Bored Ape Yacht Club Aping into Play-to-Earn with Animoca Brands

Just in case you thought Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) was getting a little boring, once again were reminded yesterday how Yuga Labs is setting the pace for NFT project innovation. Animoca Brands, the company behind The Sandbox and multiple games on and off the blockchain, announced yesterday a partnership to develop a “blockchain game utilizing BAYC’s hugely popular Bored App non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

“We’re excited to work with Animoca Brands to grow the BAYC universe and expand the utility and benefits offered to all Bored Ape NFT holders,” said a Yuga Labs spokesperson. 

Yat Sui, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, said in a statement, “There are very few icons that are able to represent the surging world of NFTs as powerfully as Bored Ape Yacht Club, which is why we, as a group and in aggregate, hold a significant number of them. We are incredibly excited and proud to collaborate on a game for this cultural milestone.”

What it Means

  • Bored Ape Yacht Club and its 10,000 Apes along with nearly 17,000 Mutant Apes and nearly 10,000 Kennel Club dogs is valued at over $3 billion just based on the floor price of the three collections.
  • In addition to the original sale of the Apes, Dogs, Mutants, and the Bored Ape Chemistry Club, the NFTs have netted over 450,000 ETH in sales on secondary markets or about $1.7 billion at today’s conversion rate of $3,779 ETH to the USD. BAYC’s 2.5% royalty on those transactions along have yielded over $40 million for collection creator Yuga Labs.
  • The company has pioneered a number of NFT innovations such as property rights ownership by the Ape token holders, in-person events such as Ape Fest held alongside the NFT NYC conference in November, the companion collection of the Bored Ape Kennel Club dogs, and the Mutant Ape project. Mutant Apes was a gamificaiton of sorts of the BAYC collection enabling Ape holders to acquire serums that when applied to their NFT generated a new mutated version of the image known as a Mutant Ape.
  • BAYC announced a couple of weeks ago a new mobile game called Apes vs. Mutants that was supposed to be open for use by token holders for seven days. Some issues with iOS App Store approval delayed that project, but the presence of an actual game suggested a new direction for the project. The announcement by Animoca makes sense given its strength in game production. This allows BAYC to focus on IP licensing as opposed to game development.
  • Play-to-earn is an extremely popular game model today where users can earn cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other blockchain-native goodies simply by playing games and achieving certain milestones. This drives tremendous engagement and the ability to resell earned items creates a large secondary market for tradable collectible items generating more revenue for the project owners.
  • This move is designed to provide additional utility to BAYC token holders and create a new revenue stream simultaeously.

What’s Next?

  • The game is planned for launch in Q2 2022 and will have “play-to-earn mechanics” which have yet to be revealed.
  • The announcement says it will use BAYC’s NFTs so it appears that ownership of an Ape, Mutant, or Dog may be required to play. While BAYC has expertly expanded its ownership base by rolling out multiple collections, it is not clear that 10,000 – 20,000 total owners is a large enough base to run a successful P2E game. This suggests we may see another NFT drop from Yuga Labs in 2022.
  • Many NFT projects ranging from Axie Infinity to The Wolf Game have pushed hard into P2E gaming with both traditional game mechanics and DeFi characteristics. Expect to see many more projects that started out as art and community projects move into gaming if BAYCs move proves successful.
  • This is not the first collaboration between BAYC and Animoca. In July, The Sandbox voxelized the ape collection and BAYC bought a large tract of land in the virtual world. These types of partnerships might be a signal of what NFT projects are likely to see future support from Animoca for game development.

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