Following Bitcoin’s crash over the last weekend from $57k to $48k, the NFT market also took a dive. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace with a $13 billion total trading volume, shrank by 15% during the last week. The same is true of metaverses after an explosive growth immediately after Facebook (Meta) rebranding and Metaverse shift. As the trendsetter with the largest trading volume at $3.7 billion, Axie Infinity activity declined by 27%, while Decentraland took a 20% hit.
However, not all NFT news is negative. CryptoPunks collection has increased its trading volume by 29%, second only to Axie Infinity, with a $2.3 billion trading volume. Furthermore, due to prohibitive ETH gas fees, there is a noticeable trend of going to Solana NFT marketplaces, which have negligible minting and transaction fees. Specifically, the biggest Solana NFT marketplace, Solanart, remained at net zero trading volume, while the upcoming newcomer SolSea gained 101%.
As far as top 5 NFT collections go by sales, little surprise there: Axie Infinity leads the way with nearly $90 million new sales within last week, followed by CryptoPunks at $50 million, Bored Ape Yacht Club at $28 million, and The Sandbox at $21 million sales. ApeKidsClub, CyberKongz, and Rumble Kong League were the only ones among the top 20 NFT collections to achieve over 100% increase in sales. However, The biggest surprise of the week was DuskBreakers, having increased its sales by an outstanding 54,164%, at $4.4 million.
Given DuskBreakers’ high-quality artwork, this is not surprising. Moreover, its roadmap is a promising one, with Breaker NFTs becoming a vital part in the upcoming DuskBreakers universe, seemingly narrative-focused. The details are rather hazy, but “interactive media” plus abilities and gear upgrade system suggests some kind of interactive novella + tactical battles gameplay in a sprawling sci-fi universe.
In other NFT news, corporations are stepping up their game.
Adidas Jumps on the NFT Metaverse Bandwagon
The popular German sportswear company was busy with blockchain for the last couple of months. In November, Adidas partnered with Coinbase, the largest U.S. crypto exchange that is poised to launch its own NFT marketplace. More interestingly, Adidas purchased a virtual land parcel in the increasingly popular The Sandbox metaverse building platform, akin to a tokenized Roblox.
More recently, Adidas partnered with the Gmoney, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Punks Comic. Having bought the BAYC #8774, Indigo Herz, it had already branded it with the iconic Adidas logo.
These partnerships and NFT acquisitions were laid out with Adidas’ launch of its Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) tokens in November. Numbering at 3379 POAP tokens, they were distributed for future acquisitions of mystery items, prepping the public for events that are most likely to happen within The Sandbox virtual space.
Pepsi Drops the NFT Mic
Perennial tagalong to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, is trying to use the blossoming NFT market as an extra competitive edge. On December 10th, Pepsi released its genesis Pepsi Mic Drop NFT collection, consisting of 1893 generative NFTs. Incidentally, this number represents the year when Pepsi was established as a company. The NFTs are free of charge for first-comers, except for ETH gas fees, which are still quite high.
As you can see, the NFTs borrow from Pepsi’s branding history of its beverages across red Pepsi Wild Cherry, silver Diet Pepsi, blue Pepsi, Black Pepsi Zero Sugar, and other variations. Although free, Pepsi fans had to join a waiting list via the Pepsi Mic Drop wallet. Created by VaynerNFT design studio, it will be interesting to see what prices will these Mic NFTs reach once they hit third-party NFT marketplaces.
Ubisoft Misjudges NFT Reception
Next to Activision and Electronic Arts, Ubisoft is one of the largest North American video gaming companies, notable for its open-world games. Last week, Ubisoft made a grand opening of its new plan to tokenize its gaming portfolio. Powered on the Proof-of-Stake Tezos blockchain, Ubisoft’s Quartz platform will be used to mint in-game assets into NFTs.
Named Digits, these NFTs will be collectible items, gear, and weapons that will make the player stand out from the crowd. The first game slated to use it is Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Once collected, Digits could be put for sale on the Quartz marketplace. For some players, this may sound like a good opportunity where a triple-A game is turned into a play-to-earn (P2E) venture.
Unfortunately for Ubisoft, it seems that those players are a tiny minority. Despite YouTube’s efforts to censor negative feedback in the form of dislikes, thanks to a Chrome extension, it quickly became apparent that nearly 97% of players hate the idea of collecting NFTs in a triple-A game.
The main problem is that Ubisoft has no intention of making the game free-to-play, with an added monetization in the form of NFTs. Moreover, this is not the first time the company has received such criticism. Many remember how laden with micro-transactions the Assassin’s Creed series became, despite being sold as fully-featured games.
In the meantime, Reddit’s r/gaming is calling for a boycott of all Ubisoft games with integrated Quartz NFT marketplace. It seems that Ubisoft has accumulated a lot of ill will with its business model. Correspondingly, gamers are not viewing NFTs as a P2E opportunity, but a burden that further nickel and dimes the players and erodes the game.
Perhaps, Ubisoft could have avoided this PR mishap by following the example of Halo Infinite. While the iconic sci-fi shooter game has a paid single-player portion, the multiplayer one is a free standalone.
Legendary Game Developer Peter Molyneux Announced Legacy
It is no understatement to say that Peter Molyneux is the creator of gaming genres, something that not everyone can boast about. His god and management games, Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and Black & White have made permanent marks on the video gaming industry, spurring countless inspiration.
After a long hiatus from big projects, Molyneux delivered a crypto surprise at Gala Games’ Galaverse in Las Vegas two days ago. His new gaming project is titled Legacy, a blockchain game built with NFTs in mind.
Specifically, just like in Decentraland, Axie Infinity, and The Sandbox, players will be able to own land NFTs, the virtual building block for your mini-world. Legacy follows Molyneux’s pedigree closely, as is another management game, this time for building up your business empire. In collaboration with 22cans, Legacy game will also issue Ethereum-based LegacyCoin (LEGACY) cryptocurrency, just like Axie has its native AXS tokens.
Because the game mirrors the mechanics of owning and building a business, Legacy is a perfect match for NFTs and cryptocurrency integration, as it taps into staking, lending, and renting. As you build your in-game empire, you will be able to export its proceeds to the outside world into fiat currency. If it goes well and overcomes Molyneux’ previous Godus commercial failure, Legacy just might turn into a huge blockchain hit as it merges gaming with decentralized finance (DeFi) at a minute and engaging level.