Amid a drastic decline in coin prices, shifting player behavior and hard-to-maintain tokenomics, it’s been a difficult year for many GameFi developers. While more established franchises, such as Axie Infinity, have held ground, other lesser-known projects, such as Elexir, have mostly pulled the plug, with a lack of viable game designs being unable to compensate for the “Fi” element in GameFi.
That said, one project that, despite running into all challenges, experienced by its peers, appears to have gained traction anyway. In early February, blockchain multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Superpower Squad (SPS) surpassed 200,000 downloads on the App Store and Google Play. The game previously launched in December 2022 and surpassed the 100,000-download milestone in mid-January.
Superpower Squad game poster. Source: SPS
SPS features up to 20 players competing in-app in a five-minute combat experience. Players can earn nonfungible token (NFT) heroes and create digital wallets directly in-game to receive and transfer rewards, with no prior crypto experience necessary. The game took nearly three years to perfect before developers said it met their quality for playability. According to SPS’ chief game architect, who wished to be identified as Pony, the team faced quite a few challenges during that time:
“Compared to other industry projects, game development is a much more regenerative track that especially consumes time, effort and money. Superpower Squad has nearly finished all its functional development, with $3 million spent in just capital costs. But being in this crypto winter, the entire industry finds itself having difficulty meeting its financing needs and becomes more reserved with its choices.”
Pony explained that despite finalizing investment deals with “several top institutions,” the founding rounds became on hold after “two black swan events” hit the cryptocurrency industry last year. In addition, the game developer said that financing became difficult, as a subset of bad actors had tarnished the reputation of the entire industry.
“After Axie Infinity became popular, the market started to crowd in for GameFi products. We have seen junk GameFi projects come out in large numbers, and most of them had little to zero game experience, with some even having only a white paper. After the GameFi boom, some of these projects died out or changed their names because it was too difficult to develop a good GameFi project, and people didn’t realize that it would take a huge investment of time and money. Some GameFi users lost a lot of money with the fall right after the first wave of GameFi.”
As told by Pony, SPS came to the market right around the time sentiment was at its nadir. “We faced major bias from organizations, and a lot of them refused to introduce our project to users,” they said. “Therefore, we are grateful to the partners who stood by us, such as KuCoin, OKX and BNB Chain, and their support throughout this whole time.”
Superpower Squad gameplay. Source: SPS
Since launch, SPS has already created its own marketplace for in-game NFTs and listed its namesake token, SQUAD, on KuCoin. For the next steps, Pony said the development team would complete the rental function for its marketplace. “This way, users who have a large amount of NFTs can rent them out to earn revenue, and users who do not have enough money to purchase them can earn through renting.” Currently, the game has about 42,000 on-chain transactions per day and a daily active user count of 4,400, with over 44,000 in-game wallets created.