Turn-based NFT monster-battling game Axie Infinity is taking a leap into commercialization of its colorful axolotl-inspired characters, releasing official merchandise and allowing owners of certain Axie NFTs to create and sell their own products.
Holders of a select 4,877 Axie NFTs will be able create and monetize their own merch, user-generated content (UGC), and businesses using their Mystic and Origin NFTs, Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis announced Friday. Additional Axie NFT owners may be granted similar capabilities in the future.
“We wanted to lean into the UGC that ownership enables, but want to iterate and do it in steps. Origins/Mystics were a natural choice to start testing with since they’re the genesis collections,” Sky Mavis co-founder Jeffrey “Jiho” Zirlin told Decrypt in a message, when asked why the team chose to lift restrictions for the two collections.
Mystic and Origin Axie owners can now use their NFT characters as mascots to launch their own businesses. The Axie team suggested that owners could start Axie-themed cafes, comics, restaurants, or toy collections thanks to the lifted restrictions.
We’re on a quest to change gaming forever. We’re a movement. The best movements are defined by the gear, the armor, the uniforms they wear into battle.
Today, we deliver on a dream we have long shared together.
Today, the Axie Merch Store is LIVE!
🔗 | https://t.co/BwAzaAtxGQ pic.twitter.com/UWJi8oiSLv
— Axie Infinity (@AxieInfinity) November 24, 2023
But it’s worth noting that, at least for now, commercial restrictions have only been lifted for less than 5,000 out of the 11.9 million total Axie monster NFTs—which is just 0.04% of all Axie NFTs, according to Axie marketplace data.
And just in time for the holidays, there’s now an official Axie Infinity merch store selling Squishmallow-style plush toys, a $300 figurine, a branded hoodie, t-shirt, and baseball cap.
The apparel, known as the “>code:axie_” collection, was inspired by the first-ever Axie mint back in 2018, where buyers purchased Axies without art attached. Instead, their NFTs displayed code.
“We want to do more merch,” Zirlin said of the team’s plans to expand the new shop. “We actually tried a bunch of designs and prototypes before settling on these initial launch collections, but have some ideas on new stuff to try out in 2024.”
Buyers can pay with crypto or fiat currency, and Sky Mavis is promising the first 5,000 buyers a free Axie NFT as well as being entered to win one of three Mystic Axie NFTs. Fans in the Philippines using the Grab app will be able to earn Grab points and Axie merch discount codes for clicking on in-app ads that redirect to the Axie merch store, according to a statement.
Those who pay with cryptocurrency will be able to unlock extra rewards for reaching $10, $50, $100, and $1,000 thresholds, and will receive a special badge, plushies, and other rewards.
Sky Mavis will also allocate 20% of all net profits from merch sales to the Axie Community Treasury, which was created to foster community-based decision-making and “progressive decentralization.” The team has also released some image files for 12 different Axies for free online.
Axie Infinity is by far the most successful NFT game to date, surging in popularity in 2021 to net millions of active players while racking up more than $4 billion worth of NFT trading volume. The play-to-earn game’s momentum quieted substantially in early 2022, but Sky Mavis continues to build out the Axie ecosystem while cultivating its Ronin sidechain network for Ethereum, which itself has seen growing adoption of late.
Axie’s move toward freer use of its IP echoes previous NFT collections, as Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have similarly offered owners commercial use rights for select NFTs that they own. That approach has spawned a number of real-world Ape-themed businesses, from branded “Ape Water” to bagels, hot sauce, and a California burger restaurant.
Edited by Andrew Hayward