Will Arbitrum’s performance improvement become a paradise for Web3 games?

Author: WILLIAM M. PEASTER Translator: Deep Tide TechFlow

Arbitrum One, with a total locked value of over $5.29 billion, is currently the largest layer two (L2) scaling solution for Ethereum.

In simple terms, this network enables cryptocurrency transactions to be fast and inexpensive, and is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which means that developers can easily migrate their code from Ethereum to Arbitrum.

Arbitrum is one of the earliest launched Optimistic rollups, so its timing and features have allowed it to dominate today, as evidenced by the fact that it currently has the largest L2 DeFi scene.

Arbitrum has faced more challenges in the NFT field from other L2 scaling solutions, which means that other scaling solutions such as Optimism, Zora Network, and Base have seemingly attracted more attention from NFT builders.

Of course, the exception here is the NFT gaming field, where the team behind Arbitrum, Offchain Labs, has indeed attracted considerable interest through its recent development work.

For example, Offchain Labs launched the AnyTrust stack last year, which is a system for creating low-cost, high-security L2 systems. Although Arbitrum One batches all its transaction data to Ethereum, the AnyTrust chain reduces costs by only putting data on-chain when the committee fails, using a data availability committee (DAC).

The efficiency gained here is particularly ideal for Web3 gaming projects, as they require the fastest and cheapest transactions. Therefore, the first AnyTrust chain, Arbitrum Nova, was deployed as a custom gaming L2 in July 2022 and has become the main venue for various NFT games, the most famous of which is Pirate Nation.

Then, in March 2023, the Arbitrum Foundation launched Arbitrum Orbit, a new system for creating third-layer (L3) scaling solutions that settle on Arbitrum chains (such as Arbitrum One, Arbitrum Nova, etc.) instead of settling directly on Ethereum.

Why choose L3? They are highly customizable and well-suited for high-volume use cases such as gaming. That’s why Offchain Labs is helping develop the first L3, Xai Chain, which is specifically designed to promote next-generation on-chain gaming.

But the AnyTrust and Orbit stacks are just the beginning. The new key revolution that Arbitrum brings to gaming is Stylus.

Arbitrum is on the edge of transitioning from its V2 development environment Nitro to the new V3 system Stylus. This system will not only significantly reduce gas costs, but also allow smart contracts to be written in mainstream programming languages compatible with WASM, such as C, C++, and Rust.

This is a groundbreaking development for on-chain games! For example, C++ has high performance and fine resource control, widely used in many game engines, including the very popular Unreal Engine.

In other words, game developers no longer need to learn and master the subtle differences between Ethereum’s Solidity or Vyper languages, but can use familiar languages to write contract logic. These languages have been optimized over the years and provide rich libraries and tools for complex game mechanics.

This dynamic opens up new possibilities for building more complex and resource-intensive games on-chain, while also gaining the security and decentralization guarantees of Ethereum through Arbitrum!

It should be noted that currently Stylus is only running on public test networks, but it is clear that it will have a significant impact in the future. Developer cygaar has already deployed a contract written in Rust on the test network and found that significant gas savings can be achieved compared to Solidity.

All in all, considering the trinity of AnyTrust, Orbit, and Stylus, I believe the Arbitrum ecosystem has great potential to become the dominant Web3 game center in the coming years, including L2 and L3 protected and rewarded by Ethereum.

However, even from now on, the game prospects of Arbitrum can be greatly improved. For example, the upcoming EIP-4844 “Proto-Danksharding” upgrade will use blobsLianGuaice to exponentially reduce the cost of using L2. Cheaper L2 means that more advanced and high-volume on-chain game use cases will soon be achievable.

Of course, EIP-4844 will benefit all L2 (and L3) as well. And other scaling solutions such as Polygon, Optimism, and Base also have interesting game prospects. It’s just that Arbitrum seems to be positioned as the center of on-chain games, which NFT enthusiasts need to closely follow in the future!

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