Immutable plans to disrupt digital ownership in Web3 gaming

At the Token2049 conference in Singapore in September 2022, Immutable co-founder and president Robbie Ferguson spoke to Cointelegraph that digital users had the rights to the items and assets they acquired in the digital environment while using Web3.

Ferguson said he wanted to change how digital ownership of Web3 in-game assets works using Ether Bots, the first attempt at an Ethereum-powered game developed by him, his brother James and Alex Connolly.

“The mission should be to create a better game, which under the hood uses Web3, so that people have a better experience and have digital property rights. It’s this lie that has been sold to consumers for the past three decades that just because something is intangible, you should have zero rights to it,” Ferguson said.

Gareth Jenkinson from Cointelegraph said that Ether Bots taught the Ferguson brothers and Connolly to establish the foundation of infrastructure platforms for building Web3-based games and NFT functionality.

According to Ferguson, the success of blockchain games has already been proven by raising $9 billion over the past 18 months. Ferguson said this created a shift in equity sharing.

If Web3 games start to become a new in-demand, Ferguson said the mainstream AAA game companies wouldn’t be tracking the burgeoning sector and instead would position themselves ahead of the disruptive technology.

Ferguson’s journey to founding Immutable

Operating on the Ethereum Blockchain, Immutable is the leading layer-2 scaling solution for NFTs. Before founding Immutable in 2018, Ferguson spent more than a year at KPMG Australia, focusing on data analytics and blockchain.

The Ferguson brothers had always been avid gamers before discovering Bitcoin and Ethereum and their potential. The Ferguson brothers and Connolly later developed an interest in blockchain gaming development, which led to the establishment of Immutable.

“After a couple of startups we built together building a self-wagering application for League of Legends, and a machine-learning Shopify competitor which automatically optimized your store, we came across Bitcoin in 2014 and Ethereum in 2015. We were instantly obsessed with Ethereum and the possibilities that could be built from it,” Ferguson said.

The company’s establishment was also driven by a gaming incident where Ferguson played Runescape using James’ account and got banned. This changed Ferguson’s perspective on Web3 gaming, specifically its digital ownership aspect.

Immutable has two separate but still connected segments. ImmutableX is the company’s Ethereum layer-2 NFT scaling platform and Immutable Studios focuses on gaming development. Ferguson explained that the company, especially ImmutableX, was inspired by the development of Gods Unchained, which he said shaped the infrastructure that built other blockchain games.

According to Ferguson, Immutable is transforming the video gaming industry, giving players the opportunity to be more autonomous, economical and open in the gaming space thanks to in-game NFTs.

“Play-and-earn is about making games that are fundamentally fun to play, and having true digital ownership as the underlying technology that empowers players — which is the whole reason for playing. If you have to sell the technology, rather than the value to players, you haven’t built a game with an economy — you’ve built a gamified economy,” Ferguson said.

Immutable is one of the fastest-growing Australian startups. Fotis Georgiadis from Authority Magazine wrote it had a $2.5 billion valuation as of June. It also developed two NFT scaling protocols used by other NFT marketplaces — batched minting and deferred minting.