Friday, May 20, 2022

Why are Game Studios so investing in NFTs?

There has been a lot of talk about NFTs lately, and more and more game studios are jumping on the bandwagon to introduce elements of NFT into their offerings. There’s Peter Molyneux, whose new NFT game has already grossed him $ 53 million. There’s Ubisoft and their brand new platform called Ubisoft Quartz that lets you collect NFTs called “digits,” which are essentially cosmetic items for Ghost Recon Breakpoint. There’s also Stalker 2 (or the painstakingly elongated actual name STALKER 2), which even allows you to become an in-game NFT yourself – although it seemed that its developer GSC Game World reversed the decision after the announcement widespread was panned. There are so many more examples of game developers diving into the lucrative NFT marketplace – check out all of our featured items for NFT here.

It is clear that, while NFTs seep into the mainstream like discolored mold on the corner of your ceiling, they have not yet been adopted by everyone, and the backlash against developers who have incorporated this technology begs the question: why? The obvious answer is that NFTs are a get-rich-quick scheme for many companies – even Stan Lee was revived on Twitter to promote an unnamed company’s NFT collection. The biggest obstacle for them, however, is the general aversion among gamers to today’s technology, which is driving companies to scramble to get gamers on board – the feeling from imagined possession into something more tangible.

Related: Games like Peter Molyneux’s new ‘Blockchain Business Sim’ are leading the industry down a very dark path


But it’s not hard to see why the studios are still trying so damn hard. Unlike other industries, the barriers to trading and selling intangibles for real money in games are much lower – and this may have presented NFT advocates with a small chance. We already know that cosmetic items in the form of skins are a booming game business and have long been a staple for many Triple A titles, from Team Fortress to Fortnite. And players are also interested in swapping skins with one another—75 percent of players who are aspiring skin retailers, have said they will spend more money on it if they have monetary value outside of the game. And if you’ve paid attention to the thriving virtual economy in stimulation games like EVE Online, players are already very familiar with the concept of virtual currencies. In other words, games feel like the natural breeding ground for NFTs to take root.

Hotdog fortnite

Ubisoft has also taken note of this. Ubisoft Quartz’s announcement trailer is full of proclamations to allow players to exercise their own individuality through special NFT skins. A cosmetic item even comes with a serial number engraved on a tiny corner of your equipment that no one can see unless they slap their face for a closer look at the screen. Even more ridiculous is Ubisoft’s claim that its NFTs will be more energy efficient to soothe naysayers about the environmental cost of NFTs. However, it is not yet known to what extent this will reduce the impact on the environment.

Then there are aspiring visionaries like Molyneux, who always strived to be at the forefront of games and who said that his NFT game “is here to push the limits of blockchain gaming”. Molyneux also claimed it was “redefining” what blockchain technology means to games – a terrific proposition since no one even defined it. Similarly, EA CEO Andrew Wilson has called NFTs “the future of our industry”.

It is highly unlikely that these people are real NFT evangelists, but one must be careful with the language they use when speaking to us about these investments. Be it the promise that NFTs will advance gaming in unprecedented new ways, or that it is a cumbersome approach to recognizing the diversity in the industry, it’s important to realize that these are just diversions to realizing the real value of NFTs to businesses disguise: its ability to promote and rapidly increase profits. No matter what companies say, participating just means buying an entry in the world’s most destructive ledger.

Next: The year of toxicity

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