Scanning the Revenue Models of 2024’s Top-funded Web3 games 
Paras Singh
Paras Singh
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Single New Blog Page
Web3 Gaming Revenue Models

2024 has been an iconic year for the growth of web3 games. Total funding as of April 2024 recorded a whopping $988M across a diverse niche of games ranging from role play (RPG), battle, fantasy, card, and fun games. 

Investors putting so much money into new Web3 games mean that they expect the projects to have huge revenue potential, which comes from the fusion of efficient monetization and reward models. 

Having understood that, we did a thorough analysis of web3 gaming revenue models for 2024’s top-funded games and drafted this article highlighting their novel revenue models. After reading this, you will get an idea about how these games are setting new trends in terms of growth and sustainability while also offering money-making opportunities for players.

Web3 Gaming Revenue Models

What all revenue models are relevant for today’s web3 games?

Web3 games’ approach to making revenue has always been very different. However, revenue streams for these games were Initially limited to Initial Game Offering (IGO), Yield Farming &  Staking, and digital asset trading. But now, web3 games are further opening up to novel monetization models like in-game ads, subscriptions, sales of NFT-backed assets, secondary market revenue, and more. In this regard, let’s examine some new-age Web3 games revenue models explained below:

Web3 Gaming Revenue Models

Deep dive into revenue models of 2024’s top-funded web3 games

Based on our analysis of 15 top-funded web3 games in 2024, we have filtered the below main revenue models  that these games have adopted so far. Let’s discuss them.

Free-to-play In-game advertisements: 

Gaming projects are the ones with a huge player base and massive traction. Hence, in-game ads are becoming a preferred way to generate revenue in top-funded web3 games focusing on the free-to-play aspect. Based on a joint study of in-game advertising platform Anzu and global attention technology company Lumen Research–  in-game ads have 98% viewability on average, which is surprising compared to Lumen’s digital ad norm offering 78%. Also, the duration for in-game was typically longer– around  3.1 seconds, an improvement of 0.2 seconds compared to digital ads and even social media. 

2024’s high-funded web3 games, like Wildcard ($46M) and Immortal Rising 2 ($15M), have already adopted in-game ads. Immortal Rising 2 shows in-game ads as part of live daily quests, whereas Wildcard also includes sponsors besides placing ads in its games. 

It’s up to the web3 games how they want in-game ads and sponsored messages to appear, like placing branded banners, showing promotional content as NFTs on the marketplace, providing access to special content in exchange for watching ads, and a lot more. 

Subscription-based models:

Subscription or freemium web3 games are free to download and play. However, players who wish to upgrade their assets, mint NFTs, or unlock access to special features/characters through paid subscription.

An example of this is Off The Grid, which has raised $46M in funding. The web3 game clearly offers free-to-play games with interesting characters, weapons, and features. There’s a provision for optional NFTs where players can subscribe to access special characters or enhance their experience with powerful characters. Those who own NFTs can engage in NFT trading and thereby earn profit. 

Also, there is Outer Ring MMO, the game with $14M funding. Outer Ring MMO allows players to obtain, acquire, and even trade various assets, materials or resources without purchasing NFTs.  But, they can anytime buy special materials & ability to boost their gameplay, mint NFTs, or trade their processed materials as NFTs on the auction marketplace. This is a win-win situation for both, as players will earn money from NFT selling, and Outer Ring MMO will receive a marketplace fee, a small percentage of total sales. 

Treeverse also allows players to experience their game for free. Later, if they want to change the paradigm of zones, participate in political games, engage in combat arenas, improve their property level, or access premium items– all these require them to buy a subscription using the platform’s native token.

End game deepness:

End-game in web3 games refers to extended game play through which players can continue playing and complete their core objectives, for example- winning a battle. This revenue model is designed especially for players who want to make real money from games instead of just playing for fun. 

All the leading web3 games, mainly battlefield games, offer Endgame benefits to players. The name includes Illuvium games, Legacy, Champions Ascension, Project Legends (ex-Legions & Legends), Space Nation, and more.

Tournaments & events entry cards:

Web3 games like role-play games, shooter games, and other adventurous games often organize live tournaments and events, allowing players to participate, compete, and win exciting rewards. In return, the platform charges a certain amount to provide entry cards Almost all the top-funded games, including Illuvium: Overworld ($77M), Legacy ($54M), Legendary: Heroes Unchained ($46), Sidus Heroes ($21M), Space Nation (25M), MetalCore ($15M), and Treeweverse ($13M) leverage tournaments & event passes as a solid revenue stream. 

Like Legendary: Heroes Unchained organized a drop event where NFT in Bronze Packs sold for just $10, a discount of $12 on the original price. These NFTs were later minted on the platform. Space Nation allows players to participate in guild wars and tournaments with minimal charges for entry cards but exciting rewards. Treeverse offers a political card game that players need to buy using GQ to confirm their participation. 

Sale commission and NFT royalties:

NFT royalties are similar to how equities serve in the secondary market, which offers a rigid, continuous revenue for web3 games creators. Whenever the sale happens, the platform takes a specific percentage of royalty as trading fee on the total sale of NFTs in secondary markets. This opportunity is also  game-changer for content creators and artists who engage in games, mint NFTs, and sell them in the secondary market for profit.

Legendary: Heroes Unchained, Project Legends ($24M funding), Space Nation, Sidus Heroes, Metal Core, Illuvium games, and every other top-funded web3 games collects NFT royalties on secondary market sale, where percentage of commission can range from 5% to 2.5% based on the game ecosystem. 

Pixel profit with in-game items:

Sale of in-game assets have already proven to be an effective revenue stream for web2 games. However, it works differently in today’s web3 games. Instead of simply paying to unlock a new character or buying gadgets, games now allow players to own their NFT-powered assets and trade them to earn money. For sale, they can either utilize an in-game marketplace, or it can take place outside of the game. 

Web3 games are free to implement their novel in-game purchase system according to the niche. For example, Illuvium: Overworld– the web3 game with the highest funding of $77M,  offers players to buy Illuvials like agile monkey rogue and Polar Bear to assemble a powerful team for winning battles. Likewise, Legacy, with $54M funding, allows for the acquisition of land, buildings, Gems, etc, so that players can establish their business empire. This same in-game purchases approach is used in Illuvium’s other projects– Illuvium: Arena, Illuvium: Zero, and Illuvium: Beyond.

Further, MetalCore ($15M funding) adopts a distinct in-game purchase approach by allowing players to purchase blueprints for fabricating new vehicles and other assets, along with the option to buy perks such as fast travel, quicker repairs, and resources. 

NFT Minting and marketplace charges:

NFT minting fees drive an excellent amount of revenue in Web3 games. This fee usually appears in the form of a network/gas fee or NFT marketplace fee where players mint their NFTs. Initially, NFT minting charges were imposed directly, but today’s Web3 games prefer to put a certain percentage of commission on the NFTs’ selling price.

Also, Web3 games now feature in-game trading marketplaces, enabling players to buy, sell, and trade NFT-powered digital assets like characters, cosmetics, equipment, and resources and earn profit. As part of the revenue model, the game will charge a minimal fee as a Marketplace fee/trading fee/Transaction fee.

Looking at the top-funded games of 2024, Heroes Unchained allows NFT minting on its marketplace. When NFTs are sold, the platform takes 5% of the final price, and the NFT owner receives the rest, 95%. 

Whereas Champions Ascension ($32M funding) requires players to pay a small amount of NFTs fee through n-game “Gold”, which players can either earn through tournaments or buy using crypto or credit cards. Similarly, Outer Ring MMO, Space Nation and MetalCore implement NFT minting fees to drive revenue. 

Here, we have only focused on the novel revenue model according to their adoption in 2024’s top funded web3 games. However, some general-use revenue streams like Early access, play-to-airdrop, initial game offerings (IGO), and purchase of internal services are still relevant for all the web3 games, be it new, old, top-funded or mid-funded. Now, let’s look at reward models of 2024’s top-funded games. 

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