While the Ethereum blockchain has the community edge, competition with Solana is intensifying thanks to the emergence of blockchain-based play-to-earn games now simply called GameFi.
Game developer and publisher Faraway, founded by Scopely and Glu Mobile veterans, announced that the studio has raised $ 21 million in a Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and major crypto exchange FTX. Along with the $ 8 million seed round, Faraway now has total funding of $ 30 million from renowned crypto ecosystem investors a16z, Sequoia Capital, Pantera Capital, Jump Capital and Solana.
The company is developing its flagship title, a browser-based live multiplayer game called Mini Royale: Nations, on the Solana blockchain. According to the announcement, the team has previously worked on popular games like Disney’s Sorcerer’s Arena, WWE Champions, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, and Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem.
When asked why they chose Solana over Ethereum from a developer’s perspective, Faraway co-founder Alex Paley told Cointelegraph that Ethereum just wasn’t an option due to its slow transaction times and high gas fees:
“We were specifically looking for a blockchain with fast and cheap transactions, strong ecosystem dynamics and a team behind it that we can trust from a technical point of view.”
Rust, Solana’s programming language, is also known among game developers compared to Ethereum’s Solidity. Paley admitted that Ethereum and its Layer 2 solutions have a sizable community. But paying out the tokens earned is much more difficult with most Ethereum Layer 2 solutions. Solana provides the speed and access to native liquidity on the platform, Paley added.
While most other blockchains try to remain industry-independent, Paley pointed out, Solana invests a lot of effort and resources in building specific tools and infrastructures to support the needs of game studios that develop games with complex real-time economies and systems.
In his comment on the funding round, Solana creator Anatoly Yakovenko highlighted decentralized gaming as the next frontier for blockchain technology. “The game Faraway is developing has the potential to bring Web 3.0 to hundreds of millions of users,” he added.
Related: The NFT gaming offering in question as a regulator and traditional gaming pullback
The browser-based setup of Mini Royale: Nations allows players to play on any hardware with an internet browser with no installation requirements. “The biggest challenge in creating a browser game is the graphical fidelity you can get out of the browser,” Paley told Cointelegraph. “When WebGPU comes out, however, we should see a significant improvement in graphical fidelity in the browser.”
However, browser-based development has significant advantages as playing without installing is the first. “All a player has to do is share or click a link, and seconds later he and his friends are all playing together in the same session,” said Paley.
Since MetaMask, Phantom Wallet and other Web 3.0 wallets are natively integrated into the browser, developing a browser-based game also makes sense as it makes buying, selling or trading in-game assets more convenient.