Saga wants to push the limits of blockchain interoperability to better the metaverse
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Saga is making the interoperable blockchain middleware of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
And Saga has hit some interesting milestones in its journey. Last week, the company announced that its AlphaNet Andromeda has arrived. This is the first version of the company’s blockchain network and it will first be released to 55 projects in the Saga Innovator Program, which are its blockchain partners.
“We are Web3 natives and so we come from the crypto world,” said Rebecca Liao, CEO of Saga, in an interview with GamesBeat. “And our thesis has always been that blockchain infrastructure, as it currently stands, is not sufficient to really allow applications to scale. And so we wanted to find a way to make that optimal infrastructure a lot more readily available and democratic. And that is to get people onto their own dedicated chains.”
Liao said that Saga’s foundation is with the Cosmos protocol, which calls itself the “internet of blockchains” and allows users to create their own blockchains. But doing that can be painful.
The Cosmos network consists of many independent, parallel blockchains, called “zones,” each powered by classical consensus protocols like Tendermint. The zones serve as hubs for other zones, enabling interoperability. Other blockchains don’t do so well with interoperability. With Cosmos and its hub, you can plug any blockchain into it and pass tokens between the zones, without an intermediary. The intermediaries have been at-risk for hacking in the past.
Cosmos was started in 2014 by developers Ethan Buchman and Jae Kwon, who created the Tendermint consensus algorithm behind the network. The published a white paper in 2016 and launched the ATOM token the same year. The nonprofit group The Interchain Foundation helped launch Cosmos as “the internet of blockchains.” It’s the interoperability that will lead to the metaverse, Liao believes.
Cosmos is secured by the ATOM token. By enabling companies to set up their own blockchains, Cosmos enables better performance for things like transactions. In 2020, Cosmos released IBC, or inter-blockchain communications. That communication protocol enables interoperability between chains. By contrast, bridges are prone to hacking, as Sky Mavis discovered when its Ronin bridge was hacked and it lost more than $600 million in funds from its Axie Infinity blockchain game.
“This is what all Cosmos chains including us will use to communicate with other chains,” Liao said. “The two chains communicate and the assets are transferred. It’s a way to make sure there is a secure communication channel between the two chains, and it’s not reliant on any third party.”
“We’re allowing developers to automatically get their applications onto a dedicated chain. That’s the infrastructure that we’re building. We are focused on gaming and entertainment at the moment because we believe that those two sectors and Web3 are the ones that are most beholden to user experience expectations. And, and the ones who are most interested in catering to user experience.”
Liao believes that monolithic chains like Ethereum are inefficient when it comes to congestion and throughput. She thinks app chains are more appropriate when it comes to entertainment and games, particular those that use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) where interoperability matters.
“When you build a chain on Cosmos, it is your own chain, but Cosmos focuses on interoperability first,” Liao said. “That’s also true for Saga. You’re part of the Saga community.”
A cohort of whitelisted developers and the general public will be able to access Andromeda over the next few weeks. Andromeda is the first chapter in Saga’s journey to establish its mainnet. It is part of a series of releases building up to the full developer flow for launching applications in single-tenant virtual machines (VMs) onto dedicated chains, or chainlets, on Saga.
Saga Innovator Program
Liao said that among the 55 projects in the innovator program are a lot of game platforms, engines, and game studios.
The participants in this are handpicked projects that are pushing the limits of blockchain technology, especially when it comes to enabling a much broader market of developers to launch their own chains in gaming and entertainment.
Saga believes the metaverse will be a “multiverse,” where developers will decide to launch their own chains, and the company will work with those teams who share that vision.
Innovators include role-playing games, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, non-fungible token (NFT) platforms, GameFi projects, game tooling and infrastructure, Web2 game studios expanding to their first Web3 titles, native Web3 gaming platforms, gaming and NFT decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), game engines and backends, a few select DeFi projects and much more.
The Saga Innovators include 55 companies such as Merit Circle, IndiGG, Gameplay Galaxy, Kujira, Satori, Pala.World, X.LA, VenturePunk, Passage, ThirdWeb, Champion Games, Game 7, Ftribe, P12, Cosmic Horizon, Reign of Terror, Planetarium, Infinity Keys, Crypto League, Coinfantasy, Flair.Finance, Eclipse, PG DAO, Adappter, Tallyup, and many more.
In addition to early access to AlphaNet, the Saga Innovator Program participants also receive extensive co-marketing from Saga and individual access to Saga’s technical resources for implementation. Once in the program, a project will continue with our developer initiatives through Saga’s roadmap to mainnet and beyond.
What is Saga?
Saga is a Web3 infrastructure protocol that empowers developers to build gaming and entertainment applications with their own dedicated blockspace. Dedicated blockspace ensures high throughput, no dependencies on other applications using Saga, easy upgradability and congestion relief. That is, it gets rid of some bottlenecks holding back blockchain tech from reaching the mainstream.
In addition, gas fees for infrastructure remain predictable and are by default hidden from the end user, Saga allows developers to use any token or currency for their applications. The automated deployment of dedicated blockspace will be secured via interchain security by the same set of validators that underlie the Saga mainnet.
What’s in Andromeda?
Andromeda is currently implemented as a developer tool that easily provisions the needed infrastructure and deploys Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible chainlets accessible via Solidity dev tools like HardHat or Remix. Andromeda is ready to use as-is and is the first step in Saga’s roadmap towards more complex features geared towards the metaverse (Saga calls it the multiverse) and greater automation on the Saga backend.
In the future, Saga will replace the centralized orchestration service with a decentralized chain, enable IBC chainlet interconnect, and implement shared security for chainlets. For DevNet, Saga will introduce validator orchestration tools to help manage and coordinate chainlet deployment onto decentralized chains.
Saga community members interested in being a part of the network itself will have opportunities to become a node and participate in staking and delegating shortly after. We will keep everyone posted on these future releases.
Saga is a protocol for automated deployment of application-specific blockchains in gaming, entertainment and DeFi. Through its platform, it aims to empower developers to build the next 1000 chains in the multiverse. The company came out of stealth in March and in May it raised $6.5 million, valuing the company at $130 million. The company has about 20 people. To date, Saga has raised $8.5 million.
“We took a few months to solidify our vision,” Liao said. “We raised our seed round in May. Three days later the market tanked.”
The company has slowed some hiring down, though it is still bringing aboard technical people.
As far as the crypto winter goes, Liao said the company was lucky to close its seed round before the collapse by a few days. That gave it a good war chest to build its tech.
“It’s never nice to be in a bear market. But what’s been great about it is it has forced a lot of these developers to think about games that are fun games, and not just based on a token value going up,” Liao said. “So we’re seeing a lot of movement away from play to earn and much more emphasis on game design. That’s where we really sit in quite well. Because if you’re doing a game that’s basically DeFi with stick figures, you probably don’t care too much about investing in great infrastructure. But if you’re looking to do a really fun game that just allows for the kind of response time the multitude of worlds that a lot of passionate gamers for Web2 are expecting, then this is the kind of infrastructure you need. So it’s been going on A lot of fun actually talking to these games as and we’ve just seen a lot of demand.”
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