Sky Mavis has signed a multi-year collaboration with Searce and Google Cloud to bolster the security of blockchain network, Ronin, and advance its vision of building a games universe with "interrelated, immersive, and rewarding experiences".
Headquartered in Singapore, Sky Mavis operates as a technology focused games studio and is the creator of category-defining non-fungible token (NFT) title Axie Infinity.
Supported by implementation partner Searce, the agreement sees Google Cloud deployed as an independent enterprise validator for the Ronin network and is expected to contribute to its collective security and governance, while taking on the role of monitoring validator uptimes. The cloud vendor joins a validator node pool that includes Animoca Brands, DappRadar and Nansen.
“Sky Mavis is a strong example of how the cloud can enable blockchain technologies to yield innovation and value creation for individuals,” said Ruma Balasubramanian, managing director of Southeast Asia at Google Cloud.
“Alongside Searce as our implementation partner, we look forward to working with Sky Mavis to accelerate its product roadmap and grow the Ronin network with secure infrastructure as its core. We’re also excited about the possibilities that could emerge from this latest collaboration -- be it entertaining experiences for users or new business models in games distribution.”
Ronin was built using the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), which was launched by Sky Mavis in early 2021 to speed up transactions and reduce gas fees for its user ecosystem, thereby allowing millions of in-game micro-transactions to occur seamlessly.
The product operates on a Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus model, where validators are selected based on credibility and are responsible for "verifying, voting and maintaining" a record of transactions on the blockchain.
As a part of Sky Mavis’ shift towards decentralisation, it proposes new validators and puts them up for a vote -- the current network then requires at least 70 per cent of its existing validators to approve a proposal.
“Validators have the important duty of ensuring that transactions on Ronin are processed correctly," added Aleksander Larsen, co-founder and COO of Sky Mavis. "They also serve as crucial ecosystem partners and supervisors."
Larsen stated that Google Cloud was “naturally one of the top choices” for the partnership, describing the vendor as a “recognised contributor to the developer community and having deep technical expertise in blockchain infrastructure and running validators”.
“Google Cloud has been our strategic cloud provider since 2020, so welcoming them now as Ronin’s latest and 18th validator is a big deal for us, especially as we push toward our initial goal of having 21 independent validators securing the network,” he added.
Building a digital nation
With ambitions of establishing Ronin as the default NFT scaling solution for gaming and to open up opportunities for users to turn their time and effort into real-world value, Sky Mavis is building out its core offerings -- Ronin, its proprietary Axie Inifinity game titles and Mavis Hub -- on Google Cloud’s infrastructure and low-latency network.
Apart from supporting community developers create and monetise experiences through the Axie Infinity Builders Program, Sky Mavis is also turning to Google Cloud for enabling the scalable distribution of community-built games and other experiences created through partnerships with major game studios.
According to Sky Mavis, Google Cloud offers “the industry’s cleanest cloud” and would pair well with Ronin -- engineered to be “more energy efficient" than a transaction on a Proof of Stake blockchain -- to further reduce its ecosystem’s overall environmental impact.
Additionally, the cloud provider’s Cloud CDN solution is expected to deliver “smooth and reliable” experiences to users anywhere on any device with its “advanced load balancing and caching” features. This is particularly compelling for those who earn income through Axie Infinity but live in rural areas with intermittent online connectivity.
“From our time in the Google for Startups Cloud Program to where we are today, Google Cloud and its partner Searce have provided us with the right support at every stage of our growth journey," said Trung Nguyen, co-founder and CEO of Sky Mavis.
"Whether it’s handling fluctuating traffic so that 2.3 million Axie NFT owners enjoy equitable platform experiences or introducing new mechanisms to drive sustainability across our digital nation.
“We very much look forward to our next phase of collaboration with Google Cloud and Searce, especially with their clear commitment to our industry and desire to support us and the wider community with relevant capabilities for born-in-Web3 applications.”
Attracting world-class talent
As part of its growth plans, Sky Mavis aims to hire 100 individuals over the next 18 months and has adopted Google Workspace as its productivity and collaboration platform, designed to benefit its centralised team of engineers in Vietnam to "connect, create and collaborate" with colleagues across the world.
Sky Mavis have tripled its global team in the past year to support its product roadmap and an “increasing volume” of user-generated games and content within its ecosystem. The partnership with Google Cloud is also targeted at enabling its engineers to maximise their talent and make meaningful contributions to its user community.
“After a comparison of all options, we chose Google Cloud due to a number of core differentiators,” added Viet Anh Ho, co-founder and CTO of Sky Mavis. He cited the cloud provider’s “open source heritage and managed Kubernetes service” as one of these differentiators.
“Engineers at Google actually invented Kubernetes, so it’s only natural for Google Cloud to have the best autoscaling and automated application deployment capabilities," he noted. "These free up our engineers to break new ground and delight users with interrelated and immersive experiences -- all without disrupting active gameplay."
Along with huge volumes of development updates, Sky Mavis is seeking to ensure that it is synchronising game states in real-time during multi-player sessions and matchmaking players of similar skill levels.
By automating application deployment and game server orchestration with zero downtime using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), its technical teams can avoid manual backend configurations and focus on building engaging features and products.