NFT – they are everywhere and nowhere. Ubiquitous in the technological consciousness of the public and without a place thanks to blockchain technology. You’re probably sick of hearing about it.
An NFT – which stands for “non-fungible token” – is a digital element of any description that is “struck” on a blockchain – a distributed ledger of cryptocurrency. Their goal is to establish a new digital ownership paradigm, the premise being that only one of these tokens exists on the blockchain representing said media, and anyone who simply had to copy the media will only have made a worthless replica – The NFT certificate is what quantifies the monetary value of the item. Just about anything can be created as NFT – illustrations, videos, and increasingly, content in video games.
Ubisoft’s “Quartz” certainly isn’t the first NFT integration games have seen, but it’s arguably the most significant in the triple-A space right now. Ubisoft happened to be the first to take the plunge, and now the rest of the triple-A’s are nervously mingling with glittering eyes and gnashing of teeth waiting to see if they’ll surface. But it doesn’t look like they will.
Predictably enough, Quartz has been a dismal failure. Turns out gamers in general weren’t exactly a fan of Ubisoft’s idea or pitiful execution.
To better contextualize what happened, let’s go back to October 2021.
On October 14, it was revealed that Valve had broadly banned all apps incorporating blockchain and cryptocurrency technology on Steam. The largest PC game distribution platform has taken sides. Epic, a competing platform, switches the other way.
At the beginning of December, Ubisoft triumphantly announced the integration of NFT with the game “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint” as an introduction to its new Quartz “experience”, and encountered a tidal wave of thunderous taunts. Gamers and gaming journalists appear uniform in their hatred of the practice. Many point out that Quartz is in direct contradiction to the decentralization that is the basis of blockchain technologies, as well as the silly methods of integrating and distributing Ubisoft through a game that was not even well received initially.
Later in December, the scale of Ubisoft’s failure is brought to light. On the 19th, only 15 miserable “Digit” NFTs from Ubisoft seem to have been sold. Earlier that week, it was revealed that Ubisoft’s developers had exchanged messages with each other on Ubisoft’s internal MANA forum:
“I still don’t quite understand the ‘problem’ solved here.”
“Is it really worth the (extremely) negative publicity this will generate?” “
“I normally try to stay positive on our announcements but this one is upsetting. “
On December 21, Ubisoft doubles the stake. And while all of this unfolded throughout the month of December, several others have brought up the idea of NFT integrations for their own games.
On December 11, the famous British game designer Peter Molyneux announced that his next game will be a business simulator anchored around blockchain and NFTs. Within days it was revealed that NFT virtual land worth millions of pounds had already been sold.
On December 15, GSC Game World announced, then quickly returned to NFT integration with its long-awaited next shooter “STALKER 2”. The reaction from the community was so fierce that GSC Game World reversed its decision the day after the announcement.
And Square Enix, best known for its hugely successful “Final Fantasy” series, announced Jan. 1 that it will embrace blockchain and NFT integration into their games in the future, while hilariously acknowledging that “Some people who ‘play for fun’ and who currently form the majority of players have expressed reservations about these new trends. Playing games for fun, imagine that.
The integration of NFTs into games is a very controversial and polarizing subject. Among his many critics is DePaul University’s JJ Bakken, assistant professor of game design and producer at Wargaming, the studio behind the hugely popular “World of Tanks” and “World of Warships”. His opinion of NFTs is unflattering to say the least.
“NFTs are nonsense – environmentally destructive and dumb,” Bakken wrote. “There is no part of NFT that is remotely interesting for games in particular. The technology doesn’t do anything (for games or for gamers) that a normal database doesn’t already… I’m not a huge fan. He then diagnosed the motivation behind this emerging trend in the game. “Businesses (including big game companies) are interested in NFTs because, like any emerging, unregulated economy, there is money to be had. win there. “
A game developer and computer student here at DePaul who wished to remain anonymous also harshly criticized the practice. Asked about NFT integrations in games, his comments were decidedly sharp.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” he revealed. “Beyond the fact that [NFTs] do not solve any problem that was not created by the developers or publishers of the games, clearly they are only being introduced to keep up with the latest and ever changing “hyped” technology. “
Speaking about the future of NFTs in gaming, he had this to say. “I hope… the NFTs die a quick and painful death that negates any chance they have of ever returning to the world – or at least [to the world of] gambling. ”His venomous remarks are characteristic of many in the gaming community perceiving the growing presence of NFTs in the industry.
Cody Kroliczek, an information systems specialist and senior at DePaul, falls across the aisle. Kroliczek is a collector of NFT, and he sees them as a transformation of the concept of ownership. “The ability to say ‘I own this’ is very valuable in the NFT world,” Kroliczek wrote. “A lot of people like to joke that they just save an image and call it their own, but the truth is they don’t own it. I think NFTs give the world a whole new sense of ownership.
“I really don’t consider myself to be a gamer, but I do consider myself influenced by the gaming industry,” Kroliczek said. “I’ve been playing video games my whole life… I think the NFT integration into games is a good thing to a certain extent. The biggest video game companies should set the standard for how NFTs will be used in games, but the question is whether they will. [responsibly] or not. ”Kroliczek also responded to the concerns of critics.
“NFTs in the video game space could be seen as a ploy to take more money from people, which can be very true,” he said. “A lot of people can be ‘pumped and dumped’ and lose a lot of money. Imagine a game like “Fortnite” creating NFTs with their item store skins. It could cause absolute mayhem – demand would be high until Epic decided to pull the rug and take everyone’s money. Ultimately, I think game companies need to be very careful about how they implement future NFT projects. “
Indeed, we are entering uncharted territory in the game, and this is only the beginning. No matter which side of the debate you are on, we all had better buckle up – 2022 is waiting.