While DeFi drove the first major wave of usable blockchain-powered applications in 2020, today, it is quite apparent that newer DeFi applications have grown in complexity, potentially making it difficult to attract the average user. In light of this, the industry has been looking beyond finance with the potential to bring the next wave of users. One of those verticals is gaming.

A general purpose chain is not an ideal platform for games

Some have found that general purpose chains fall short in meeting the requirements of popular games — such as scalability, customizability and so on. Appchains then popped up as an attractive proposition for game developers. Take CryptoKitties for example. They were the first popular blockchain game on Ethereum. CryptoKitties later moved to its own chain called Flow.

An appchain allows a game developer to own a dedicated blockspace, which enables them to customize different aspects of the network and the chain itself. There could be scenarios where owning the blockspace could be the only way to deploy a game. For instance, a fully on-chain game can be quite complex to a point where it might be impossible to deploy the game contracts on a chain without resorting to breaking down the game logic into different contracts. Moreover, a general purpose chain often trades-off useability over security, whereas it is mostly the other way around for game developers. A game with a poor game experience will find no gamers. Hence, it is important for game developers to be able to modify the chain specifications to suit their needs.

As most blockchain games have been highly financialized, it has become important for game developers to have more avenues to utilize their tokens. Owning a dedicated chain allows developers to decide on the token that could drive the entire gaming ecosystem together and also reduce the friction that may arise from an external foreign token, for example ETH.

Web3 games that are ideal for Flash Layer rollups

Not all games are made equal, and as an extension — their needs from a platform may vary. i.e., a platform suitable for one type of game may not be suitable for another. Below, we identify two types of games that are ideal for Flash Layer rollups.

MINI GAMES: Mini-games are often used for different types of events to create engagement or do marketing for a full-blown game launch. These games have a very short lifespan (maximum a couple of weeks), as they are event-driven or are played in discrete rounds. Imagine something like Among us (in the Web2 gaming space) or Dark Forest (in the Web3 space). Games like these are short-lived but often create a huge spike in transaction volume due to the hype and incentives around them. Here is an example of a Dark Forest community round and its transaction footprint.

The flash layer offering from AltLayer is ideal for such games as the execution layer is game-dedicated and can be disposed of when a round is over and any in-game assets minted during the game can be settled back on the underlying chain and therefore could be traded on marketplaces like OpenSea. When the next round starts, a new flash layer can be set up. This makes the entire system highly resource optimized with 0 waste of validators’ resources.

INDIE GAMES: These games are often developed by smaller gaming studios or independent gaming teams. They can attract a substantial number of gamers through explicit marketing, word of mouth or other means. However, due to their inherent indie nature and a much smaller budget under which they operate (compared to the more established gaming companies), their gamer base stagnates very quickly to a point where the number of active players starts declining after about 6–8 months, with their lifespan averaging at no more than a year. Following this, the game developers have to go back to the drawing board and build a new version of the game or build an entirely new game and deprecate the old one. Just to reiterate, a game driving a few hundred or a million transactions a day would not be efficient in using a general purpose chain.

As argued earlier, a persistent network does not make sense for these games either as the cost incurred to incentivize the validators to maintain the network can be quite considerable once the DAUs start to drop after 6 or 8 months. The flash layer offering from AltLayer again makes more sense here as developers could move all the assets minted during the heydays of the game to an underlying chain and dispose of the execution layer temporarily and when a new version of the game is ready, they could instantiate a new flash layer and bring all the assets back from the underlying chain and make them composable with the new game.

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