Ethereum Layer-2 Immutable zkEVM Launches—Here's When Games Are Coming



Immutable zkEVM, a new gaming-centric Ethereum layer-2 network powered by Polygon’s zkEVM technology, has launched its mainnet in “early access,” offering a first opportunity for developers to begin building on the chain.

According to Immutable, the firm behind the network and also the current Immutable X network, Immutable zkEVM will remain in a limited early access configuration for now, which means only approved developers can build on the network.

A representative said that Immutable zkEVM hopes to open up access to all builders sometime in 2024, although nothing has been confirmed yet. In the meantime, the zkEVM testnet is available for studios to experiment and test on.

“The launch of Immutable zkEVM marks a major milestone in our mission to build the best end-to-end experience for Web3 games,” Immutable Head of Product Marketing Michael Powell told Decrypt’s GG. “The chain is uniquely positioned to empower game studios to grow their game’s economy, protect their communities, and create frictionless experiences for their users.”

“It represents the next step in developing a gaming ecosystem that benefits players, studios, and developers,” he continued. “Most importantly, it makes it easier to build great games by offering gas-free functionality for players, turnkey product integrations and smart contract templates, and a secure gaming environment.”

Action role-playing game Guild of Guardians and card-based strategy game Shardbound, both published by Immutable itself, will launch on Immutable zkEVM sometime during the first half of 2024, a company representative told Decrypt’s GG.

Another game set to go live on Immutable zkEVM during the same span is MetalCore, a mech-battling action game that Decrypt’s GG tested in 2023 with promising results. Matt Candler, CEO of developer Studio369, said to expect “community missions and play test milestones” ahead for players in the run-up to the launch.

By building on Immutable zkEVM, we can implement even more features that will leverage the collective development efforts of the entire Ethereum ecosystem,” he told Decrypt’s GG. “We’re ready to leverage this breakthrough technology to deliver the next generation of blockchain games that are fun and show MetalCore players what the power of Web3 can deliver.”

Immutable zkEVM was announced in March 2023 as a collaboration between Polygon and Immutable, two leaders in the Ethereum scaling space, as a way to combine their efforts to build a core destination for crypto and NFT games. Immutable co-founder and President Robbie Ferguson called the network “the endgame” for the company’s Web3 gaming plans at the time.

Immutable’s IMX token has become the most valuable gaming token by market cap, according to data from CoinGecko, ranked 36th among all cryptocurrencies at a current price just above $2.00 as of this writing. IMX is up over 200% over the past year as the broader crypto market has emerged from the depths of a prolonged bear cycle.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.



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