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8/22/2023

Immutable's Product Strategy: A Deep Dive

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TL;DR

In the latest Immutable community Town Hall, we conducted a deep dive into Immutable’s product strategy, explaining the technical choices that we are making in order to build the best possible products for web3 game developers. More importantly, we explore how the execution of this strategy will allow us to achieve our mission of bringing digital ownership to the world, starting with gaming.

1. Make It Incredibly Simple to Build a Web3 Game

At Immutable, we're making building a web3 game more accessible and efficient by simplifying the development process. We believe dealing with smart contracts should be a thing of the past, so we've created audited default templates for developers to interact via APIs, ensuring a solid tech stack. 

We're also enhancing user experiences to make digital asset purchases as simple as using Apple Pay. Our conviction in Checkout, Mint, and Passport are geared towards achieving this frictionless experience. Moreover, we're focused on creating network effects and expanding our ecosystem. Games on Immutable gain unmatched liquidity because they're accessible across all wrap, roll-up platforms, and wallets through our unified infrastructure. 

In essence, we're making web3 gaming easy, fair, secure, and accessible for all.

2. A Ruthless Focus on Gaming

Presently, we are building very specific platform use cases for games, and games only.

Instead of catering to a wide range of sectors, we are laser-focused on providing the best ecosystem and tools for game developers. This includes high transaction speeds, uncompromised security, and an unrivaled user experience. We want to make building blockchain-enabled games as efficient, secure, and easy as possible.

As game builders ourselves, we also take action on the best practices we preach to other games, unlike many other blockchains or platforms that prefer to advise from a distance. We have skin in the game, and we practice what we preach. Immutable Games, our studio, is currently building five high-quality game titles and working on the front lines directly with iOS, Android, and Play stores. 

We leverage our internal studio to create IP given to every game developed on our platform, mirroring the successful strategy used by Valve with Steam. Our go-to-market strategy is also gaming-focused—if you're not building a game, we're not for you. We are dedicated to championing what we believe will be the first mainstream crypto use case beyond payments: gaming.

3. More Than a Platform: Owning Vertical Integration

Vertical integration enables a lot of the magic that Immutable is able to do. The problem with only building a platform or just building at the rollup layer limits the ability to create a unified experience if a player wants to sell an item in game and buy it on a different marketplace. Further, if a player wanted to use their wallet in one area and trade it on a different game, those two trades can't match. Different games on different chains also contributes to this order-matching and fragmentation problem

Unlike others who operate at one layer of the stack, Immutable is building towards ensuring seamless interactions regardless of the game, rollup, wallet, or marketplace used. This approach generates a vast pool of liquidity that benefits both players and game developers—players get the best prices and developers gain optimal access to build. This integration will include a wide array of Immutable tools, including Passport, Orderbook, Blockchain Data APIs, NFT Minting, Checkout, DevHub, and Gaming SDKs.

Currently, we offer two rollups—Immutable zkEVM and Immutable X—with the former designed to be the first mainstream-optimized ZK rollup for games with EVM compatibility, allowing developers to easily onboard projects built on Ethereum L1. Immutable X is powered by StarkEX and Immutable zkEVM is powered by Polygons' open source ZK tech stack. This allows us to abstract the ZK logic with a swap, combined with a user transaction into a seamless single click on the Immutable Passport without compromising on security.

4. Immutable Passport: A Mainstream-Friendly User Experience

One of the fundamental hurdles that will make or break the ability for blockchain and web3 games becoming mainstream is the degree of ease and safety for new players accessing your game. 

Immutable Passport is solving this by removing onboarding friction and for players with a secure single-sign-on wallet. Players will be able to seamlessly sign in to a game without even knowing they have to use NFTs or knowing what a private key is while not compromising on self custody.

We refuse to risk asset security through measures like custodial wallets. We believe that users should inherently own their stuff and only make compromises if they choose to. Logging in with Passport is as simple as using Google OAuth, Email, or Apple, and we're working on integrating it with Unity and Unreal. Our system is entirely secure and self-custodial, utilizing a multi-signature architecture.

Passport will be one of the key drivers of mainstream player adoption, and we have the numbers to back it up. We recently conducted a case study which compared Passport versus traditional Email and Wallet Creation flows with over 7,000 participants. 

The result: Passport saw over double the completion rate compared to Email + Wallet signups. This means that new players are twice as likely to be converted for a game using Immutable Passport compared to traditional wallet solutions.

The numbers are incredibly exciting - our goal is to create an experience as frictionless as installing an app from the App Store and paying with Apple Pay. We're committed to enhancing Passport's functionality, and our primary focus is to continually refine this mainstream user experience with instant confirmations and self-custodial properties, and roll out Passport to any game on any platform.

We recently launched Passport on Immutable zkEVM Testnet, with future plans to enable logging to Unreal and Unity. From there, Passport will be the key that unlocks in-game transactions and evolves into a product that offers rewards, a mobile app, and an aggregator platform to find the best content and games.

5. Global Orderbook and Marketplace Network

One of the features we're most excited about at Immutable is our Global Orderbook and Marketplace Network. It addresses a significant issue that every player and trader faces: the friction between selling an asset within a game and buying it on a marketplace.

Players want the convenience of selling assets directly within the game they're playing, without having to navigate to a separate marketplace, list their asset for sale, and then check back to see when it's been sold, all while managing their inventory and trying to enjoy the game. Meanwhile, buyers often prefer marketplaces that offer tailored user experiences, such as Gods Unchained decks, where you can buy a deck from scratch and only pay for the cards you need.

We're bridging this gap via our Global Orderbook and Marketplace Network which vastly improves liquidity. We've already seen a doubling of liquidity through this system, with more than 50% of all trades on the Immutable protocol listed in one area and bought in another. As more games become sell-side liquidity providers and more marketplaces provide superior experiences, the system will continue to improve. Marketplaces can create the best experiences and take fees for the value they provide. Plus, with our guaranteed royalties, creators can enforce royalty payments and continue to get rewarded for their value no matter where these assets are traded.

This creates an exciting new business model that aligns player and game developer incentives. Instead of focusing only on primary sale monetization, developers can grow the size of the economy and the player base, taking a small percentage of every trade. This model is far more aligned with the current gaming landscape and offers significant potential for growth.

6. Becoming the One-Stop Shop for All Web3 Games

Immutable’s vision is to be the one-stop-shop for all web3 games. While there's still more to do, we're incredibly proud of what our product team has achieved to date. The fact that we've never had any major security or brand incidents speaks volumes about the technical choices we've made and the rigorous standards we adhere to.

Today, we are thrilled to share that over 150 of the highest-quality and experienced game studios across the industry have chosen to build on Immutable. These titles span across a plethora of genres ranging from sports, MMOs, FPS, casual, action, trading card games, to strategy games.

We are particularly excited about the potential of mobile games in Asia. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Asia games market will become the vanguard for web3 development and adoption, and we are incredibly excited to expand further in the region for the coming year. Our mission is to continue serving as the preferred ecosystem and fully integrated solution for all web3 games, providing a secure, efficient, and seamless experience for both developers and players alike.

The success of Immutable's product strategy can be characterized by achieving the following:

  1. Achieving a Single Hit Game: The gaming industry is power-law driven, meaning the most successful game will have more users than all other games combined. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has generated over $32 billion over the last three years alone. Our goal is to find, enable, and help scale a hit on this magnitude. It only takes one viral title with hundreds of millions of players to accelerate mainstream adoption.

  1. Maximizing Value for Games and Economies: We aim to optimize design for games, economies, and well as for players themselves. Once we have a successful model in place, we can start to fine-tune and develop playbooks for others to follow.

  1. Securing Giant Partnerships: Once we can prove that game developers can generate more revenue and experience better growth using our model, we plan to scale this  approach to every game company in the world. We'll present the science, data, and evidence of successful games to persuade them to adopt our approach.

  1. Expanding Beyond Gaming: While gaming is our current focus, we believe there's a vast untapped market in unique digital value. NFTs allow people to have digital custody and aligned incentives. We envision tokenizing all meaningful forms of real-world value, from term deposits, insurance contracts, to physical property like sneakers, commodities, oil, and wine.

In the long run, we aim to create more efficient markets, provide better value for everyday consumers, and establish enduring digital property rights as the world becomes increasingly virtual. Although it will take time for this market to mature fully, the infrastructure we're building today will pave the way for trillions of digital unique goods with liquidity, security, and true digital property rights.

Immutable is the home for Ethereum gaming. 

If you are a game development studio, we would love to get in touch.

Looking to start building a game? Join the Immutable Hub and access our Developer Docs.

Check out all the games building with Immutable!

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