Web3 gaming firm Immutable and layer-2 blockchain Polygon hope that a new strategic alliance will accelerate innovation and adoption in the nascent crypto gaming space, the two companies announced at the Game Developer Conference on Monday.
“For us this is a pretty obvious play,” Robbie Ferguson, co-founder and president of Immutable, said. “We realized very quickly the scaling limitations of Ethereum, but we never wanted to compete with it.” Polygon could help Immutable avoid Ethereum congestion and costs without having to build its own alternative.
The alliance will focus on making web3-enabled games faster, easier and less risky for larger gaming studios and independent developers to get involved.
Last year, games building on both platforms received about $2 billion in investor funding, Ferguson and Ryan Wyatt, president of Polygon Labs, shared with TechCrunch.
“For me, this is like the next evolution of mainstream adoption,” Wyatt said. “You’re already starting to see blockchain games with higher fidelity.”
Immutable’s new zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM) — fancy terminology for virtual machines that compress data to improve scaling and security on the blockchain — will be powered by Polygon technology and supported on its platform. Polygon’s zkEVM scaling technology aims to lower transaction costs while remaining compatible and secure with the layer-1 blockchain Ethereum, which is critical for the long-term growth of the blockchain and its ecosystem.
Polygon is “a very clean, well-polished end-to-end solution and market for game developers and gamers,” Wyatt said. “There’s been some skepticism about where this can go and what is it going to look like […] now you’re going to see it go into overdrive these next couple of years.”
Combining the two companies’ technologies could help scale transactions 100 to 1,000 times more than before, Ferguson said.
While this initiative is new, both platforms have formed massive gaming ecosystems through partnerships and integrations with gaming studios, traditional businesses and crypto companies.
Polygon Labs, the team behind the decentralized Polygon protocol, has worked with gaming companies like Square Enix, Neowiz, Midnight Society, Plai Labs and Tilting Point. The company’s layer-2 scaling solution has seen notable adoption, including tens of thousands of decentralized apps deployed, more than 220 million unique addresses served, more than 1 million smart contracts deployed and billions of total transactions processed since inception, it shared.
The Polygon network is also integrated into crypto projects like Aave, Uniswap and OpenSea, and well-known enterprises including Robinhood, Stripe and Adobe, which could help extend its reach even further.
The Polygon network also hosts some of the biggest web3 gaming projects and publishers like Ubisoft, Atari, Animoca Brands, Decentraland and Sandbox, among others. In the past year, Polygon partnered with a number of other big brands like Starbucks for its Odyssey digital collectible rewards program and Disney for its accelerator program, while also having major clothing brands like Prada and Adidas launch NFT projects through its blockchain.
Separately, Immutable has onboarded web3 games and initiatives to its platform in recent months, including brands like GameStop, DC Comics, TikTok and Marvel and IP from Disney and Star Wars. The platform also launched a $500 million fund in June to boost web3 gaming adoption.
The announcements noted above may point toward growth in the web3 gaming industry; more brands entering the web3 gaming space could grow the larger decentralized gaming market, somewhat akin to how integrations between Web 2.0 companies have historically helped grow their own reach.
“Gamers just want to play great games; it’s that simple,” Wyatt said. “You really just got to get to a point where you’re abstracting the crypto and jargon away and then have just a really exciting game. And that’s what’s coming on the horizon.”