made this industry happen,'' he said as we attempt to stop our chairs from sinking.

Web3 games aim to rival their web2 rivals. Many projects offer graphics and gameplay on par with the industry's top AAA games, including big-budget studio games like and Think the production values of plus web3.

As web3 evolves, Larsen is worried about games failing to utilize the benefits of web3 technology, and those that call themselves AAA games.

re basically competing with the AAA games of Web2 without the benefits of Web3 in any real tangible way, he warns.

According to Larsen, the AAA games label has devolved into a marketing gimmick. Teams are based on scores such as NFT floor prices or the number of developers they employ.

And not every good game is AAA. Indie game rankings are well-represented, with some of the top games being monetized on Steam.

Gamers are not a forgiving bunch. A former Steam employee told me they used to prank players by posting about updates and not changing anything, and players would still complain about the new 'changes'. However, they may opt for engaging lore, world building, and fascinating premises over slick graphics.

Games like and have traded insults over whether the other team is big enough or experienced enough to actually produce the game they promise. He sees it differently: too many cooks can spoil the brew, particularly if they're seconded from other studios.

Initial versions of the software were incredibly low quality and very simple, he said.

But the industry is also confronted with delayed projects that under-deliver, and some are s' biggest contractors.

He sees criticisms, especially from those who haven't produced tangible contributions, as bad for the industry's collaborative growth.

At the height of popularity, culture became a cultural phenomenon, particularly in places like the Philippines. Gabby Dizon, the founder of Yield Guild Games, once told me several generations of his family played it. Dizon, himself, became one of the world's biggest breeders.

A company created an app that could pay utility bills using the game's Smooth Love Potion token.

The premise of the original game was simple. To start, players needed to purchase three axies - think colourful, chubby axolotl-style creatures - to use in player-versus-player battles.

The different axis had different strengths and weaknesses. Who won the match would receive a token called Smooth Love Potion.

Two tokens were used: SLP and AXS. At their all-time peak, they had a combined market cap of $11 billion.

Today, SLP has lost 97% of its value and SLP is down 99%. The chain it was built on, Ronin, was hacked in one of the biggest cyber-heists in the world in March 2022. The suspects actually made off with more than $600 million.

It's rather remarkable that she survived, given the damage. The gaming industry, and crypto writ large, forgot about the one-time juggernaut. The company has remained calm and steadily operating, with 270 staffers still onboard.

Will Cryptocurrency eventually surge back to something close to its zenith? Will it be a vestige of its past self for the foreseeable future?

Last week, I visited the game to check out the gameplay.

It's one of only two web3 games I've played for weeks at a time and actually gotten into. My boyfriend couldn't stand my early 2022 phase. He'd roll his eyes every time he heard the soundtrack coming from my laptop.

My original axies have vanished in a wallet I can't remember, consigned to that part of my mind I try to repress, where my starving Neopet and abandoned Tamagotchi also live.

I bought a couple of them and re-downloaded the Sky Mavis hub. It's still cute. It does exist, unlike a lot of its critics who make big promises that never materialize.

A previously published version of this story mistakenly identified Aleks Larsen as the CEO of Sky Mavis. Co-founder and chair of the company.