Web3 gaming platform Immutable has commenced public testing of its Immutable zkEVM in collaboration with Polygon Labs.
Work on the zero-knowledge Ethereum virtual machine (zkEVM) network began in March after Immutable announced a partnership with Polygon Labs. Polygon’s own ‘holy grail’ Ethereum-scaling zkEVM hit mainnet on March 27.
In an Aug. 14 announcement, Immutable said its zkEVM will give game developers access to lower development costs, and the security and network effects that come with the Ethereum ecosystem. In March, Immutable co-founder and president Robbie Ferguson said the zkEVM is aimed at increasing ownership rights for Web3 gamers.
Over 20 gaming companies have partnered with Immutable to support the launch, including GameStop, TokenTrove marketplace, Web-based game distributor Kongregate, game designer iLogos, and others, according to Immutable.
At least 12 games have already started building their Web3 titles on zkEVM, it added. These include CoinArcade, Galaxy Commanders, Medieval Empires, MetalCore, Meta Toy, DragonZ SAGA, Rune Realms, Shardbound, Infinite Victory, EF Defense, and SimWin Football. MetalCore in particular has announced a beta launch date of September 15 on Immutable zkEVM.
Immutable zkEVM testnet will use zero-knowledge proofs to secure transfers between itself and Sepolia Ethereum, allowing developers to test out how the mainnet version will work once it launches.
The network is fully compatible with Ethereum applications, meaning that developers can port Ethereum projects over to it with minimal changes, Immutable stated. The team will also be deploying an “Immutable Relayer for currency abstraction and gas sponsorship” soon, which will allow developers to create gas-less wallet accounts.
Immutable chief technology officer and co-founder Alex Connolly expressed his view that the new network will be “irresistible” to developers, stating:
“This chain, combined with our suite of platform products, is the first end-to-end EVM solution dedicated exclusively to making games successful. We’re already seeing a massive influx from games, players and partners that will make the Immutable ecosystem irresistible for the next generation of web3 games.”
Immutable is the developer of the Gods Unchained Web3 trading card game, which was originally launched on Ethereum. In April 2021, the company launched its first zero-knowledge-based layer 2 network Immutable X in an attempt to lower transaction fees for players of its games.
Related: Immutable’s Gods Unchained launches on Epic Games Store
However, that network is not fully compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), the computation engine that Ethereum uses. For this reason, users of Immutable X must create derivative keys through a web interface in order to use the network. By contrast, users should now be able to simply switch networks within their wallets to access Immutable zkEVM.
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has recently weighed in on the benefits and disadvantages of zkEVMs, saying that they may cause data inefficiency and latency issues but may also greatly improve the scalability of Ethereum.