Aqua, a gaming NFT marketplace that aimed to empower players to own and trade their in-game assets, has announced its closure after less than two years of operation.
The decision was made public by CEO Sean Ryan on LinkedIn. was attributed to the slower-than-expected growth of the web3 gaming sector and the difficulties securing funding.
Aqua was founded in 2022 by Ryan, a former VP at Facebook, with the vision of creating a player-focused platform that would support NFTs from various games and blockchains.
Aqua integrated with scaling solutions like Polygon and Immutable X to offer low-cost and fast transactions for gamers.
Aqua also featured games like Gods Unchained, Herolight, Highrise, and Kiraverse on its marketplace.
However, despite its ambitious concept, Aqua failed to gain traction in a market that has seen a decline in user activity and interest.
Ryan admitted that while the idea of gamers owning their assets is still valid, the timeline to achieving mass-market scale in web3 was longer than anticipated.
He also revealed that Aqua faced challenges in raising funds from investors who were skeptical about the potential of web3 gaming.
Aqua’s closure follows a series of setbacks and changes within the web3 gaming industry. For example, Gamestop recently discontinued its NFT wallet, citing regulatory concerns,
Several projects have also pivoted or rebranded to adapt to the shifting landscape. As the sector navigates these uncertainties, Aqua’s closure serves as both a cautionary tale and a catalyst for reflection and innovation.
The journey towards integrating blockchain in gaming continues, albeit with a recognition of the hurdles and a rebalanced approach to market readiness.