Sky Mavis is the Singapore and Vietnam-based blockchain gaming company behind the popular Axie Infinity game. They've just announced the launch of four new games on their Ronin network. The company has already generated more than $1.3 billion in revenue from Axie Infinity and is now looking to expand their offerings through the addition of these new Web3 games. To support the launch, Sky Mavis has upgraded Ronin's blockchain for better security and efficiency. The company has also unveiled the first game studios to build and launch games on the Ronin network: Directive Games, Tribes, Bali Games, and Bowled.io. Sky Mavis will make direct equity investments in some of these companies as part of their long-term plan.
The Ronin blockchain has been improved to use a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism. This enhances the security and efficiency of the blockchain. The DPoS upgrade allows anyone with a minimum of 250,000 RON (the token for the Ronin network) to become a validator and participate in block production. This in turn allows users to vote and elect delegates to validate the next block in a more democratic process. This is also more energy-efficient than traditional blockchain protocols. The goal is to decentralize Ronin, which is an Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) blockchain with a trading volume of $4.2 billion. Sky Mavis is also opening up RON staking to all RON holders, allowing them to participate in validator selection. The selected validators then share a part of their rewards with the delegators. RON staking is open, with rewards starting on April 12.
The company has faced security challenges in the past, with a hack resulting in the theft of $620 million from the Ronin network. However, they have taken steps to improve its security and has refunded all users from their own balance sheet. Sky Mavis is committed to providing a secure environment for their users and is taking basic security measures seriously.
Axie Infinity experienced a surge in popularity during the NFT craze in 2021, with 2.7 million daily active users at its peak. The game helped to create jobs for communities in the Philippines where unemployment rates were high, and some players were able to earn three times the minimum wage in a month. However, the cost of creating new players rose, and players struggled to sustain gameplay, leading to a decline in users. Despite this, the game remains resilient, with long-term players who are invested in the community and the concept of true ownership of assets. The creators of Axie Infinity are focused on building more utility for the game and maintaining the quality of the product. The recent decrease in prices has resulted in the return of community members who were involved in the game before, who are now acting as mentors and supporting other players. Axie Infinity created the infrastructure for its millions of users through Ronin, which has been downloaded by over four million people for cryptocurrency trading.
Sky Mavis is expanding their ecosystem by offering their technology to create games on their infrastructure. Partnerships with game studios will allow them to build games on Sky Mavis' Ronin sidechain. It's specifically designed for gaming and offers fast and cheap transactions. The company has set up Mavis Hub as a distribution center for other games and has a department dedicated to working with game studios to leverage Sky Mavis' tools. The company has been vetting hundreds of game studios to find the best partners to bring into the ecosystem and has picked about 15 teams to make games, many of which are fan-generated games. With more than four million people having downloaded Ronin wallets for trading cryptocurrency, Sky Mavis is hoping to generate Web3 users by leveraging their assets and building community.
Among the studios partnering with Sky Mavis is Directive Games, which has developed a hero shooter game called The Machines Arena. While the game will initially be launched on the Epic Games Store without any Web3 elements, Sky Mavis will work with the developers and community members to gradually introduce these features.
Tribes Studio, created by a former executive at King and Scopely, will launch community-led gaming and build titles on their IP Tribesters. Their main experience will be an open-world MMO called Tribesters: Island of Solas, and prior to launching the MMO, Tribes will launch a community engagement platform that enables the community to help build their games and be rewarded for it.
Bali Games, makers of the Korean smash-hit Anipang series, will create Axie-inspired puzzle games to expand the Axie IP and lore. They will also give more utility to the Axie game characters and create their own native IP.
Lastly, Bowled.io, a company that runs a sports-based social gaming platform, will helps fans discover and play games, own in-game sports assets, and interact with their favorite sports influencers. The game is not a Web3 game at the outset, but the team is adding Web3 elements by working with Sky Mavis. The partnership will also involve developing a cricket-based game for the Indian market, which the co-founders see as a key emerging market due to its young population and interest in gaming. “India is an emerging market that we want to tap into,” Osgood said. “They have one of the youngest populations and they are open and exploring gaming. India is a market that we haven’t necessarily tapped into in a meaningful capacity.”
Sky Mavis CEO Nguyen believes that the future of gaming lies in creating an interconnected ecosystem where players can use their assets in different experiences and store their progress through their NFT assets. He also sees potential for working with big game studios that already have existing intellectual property and Web2 games, and is excited to welcome new partners to the Ronin network.
The co-founders believe that NFTs will become increasingly important to players, even if they don't hold significant monetary value, because they will have an emotional attachment to them and a story to tell about how they acquired them. They compare this to the popularity of characters like Mario in the Nintendo universe, which have become cultural icons in today's world.