What are the Top Web3 Games in 2023?
Alien Worlds and Splinterlands are the top web3 games in 2023, with more than 130,000 daily average unique active wallets (UAW) each. Other crypto games that have been the most played this year include: Planet IX, Iskra and Upland, which each have over 21,000 daily average UAW.
Daily UAW is the crypto equivalent metric for daily active users (DAU), and is used to measure the number of players for any web3 game. Games can range from being fully on the blockchain, to only incorporating certain crypto or NFT elements. The first wave of web3 gaming focused on play-to-earn (P2E) models, otherwise known as GameFi, but has since evolved towards play-and-earn (P&E).
The Top 20 most popular web3 games in 2023 are:
- Alien Worlds (230,978 daily average unique active wallets)
- Splinterlands (132,865)
- Planet IX (43,711)
- Iskra (35,140)
- Upland (21,856)
- Nine Chronicles (21,371)
- PlayMining (17,422)
- Benji Bananas (13,377)
- Axie Infinity (11,072)
- SecondLive (11,008)
- Wombat Dungeon Master (10,887)
- Era7: Game of Truth (10,068)
- Meta Apes (9,971)
- Arc8 by GAMEE (8,827)
- Tap Fantasy (7,995)
- X World Games (7,497)
- Taco (5,954)
- PROSPECTORS (5,883)
- Tiny World (5,262)
- MOMO: NFT Farmer (4,427)
Top Web3 World-Building Strategy Games
The most popular world-building strategy games with the highest number of players in web3 are: Alien Worlds, Planet IX, Meta Apes and PROSPECTORS. The 4 games are played on average by 72,636 people daily this year, or over 2X the average across all 20 top web3 games. This might be because world-building games tend to be more complex, with numerous variables that tokenomics design can take advantage of, to create richer gameplay mechanics.
3 of the 4 world-building strategy games are in sci-fi settings, but each one has a different premise.
Space exploration Alien Worlds is the top web3 game in 2023 with the most players at a daily average UAW of 230,978 YTD. The world-building strategy game simulates the real world economy with its Trillium (TLM) token. Since its launch in late 2020, Alien Worlds has maintained a strong performance in both UAW and transaction count. Its monthly average number of transactions YTD is at 364.94 million. This highlights Alien Worlds’ ability to keep players engaged in the long term, and points to fun web3 games being more sustainable, regardless of the potential to earn money.
Planet IX is the 3rd most played web3 game overall with 43,711 daily average UAW. It is a post-apocalyptic Earth restoration game and incorporates educational elements on climate change. Meta Apes, which has 9,971 daily average UAW, takes another approach to the post-apocalyptic concept, where players instead compete for world and space domination.
Coming in at #18 overall is PROSPECTORS with a more modest 5,883 daily average UAW. PROSPECTORS is also an economic strategy game, but differentiates itself by bringing players back to the 19th century gold rush era. Despite its smaller player base, PROSPECTORS has recorded the 6th most number of transactions and 14th highest transaction volume YTD.
Top Web3 Trading Card Games
Out of the 20 most played web3 games this year, 4 are trading card games: Splinterlands, Axie Infinity, Era7: Game of Truth and Tiny World. These trading card games have an average daily player count of around 39,817 in 2023, which is 29.4% higher than the average across all of the top 20 web3 games. This suggests that the collectible trading cards concept is especially well suited for blockchain games.
Fantasy-themed Splinterlands is the top web3 collectible trading cards game, with a daily average UAW of 132,865 on a year-to-date (YTD) basis. Splinterlands started the year strong at a daily average UAW of 208,339 in January, but has since faced three consecutive months of decline in active players. That said, the multiplayer game has been around since early 2021 and has maintained a solid track record in UAW.
Axie Infinity, which is likely the most well-known NFT game to date, ranked as #9 among the top web3 games. While Axie Infinity has less than a tenth of Splinterlands’ daily average UAW, at 11,072 this year, player engagement has been relatively stable. Axie Infinity also has the most transaction volume by far, with a monthly average of $75.08 million YTD, which makes up 77.2% of the volume across the top 20 web3 games.
Era7: Game of Truth and Tiny World are both trading card games on the BNB Chain, and ranked as #12 and #19 respectively. Although Era7 has averaged a daily UAW of 10,068 YTD, this has fallen for three consecutive months. On the other hand, Tiny World’s daily average UAW of 5,262 YTD has been relatively steady.
Top Web3 MMORPG Games
At least 3 out of the top 20 web3 games this year are MMORPGs, namely Nine Chronicles, SecondLive and Tap Fantasy. That said, MMORPG is a broad concept that overlaps with other genres, such as the world-building strategy games mentioned above.
Nine Chronicles, which ranks at #6 with 21,371 daily average UAW YTD, and Tap Fantasy, which is #15 with 7,995 daily average UAW YTD, are both fantasy-themed web3 MMORPGs. While Nine Chronicles has had a longer track record in player retention since its release in 2020, Tap Fantasy has also maintained a healthy daily average UAW this year after its early 2022 launch.
SecondLive is the top web3 virtual life game and has 11,008 daily average UAW YTD. Designed as more of a metaverse that combines gaming with socializing, like Sims, SecondLive’s daily average UAW has recovered from 3,508 in January to 19,615 in April. It remains to be seen if SecondLive will be able to keep players engaged, given that UAW had declined for six consecutive months in 2022, following its end 2021 launch.
Top Web3 Casual Games
Almost half of the top 20 web3 games in 2023 are primarily casual or even hyper-casual games: Simulation genre Upland and MOMO: NFT Farmer; adventure genre Benji Bananas and Wombat Dungeon Masters; tournament-style Arc8 by GAMEE; platforms with mini games, namely Iskra, PlayMining, X World Games and Taco. These 9 casual games have a daily average player count of around 13,932, which is 31.2% less than the average across all 20 top web3 games.
Upland is the most played casual web3 game this year, with 21,856 daily average UAW YTD. The Monopoly-inspired real estate simulation first gained traction in 2021 and has the 5th highest monthly average transaction count of 5.50 million YTD. MOMO: NFT Farmer is another top web3 game in the casual simulation genre and has a daily average UAW of 4,427 YTD. The farming simulator was launched by MOBOX in early 2021, as part of its platform of games. MOMO: NFT Farmer has recorded the 2nd highest total transaction volume this year, reaching $32.35 million YTD.
Meanwhile, the top casual adventure play-and-earn games are Benji Bananas and Wombat Dungeon Masters, which have daily average UAW of 13,377 and 10,887 respectively YTD. Both feature simpler game mechanics, although the action-oriented Benji Bananas might require more skills, while Wombat Dungeon Masters leans more towards idle play.
Arc8 by GAMEE is the most popular web3 arcade game with 8,827 daily average UAW YTD. Arc8 takes a multiplayer tournament-style game design, where players compete against one another in arcade games that are changed on a seasonal basis. This is similar to web3 gaming platforms that offer mini casual games.
Iskra has become the top web3 casual mini games platform with 35,140 daily average UAW YTD, despite only launching its first game in February 2023. Iskra has managed to quickly attract players so far, such that its daily average UAW jumped from 1,355 in February to 116,329 in April.
However, other top casual web3 gaming platforms PlayMining and X World Games have seen monthly declines in daily average UAW since the start of the year. The daily average UAW YTD for PlayMining and X World Games are at a much lower 17,422 and 7,497 respectively, even though they had managed to gain traction among players in late 2021.
While casual web3 gaming platform Taco has maintained its UAW levels around its daily average of 5,954 YTD, it had also previously experienced fluctuations in player retention. This points to casual mini games as a yet unproven format for keeping players engaged in web3, and it remains to be seen if Iskra is able to continue attracting new players and retaining existing ones.
Number of Players per Game, by Month
The study examined the top web3 games by daily average unique active wallets, based on Footprint Analytics data from January 1, 2023 to April 22, 2023.
Note: It has come to our attention that Farmers World is a possible rug pull. The study has since been rectified to reflect only games from teams that are active.
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Curious to find out more about our previous research studies? Check out this one we did on NFT adoption among crypto holders.
Lim Yu Qian
Yuqian is a cryptocurrency writer and marketer who specializes in mainstream cryptocurrency insights. She's especially fascinated by the philosophical and socioeconomic aspects of crypto and also goes by the name of Q. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honors from the National University of Singapore. Follow the author on Twitter @solosbrqt