Web3 Gaming: What Is Ronin?

What is Ronin

TL;DR
Ronin is an EVM-compatible sidechain that was first developed by Sky Mavis in order to run Web3 game Axie Infinity. However, Ronin has now expanded beyond just Axie Infinity, and is on its way to becoming a hub of activity for Web3 gaming development, with several new titles launching, and migrating from other chains. Ronin also, this month, launched the Ronin Name Service.

When it comes to NFTs and Web3, gaming is one of the most exciting areas to watch, and one of the current key networks for Web3 gaming is Ronin. To get an idea of where Ronin is heading, let’s explore the ecosystem and how it’s been performing, and get to know some of its major projects and applications.

What is Ronin?

Ronin is an EVM-compatible Layer 2 sidechain, meaning it’s part of the Ethereum ecosystem and works as a gaming-specialized scaling solution to lower costs and improve efficiency.

Launched on mainnet in February 2021, Ronin is backed by Sky Mavis, who you may know as the company behind the standout blockchain game of the last crypto bull run, Axie Infinity. In fact, Ronin was created to directly address the scaling problems Axie Infinity ran into on Ethereum, which–due to congestion and high gas fees–is not suitable on its own for large-scaling gaming.

Ronin
Image credit: Sky Mavis

At a time when other Layer 2 solutions were more focused on DeFi, Ronin, with the concrete aim of making Axie work, was laser-focused on gaming utility.

Setbacks and Boosts

In March 2022, Ronin suffered a major setback when the network was hacked for around $650 million, raising belated concerns about vulnerability through a lack of decentralization.

However, in the first half of this year, Ronin then received a huge boost as it switched consensus mechanism to what’s called delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS), making it more decentralized and, as a result, enhancing security.

Also, at the beginning of this year, Ronin launched its gaming development platform (the Sky Mavis Developer Portal), making it clear that the network was no longer only about Axie, and would function as a base for other Web3 gaming projects.

Ronin’s Recent Performance

This month saw a surge in the number of active addresses on Ronin, as they more than quadrupled to over 80,000, before dipping sharply back down again. This comes with the migration to Ronin of a game called Pixels, which has boosted user numbers, even accounting for that subsequent dip.

Ronin
Chart from Nansen

We’ve also seen big increases in the price of Ronin’s native token, RON, which has gained, at the time of writing, over 100% this month. This comes after an enormous gain of around 700% in the first half of the year, corresponding with Ronin’s switch to DPoS.

Ronin
RON token price

However, it should be noted that there was a big correction between these two surges, demonstrating the volatility of the token, and also that both increases correspond with gains being made all around the crypto space.

Ronin Gaming

As mentioned, although Ronin was initially built for Axie Infinity, there are now multiple projects developing on the network, but let’s start with a quick look at that flagship product.

Axie Infinity

Ronin
Image credit: Axie Infinity

There was a time in 2021 when Axie Infinity was touted as the definitive blockchain game, its tokens–AXS and SLP–were soaring in value, and both players and investors were pulling in the financial rewards.

However, Axie was hit very hard by the crypto slump of 2022, and came under criticism for its underwhelming gameplay, with critics pointing out that the only motivation to play was financial, and even–according to some commenters–that there were similarities to a Ponzi scheme.

There is now broad recognition that Web3 games need to put gameplay first, and then integrate token incentives into that framework, but–despite the ups and downs–Axie is still active and evolving.

When it comes to those Axie Infinity tokens, AXS and SLP, they’re currently up by 52% and 70% this month, respectively, but down a little across the entire year, and down hugely from their peaks in 2021.

Pixels

Ronin
Image credit: Pixels

Grabbing a lot of attention this month, Pixels was previously deployed on Polygon, but migrated to Ronin on October 31st, with resounding success. User numbers have increased since switching chains, and the move is not only good for Pixels, but sent out a reminder that Ronin is about more than just Axie.

As for the game itself, it has the 8-bit look you’d expect from a game called Pixels, but when it comes to gameplay, this one seems to be all about acquiring tokens, meaning there are reasonable questions around whether that’s a sustainable dynamic.

ACT Games

Ronin
Image credit: ACT Games

Earlier this month, it was announced that Korean games developer ACT Games is partnering with Ronin and will be migrating across its range of Web3 titles, the first of which is a trading card game called Zoids Wild Arena.

ACT is known for the IP licensing it has acquired, including rights deals with Takara Tomy (relating to Zoids), Taito, and Sanrio.

Further to these choices, which are getting a lot of attention, some other Ronin projects to explore include Wild Forest, The Machines Arena, and there’s also CyberKongz, which–like Pixels–migrated to Ronin from Polygon.

Other Ronin Applications

Aside from games, there are several other essential applications to be aware of in the Ronin ecosystem, including (among several others) Mavis Market, for trading NFTs, Katana, an easy-to-use DEX, Bridge, for bridging from Ethereum to Ronin, and Ramp, for on-ramping from fiat.

Ronin
Image credit: Ronin

There’s also Ronin Wallet, which can be used as a browser extension like MetaMask, and this month, Ronin Name Service (RNS) launched, enabling the purchase of .ron names (you’ll need Ronin Wallet and some RON to buy them.)

A Web3 Gaming Hub

With an active community and gaming titles migrating to its network, Ronin is moving on from being a chain associated only with Axie Infinity. That Axie-focused foundation is still a big positive though, as Ronin has been optimized for games from day one, and is now making moves to become a hub of Web3 gaming activity, just as crypto is heating up again.

Web3 Gaming: What Is Ronin? - - 2024

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Web3 Gaming: What Is Ronin? - - 2024
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