Crypto’s Gaming Hubs 🕹
Will these ecosystems surge in 2024?
Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs and the onchain frontier
Dear Bankless Nation,
As we near the new year, there are six scaling solutions in crypto whose gaming scenes I’m watching closely right now.
Let’s take the pulse of these projects and give you some things to look out for in case the gaming sector swells in crypto in 2024!
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A Look at Leading Crypto Gaming Chains 👾
It also boasts a tech stack, like AnyTrust chains and Arbitrum Orbit, that lets projects create their own L2s and L3s, the latter of which are highly-customizable rollups that settle to an L2 rather than directly to Ethereum.
For example, Xai is a purpose-built gaming L3 currently being developed atop Arbitrum.
Additionally, the Arbitrum team has released Arbitrum Nova, their own AnyTrust-style rendition of an L2 optimized for gaming.
The liquidity and universal app scene of Arbitrum One, the Arbitrum Nova gaming sandbox, the aforementioned Rollups-as-a-Service (RaaS) offerings, and the Stylus development environment (which lets smart contracts be written in mainstream programming languages like C, C++, and Rust) have made the wider Arbitrum ecosystem increasingly attractive for crypto game devs as of late.
The most successful standalone game on Arbitrum so far has been Pirate Nation, an adventure-themed fully onchain RPG deployed on Arbitrum Nova that uses a mirroring system for compatibility with its Founder’s Pirates NFTs on Ethereum.
Similar to Arbitrum, Optimism offers its own “Superchain” tech stack that’s designed to help projects readily launch their own L2s.
The Optimism ecosystem has also notably become a hotbed for frontier crypto gaming research and innovations. For instance, the Lattice team has introduced MUD, an onchain game engine framework, and Redstone, a new Plasma-based OP Stack L2 for games and autonomous worlds.
Sky Strife, Lattice’s in-house game, is a real-time strategy (RTS) battler that’s gaining steam and gearing up for a full launch. Also watch out for other games that are coming to Lattice’s new Redstone L2, like Gaul and Primodium.
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Ronin is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) sidechain created by the Sky Mavis team to provide scaling, i.e. cheaper and faster transactions, for the Axie Infinity gaming universe.
In having facilitated more than $4.25 billion USD worth of all-time NFT sales to date, Ronin currently reigns as the most prolific gaming chain activity-wise in the cryptoeconomy.
There’s previously been some chatter about Ronin potentially migrating from a sidechain network into an L2, but there’s nothing official on that front for now.
Furthermore, Ronin is increasingly attracting non-Axie franchises to its network, like Apeiron, Pixels, and the CyberKongz games. At this point, it seems that more than a few projects will be following suit in the months ahead in order to tap into the network’s highly-active gaming community.
Developed by Coinbase, Base is an optimistic-style rollup built via the OP Stack, making it an L2 within Optimism’s Superchain. In the Ethereum scaling scene, the network’s currently the third-largest L2.
The largest franchise that uses Base today is the Parallel trading card game (TCG), which emits in-game $PRIME rewards on the L2 and has deployed some starter decks on the network. Base has also become home to a burgeoning experimental gaming scene, typified by projects like Fren Pets and Draw Tech.
Immutable X is an NFT-centric chain designed as a validium, a type of scaling solution that executes transactions offchain and maintains data offchain via zero-knowledge proofs. It’s currently the sixth-largest L2 in the Ethereum scaling scene.
The Immutable team is also presently collaborating with Polygon on the development of the Immutable zkEVM, an L2 being custom-tailored for gaming use cases. Going forward, Immutable X and Immutable zkEVM will live side by side in complementary fashion.
While there are currently many games in development atop Immutable’s infra, the most recognizable franchise in the Immutable ecosystem today is Illuvium, which is working on multiple titles like Illuvium Arena and Illuvium Overworld. Immutable’s also home to Gods Unchained, one of the longest-living NFT games in the cryptoeconomy.
Starknet is a zk-rollup L2 that supports smart contracts written in its native programming language, Cairo. An early rising pillar in Starknet’s gaming community right now is Dojo, a provable game engine built using Cairo.
Starknet is currently the ninth-largest Ethereum L2, though the network already boasts a teeming experimental gaming scene. Some of the main projects of note here today include Influence, a grand strategy space MMO, and Realms, an onchain multiplayer game set in the Loot universe.
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
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