Last week, both EA and Ubisoft announced that they would be looking to make “play-to-win” blockchain and NFT games.
In fact, EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated how he believes we are looking at the “future of our industry”.
He also noted how “it’s still early to figure out how that’s going to work”.
“I think that in the context of the games we create and the live services that we offer, collectable digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future. So, it’s still early to tell, but I think we’re in a really good position, and we should expect us to kind of think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis”.[Via/PCGamer]
However, Ubisoft is slightly ahead of the curve, as CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed;
“[Blockchain] will imply more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot. We’ve been working with lots of small companies going on blockchain. We’re starting to have a good know-how on how it can impact the industry. And we want to be one of the key players here”.[Via/IGN]
Furthermore, Ubisoft also confirmed it is one of the major investors behind Animoca Brands – a crypto-gaming firm. Animoca recently saw a $65 million windfall. And Ubisoft, as it turns out, is a founding member of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance.
“This industry is changing regularly with lots of new revolutions happening. We consider blockchain one of those revolutions. It will imply more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, [and] own content. And we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot”.[Via/IBT]
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick is slightly more on the fence, however. Whilst Zelnick is a “big believer” in NFTs, he doesn’t necessarily see the (true) value as they currently exist;
“If you believe in collectable physical goods, I don’t know why you wouldn’t believe in collectable digital goods. And blockchain authorisation, which is what an NFT really is, is one way – not the only way – to authenticate the fact something is singular is rare.
So I’m a big believer. But what I don’t believe is that just because something is digital or an NFT that it suddenly has value and/or has a value that will be increased in the future. And I think that’s the problem. NFTs, because they’re related to the blockchain as currently contemplated and because some have gone for a lot of money, are seen by some as just another opportunity to invest in a speculation that some think will only go up. And speculations don’t just go up; they come down to.
For an NFT to be valuable and durable, it has to be found at the intersection of rarity and quality, of rarity and value. And there’s a rarity for sure in all NFTs, but I’m not sure there’s value”.[Via/Games Industry.biz]
Is it All Going to Shit?
NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens”, are singular entities that exist on their own merit.
You can’t replace one NFT with another, for example. It’s one of a kind.
So, an NFT game would, in essence, be a game that is exclusive to you (or whoever owns/purchases it).
It’s not as clear-cut as that, of course, but I am A) not educated on NFTs enough myself to lecture anyone on them, and B) simply can’t be bothered to do so.
Back on target, an NFT game could be as mentioned above, or, feature in-game items that can be used as NFTs. And, yes, the theory is that you could have an in-game gun/piece of armour/car, etc and “own” it. And it would be exclusive to you.
The issues surrounding NFTs stem from the fact that to buy into them, you need to use cryptocurrency. A consequence of farming crypto (at least to a worthwhile level) is millions of carbon dioxide emissions.
With that in mind, you’ll be glad to know that there are still some out there not jumping on the proverbial…at least, not yet anyone.
Valve (specifically, the Steam branch of the company) announced it would not be publishing “applications build on blockchain technology that issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs”. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney had decried NFTs. Of course, this was before saying that developers are allowed to submit games to Epic.
Regardless of which side of the NFT/cryptocurrency argument you fall on, it looks like this is only the start of a (potentially) long-drawn-out conversation.