Called “the first of its kind” by its creators in a statement, the Polygon-powered Immutable zkEVM chain has been built expressly for gaming.
According to Immutable’s blog, game developers report several problems with existing chains. Games need high performance—lots of bandwidth is needed for frequent operations that happen at speed. A blockchain that takes minutes to finalize a transaction doesn’t fit the bill.
In contrast to many general-purpose uses of a blockchain, game developers need an environment that prioritizes speed and scalability, according to Immutable. They believe their new chain addresses latency issues and steep gas fees that plague chains like Ethereum mainnet.
By allowing game developers to pay transaction fees behind the scenes, the chain will also offer a gas-free gaming experience to players who use Immutable’s Passport non-custodial wallet. This allows game developers to eliminate a significant part of the friction of web3 gaming for users, who will be able to play games and trade items without paying for gas.
Immutable zkEVM also offers tools to help global web3 gaming companies comply with crucial regulations, like barring users from sanctioned countries and banning accounts connected with terrorism and crime.
To Robbie Ferguson, president & co-founder of Immutable, the release of Immutable zkEVM is significant for web3 gaming as a whole.
“This is a chain built exclusively for gamers and gaming studios, and every step of the way, our development team made sure to implement any and all aspects a targeted gaming audience could ask for. Over the last 12 months, over 200 games have committed to building on Immutable, bringing our market share close to 70%. 2024 is going to be the year a large number of these games go live, and we’ll see tens of millions of players adopt the next gaming experience,” he said in a statement.
The new blockchain is compatible with Ethereum mainnet and integrates fully with Immutable’s existing products. Games planned to launch on Immutable zkEVM include Guild of Guardians, Treeverse, and Cool Cats.
“Immutable zkEVM eliminates friction for game studios through a number of avenues, but there are a couple that I want to highlight specifically,” Michael Powell, Immutable’s head of product marketing, tells nft now. “First, game developers are able to easily migrate existing EVM-based smart contracts to the Immutable zkEVM environment or use our smart contract templates so they don’t have to start from scratch and can spend more of their resources building a great game. Second, Immutable zkEVM offers gas free functionality for gamers who use Immutable Passport, significantly reducing the primary point of friction in the user experience. Games can make it so players will be able to play and trade without ever being introduced to the concept of gas! For games looking to build plant-scale games on Ethereum, there simply isn’t a better option.”
Immutable zkEVM is currently in early access mode, with a handful of gaming and ecosystem partners using the chain at launch. Project developers who are interested in launching on the new chain can sign up for a waitlist and will be admitted to the mainnet in phases. Any developer can also deploy on the Immutable zkEVM testnet.
“In contrast to general-purpose chains, which are designed to support a broad set of applications and smart contract functionality, Immutable zkEVM is built for games,” says Powell. “While friction, high transaction costs, and latency may be acceptable in other markets, games need to optimize for scale, speed, and native user experiences. Games also need an ecosystem where they can thrive. That’s why Immutable zkEVM also enables direct integration into Immutable’s platform of gaming products and features a breadth of partners across game development, distribution, marketing, marketplaces, analytics, and more to give game studios everything they need to succeed in one place.”