NFT Blue Chip Yuga Labs Dives Into Web3 Gaming, But Speculative Frenzy Could Leave Some Investors Hurting - Forbes

NFT Blue Chip Yuga Labs Dives Into Web3 Gaming, But Speculative Frenzy Could Leave Some Investors Hurting – Forbes

Yuga Labs has unveiled a new premium NFT game, but its expensive buy-in could leave new players with large losses.


What Happened

Yuga Labs, the creators of the successful NFT collections the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Bored Ape Kennel Club, and Otherside metaverse, has launched its first Web3 game called Dookey Dash.

Holders of Bored Apes and Mutant Apes were able to mint free “sewer passes” which are NFTs required to play the game. In total, 23,390 passes were issued across four tiers of holders, with higher tiers receiving in-game bonuses and access to exclusive content. The top tier passes were issued to wallets holding both Bored Ape and Kennel NFTs, and the bottom tier were sent to wallets holding a Mutant Ape NFT.

Dookey Dash went live on January 19th and will only remain playable for three weeks, through February 8th. The game is an “endless runner” style experience reminiscent of the popular mobile game, Temple Run, and the gameplay entails dodging obstacles and collecting special items.

The more items players gather and the longer they survive the trek through the sewer system, the higher their score. The goal of the game is to achieve the highest score among all players during the three-week period. High scorers will receive special prizes, which have yet to be revealed.

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Broader Context

Yuga Labs is known for creating the world’s most valuable profile picture (PFP) NFT collection, through its Bored Ape universe. Initially minting 10,000 units for 0.08 ETH (~$200) per NFT in April 2021, the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection has inspired a dedicated following of community members, rewarding them with subsequent drops, live events, and brand collaborations.

Across all of its affiliated NFT collections and crypto projects, the Bored Ape universe has an aggregate market capitalization of ~$4.3 billion, comprising Bored Apes ($1.1 billion), Mutant Apes ($440 million), Kennels ($122 million), Otherdeeds for Otherside ($267 million), ApeCoin ($2.3 billion), and Sewer Passes ($112 million).

In March 2022, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led a $450 million investment round in Yuga Labs at a $4 billion valuation to fund the development of the Bored Ape ecosystem. Yuga Labs is in the early stages of building out its own metaverse world, the Otherside, most of which is shrouded in mystery. Despite the secrecy surrounding their metaverse plans, Yuga Labs successfully sold 55,000 Otherside deed NFTs representing ownership of virtual land in the future metaverse, yielding over $318 million in primary sales last year.

Yuga Labs recently hired Spencer Tucker as its first Chief Gaming Officer, signaling its focus on developing consumer-focused Web3 games. Tucker previously held high-ranking positions at mobile gaming companies Scopely and GREE.

Axie Infinity is the seminal Web3 game that launched the entire play-to-earn incentivization phenomenon in 2018. Play-to-earn is a method for early projects to bootstrap user growth by rewarding players with native tokens of the protocol when they play the game. In the case of Axie Infinity, this has led to explosive user growth and price speculation in the bull market, but then precipitous declines in the bear market due to the overhang of new token supply constantly being issued. Axie’s monthly active user count fell 85% from 2.8 million in January 2021 to 430,000 in the last 30 days, and its native governance token, AXS, has fallen 93% from its all-time high of $160 to $11 today.

Whereas Axie Infinity is a mass market game appealing primarily to players in emerging countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam, Dookey Dash has been launched as a value-add game rewarding existing community members within the Bored Ape universe. Additionally in contrast to Axie, Dookey Dash has a limited runtime and no native game tokens to incentivize users.

Key Quote

“The future of gaming will be powered by player ownership, social collaboration, and creative expression.” – Spencer Tucker, Chief Gaming Officer of Yuga Labs

Key Statistic

At the time of writing, trading volume of sewer passes is