Polygon and Immutable Launch New Network for Gaming on the Blockchain

Polygon and Immutable, both heavyweights in the Ethereum scaling space, are teaming up to create a new network purpose-built for Web3 gaming powered by Polygon’s highly anticipated zkEVM technology.

Polygon Labs and Immutable today announced a “strategic alliance” to collaborate on the creation of Immutable zkEVM, a new Ethereum scaling network that will combine Polygon’s soon-to-be-launched zkEVM technology with the Immutable platform, designed for Ethereum-based gaming. blockchain. The news came amid the kickoff of the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC).

To be clear, Polygon and Immutable are not merging, and will continue their respective projects and initiatives. Polygon’s zkEVM mainnet will launch in beta on March 27, while the Immutable X scaling network, based on StarkEx zk-Rollup technology, will also continue alongside the new Immutable zkEVM network.

Immutable co-founder and president Robbie Ferguson told Decrypt that the partnership was an “obvious move” allowing the major builders behind both existing networks to combine their efforts in the service of Web3 video game adoption.

“For us, this is the defining moment,” Ferguson said. “That’s how the next billion users will get on Web3.”

Both are Ethereum scaling networks: Polygon’s current primary network is a sidechain, while Immutable X is a Layer 2 network. Although the approaches are different, ultimately both make Ethereum more useful for things like video games, projects Large-scale NFTs and other decentralized applications (dapps) by enabling faster and cheaper transactions than the main Ethereum network.

A zkEVM solution like the one from Polygon and others is expected to take Ethereum scaling to the next level, pairing zero-knowledge proof crypto-based transaction rollups with full Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) support. In other words, it is presented as a fast and secure solution, natively compatible with the functions of smart contract owned by Ethereum.

However, Immutable X and Polygon are competing scaling networks, and have previously competed to attract developers, brands, and users alike.

Polygon Labs president Ryan Wyatt admitted to Decrypt that it was a bit awkward at first to discuss a unified path forward when the two sides started chatting about nine months ago.

“When we first met, yeah, it was hard to understand,” Wyatt said. “It took a while for both parties to realize: Okay, does this make sense to all of us? The more we talked and the more time we spent together, the more natural it became.”

Ferguson said that despite their history as competitors, both Polygon and Immutable X were looking to scale Ethereum rather than trying to compete against it as a Tier 1 rival. That shared belief in scaling Ethereum’s capabilities, rather than trying to to beat it with a new bespoke network, it also gave them a shared base to work from.

“(That) made it a very easy philosophical alignment,” Ferguson added, “once we look past the intense competition we’ve had on the gaming front over the past two years.”

According to Ferguson, Immutable zkEVM is scheduled to start rolling out in late Q2 2023, which is when Immutable “aims to get usable things rolling”, but developers can start exploring the technology with kits today. software development kit (SDK).

The network will use Immutable’s IMX token for gas fees and transaction sequencing. The existing Immutable X network will continue to operate, and Ferguson said his team’s goal is to develop cross-network liquidity.

He also expects bridges to be built to help move assets between Immutable zkEVM and Polygon’s own zkEVM network, for example.

Ultimately, the pair said they see Immutable zkEVM as the best of both worlds, a network that will utilize Polygon’s next-generation scaling technology while leveraging the gaming infrastructure Immutable has built, providing a potentially compelling venue for gamers to play. developers to take root as the market for Web3 games expands.

Wyatt believes that Web3 games are getting closer to mainstream adoption, despite previous rejection by many fans of traditional video games. He points to this weekend’s live event for shooter Deadrop, from Polygon – a studio founded by Twitch personality Guy “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm – as an example of Web3 games that can appeal to a wide audience.

As he also recently commented on the gm podcast of DecryptWyatt reiterated what he sees as a growing push to “abstract a lot of the crypto and tech jargon” around Web3 games, and just focus on “really fun games where I own assets that I pay for, I can trade with them easily, and I can have this really seamless experience.

“That’s ultimately what the partnership combination does,” he said.

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