Thousands of people are following the money. Right down the drain.
Billion-dollar NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club’s new sewer-centric video game Dookey Dash has generated more than $40 million in trading in the ten days since its debut, according to the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Now some experienced gamers want in, offering up their expert skills in an effort to take part in what could be the biggest web3 gaming gold rush since Axie Infinity.
“I've had folks reach out to me and want me to play on their accounts,” said the Twitch gaming streamer who goes by Brycent. “I took one holder up on his offer. He has six Bored Apes.”
Why would holders of Bored Ape NFTs — and their Mutant Ape Yacht Club brethren — be interested in hiring gamers? Because a little over a week ago the prolific digital asset shop Yuga Labs had more than 23,700 “Sewer Pass” NFTs claimed by holders of its BAYC and MAYC collections, according to OpenSea data. A total of 30,000 Sewer Passes were made available while non-BAYC and MAYC holders are allowed to purchase them on the secondary market.
Whomever owns a pass, whether they possess a BAYC or MAYC token or not, has the right to play Dookey Dash. The highest-scoring player will be awarded the “ultimate” prize, one that’s not only crucial to the next chapter of BAYC’s story saga “The Trial of Jimmy the Monkey” but will also likely hold significant monetary value on the open market. The rest of the Sewer Passes will be given an award based on the highest score attributed to each pass.
Unless that score is a zero.
Although the game parameters verge on complicated, Yuga Labs’s hype-heavy gambit speaks to a broader trend of top-tier NFT collections exploring new promotional strategies aimed at both expanding the reach of their brands while simultaneously stirring engagement among their existing holders. Other marquee collections such as Doodles, Pudgy Penguins and Azuki have also taken measures to stay relevant despite the major price deterioration that rocked the world of NFTs through most of last year.
"We want these things to be fun and weird, while also continuing to push the boundaries of what people perceive of the NFT industry," said Yuga Labs Gaming Director Spencer Tucker.
So far the most successful NFT shop’s plans to spur engagement appears to be paying off. Since Dookey Dash launched on Jan. 18, the game has been played over 4 million times, according to Harry Siu, CEO of the metaverse firm and Animoca Brands subsidiary Forj.
The game itself is fairly straightforward. Players control a jet ski-riding primate – who may or may not be bored or a mutant – as it dodges obstacles and collect items while picking its way through sewer pipes. Using $APE, the native currency of Yuga Labs, players can buy power ups to aid gameplay and boost their score.
Or, if you have coin to spare, and suffer from both a lack of time and confidence in your video game skills, you can outsource the gameplay.
Some holders are tapping gamers to help increase their final score. By renting out their NFTs, holders can hand over the controls to more seasoned professionals. Gaming guilds and freelance gamers alike are jumping into the mix in a scene akin to the guilds that cropped up during the heyday of Axie Infinity; the play-to-earn game which generated billions of dollars in NFT transactions.
The Gamer-to-Sewer Pipeline
While Brycent, the Twitch streamer, had some of his 50,000-strong following tuning in to watch him play Dookey Dash this week, other gamers are organizing to help Sewer Pass holders succeed. Neon Ape, another gamer who prefers to remain pseudonymous, formed a collective of 33 gamers who are compensated by performance. If one brings a Pass over 300,000 points, they earn 0.5 ETH ($767).
“The gamers have been very dedicated, most playing over six hours daily,” Neon Ape told The Block.
It’s not just the gamers taking initiative. One MAYC holder has taken to Twitter to try and promote an ad hoc service they believe could capitalize on the fervor: matching top-tier gamers with Sewer Pass owners who are not top-tier at playing video games.
“As someone who is relatively average or trash at gaming, I was actually looking to hire a better gamer to play my passes,” said the MAYC holder going by Dookey Boosters on Twitter. “Since I know other Apes in the same boat who are willing to pay, and met god-tier gamers who are killing it, I figured I'd create a service.”
Dookey Boosters said he’s initially working with a fee structure that would pay gamers anywhere from $200 to $5,000 (in ETH), depending on how high they score.
The rush to pile up Dookey Dash points will continue until Feb. 8, when high scores become permanently bound to each Sewer Pass NFT. Whatever is awarded to the top scorers, Yuga Labs isn’t saying how valuable those rewards might be. But Dookey Boosters speculated it could be either a new NFT from a new collection or instead some type of enhancement or “rarer trait” that will allow holders to increase the value of existing Yuga Labs's tokens.
Again, the top overall score will receive the ultimate prize, or what Yuga is calling the “key.” While what exactly the key is, or will be, remains a mystery, community members like Dookey Boosters only need to look at the high overall value of Yuga digital assets before drawing the conclusion that whatever rewards are given, they could carry tremendous value, if not grant special privileges.
After all, the floor price on a BAYC token is currently about $115,000. And at least at one time celebrities like Justin Bieber, Mark Cuban, and Snoop Dogg all owned one, according to Yuga Labs.
While the trading volume for Sewer Passes is already through the roof, the market for passes might receive another massive boost after gameplay halts on Feb. 8, according to Dookey Boosters.
“We may see a big uptick in volume,” they said, highlighting the fact that in the week after scores are frozen and become bound to corresponding passes a lot of people might be looking to pay for a top score and ensure they aren’t left out of whatever Yuga Labs has planned.
On Feb. 15 the highest scoring passes are slated to receive their award in an event Yuga has dubbed “The Summoning.”
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