Ronin Effect: Why ‘Pixels’ Ditched Polygon Ahead of Ethereum Token Launch

By Decrypt February 18, 2024 In Polygon

The PIXEL token for the blockchain farming game Pixels will debut on Monday via Binance following the latest play-to-airdrop campaign that helped drive surging adoption for both the game and the network it runs on, Ethereum sidechain Ronin.

It’s the culmination of a long journey for Pixels that started in 2021, and founder Luke Barwikowski told Decrypt’s GG this week that the PIXEL token launch feels like “day one” for the game as it fully embraces its tokenized vision. But that path didn’t begin on Ronin.

It actually started on Polygon, another Ethereum scaling network. Polygon hosts numerous games (including Nifty Island, for example), but it’s more of a general-purpose scaler designed for all types of decentralized applications.

In a video interview with Decrypt’s GG this week, Barwikowski said that migrating to Ronin last fall wasn’t meant as a knock against Polygon. Instead, it represented a desire to launch alongside other crypto games on a network that already had a substantial and dedicated gaming audience—and had propelled a game to sizable adoption with Axie Infinity in 2021.


“Polygon is a great ecosystem, right? But what Ronin had that Polygon didn’t was users that were actually already onboarded into Web3 gaming,” he explained in the clip above. “For us, that was the most valuable thing that we were looking for.”

Barwikowski added that Ronin’s community—in which users often cite the “Ronin effect” of playing and promoting new games to help propel them forward—was better suited, in his view, to support the Pixels game as it embraced this next stage.

“We were just much more aligned with their own ecosystem than we were the Polygon ecosystem,” he explained. “And the migration made a ton of sense for that reason.”

Furthermore, he praised the ability to benefit from the experience of Ronin and Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis, which has weathered the highs and lows of blockchain gaming—across bear and bull markets alike, upswings and downswings, and plenty of other hurdles along the way.

“The knowledge that they bring with that is invaluable,” said Barwikowski. “They’re able to save us so much time from going into directions that they’ve already tried that they know won’t work. They’re able to give us so much pointed and great, direct advice. It’s been a really great relationship.”

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