Last November, gamers worldwide converged in Manila to compete in the MMG Axie Masters League, a Web3 tournament with a whopping $150,000 prize pool. The game was Axie Infinity, the most popular NFT game to date, having attracted over 2 million users at the peak of the crypto bull market of 2020-2021.
Many players were from the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, where pandemic-induced unemployment and general poverty led many to turn to Axie as a source of income back when token prices were booming (the fact that it could be played on mobile was a huge factor as well). While the number of users has declined drastically since then — following the token price movement — a devoted community of Axie eSports players remains highly engaged, competing both online and in live tournaments for the hefty prize pools put up by Sky Mavis (the Vietnam-based company behind the game).
Plenty of fledgling Web3 games are trying to cultivate their own eSports scenes (such as Spidertanks and EV.IO, for example). Still, their bases — and funding — are minuscule compared to those of Axie Infinity, which held a World Finals with a million-dollar prize pool in Barcelona last year. Sky Mavis followed that up with a million-dollar eSports grant, funding several Axie competitions worldwide. One of the largest funding recipients was E4E (eSports 4 Everyone), who received a grant of over $100,000 to host a live Axie Tournament in Ho Chi Minh City next month. Titled the E4E Minors, it is slated to be the largest web3 eSports event that Vietnam has ever seen.
“Since I joined Axie 3 and a half years ago, my dream has always been to run my own live event, and now that dream is finally coming true.”
This is a quote from “Chief” aka. Tyler Reinold, the 32-year-old CEO of E4E, got his start in eSports by building a guild in the Web2 mobile game Clash Royale. When he discovered Axie, he went all-in on breeding the cute NFT monsters in 2019, then brought in eSports professionals from Clash Royale and other games to build the first-ever Web3 eSports guild, Axie. GG. In the process, Chief hit upon a groundbreaking discovery that soon changed the world: he found that one could loan out Axies, enabling the user to earn by playing while the owner could retain ownership of the NFT and earnings. With the Axies securely in their owners’ hands, revenue could be split safely between owners and players. And thus, through eSports, the “scholarship system” was born.
The scholarship system caught on quickly, and the number of Axie users exploded as speculators bought or bred the NFT monsters in order to loan them out and farm tokens at scale. This sparked a slew of games attempting to imitate the new model. However, the bonanza was short-lived, as excessive token minting soon proved the unsustainability of “play to earn”. This was a harsh realization when combined with the historic hack of Axie’s own Ronin blockchain, which saw over 500 million USD disappear overnight.
By this time Axie had established itself as the leading Web3 game and became too big to fail, having attracted funding from Animoca Brands (one of the top software companies to invest in web3) as well as support from Google Cloud Services, who stepped in as a validator for the Ronin network in the wake of the exploit. Last year, Sky Mavis Co-founder “Jihoz” Jeff Zirlin tweeted that the company had a 10 year runway. From the perspective of 2023, with Axie token prices on the rise again and the eSports scene booming, it seems like Axie is here to stay.
Meanwhile, amidst those wild ups and downs, Chief was hard at work building eSports 4 Everyone, which has risen to become one of the most trusted tournament organizers in the Web3 eSports scene.
“E4E was set up with the goal of giving all players a chance to compete in eSports—and now we have players flying in to play, live in-person, from all around the world.”
That’s Nick Melhuish, the Director of E4E, who has been working with Chief on the project since its inception in 2021, when they launched daily Axie tournaments with free entry and crypto prize pools, provided by sponsors such as E1337 Metawear (the premier web3 eSports clothing brand) and Community Gaming (the leading web3 eSports tournament platform). They now offer over 50 online Axie tournaments per month, as well as tournaments in popular Web2 games such as Valorant and Teamfight Tactics.
True to their ethos of making eSports accessible to all, E4E organized a world-wide series of open online qualifiers for the upcoming live tournament in Vietnam. Thousands of players have been competing since last November, and now 12 finalists have been selected. Players will be traveling to the event from Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, Japan, Philippines, & Malaysia and the event staff includes an international team of entertainers, speakers, moderators and event producers who will be joining from South Korea, the UK and Germany.
The tournament will be streamed from a professional film studio as a part of Axie Week, a four day event spanning from March 8-12, featuring talks by prominent Web3 and eSports professionals, public tournament watch parties, the first ever World Championship of the new Web3 game AxieDoLL, and more.
#Marchyourcalendar, as this is going to be an event to remember.
DOWNLOAD AXIE WEEK PRESS RELEASE
DOWNLOAD AXIE WEEK EVENT SCHEDULE
Read the full article here