NFT madness hits the gaming industry – with an epic backlash
This post may contain a certain grain of sarcasm inside. The statement below also absolutely can age badly, in case of something will change to better with NFT practical use (I’d be happy if so), but..
As for now and how it is, even though initially created with probably good intention as a technology, most of NFT usage examples is practically a scam. From understanding of product uniqueness, moral standpoint and most importantly – how it’s mostly being used today. Not to get me wrongly – anyone is free to do whatever feels needed with their own money. Yet, this doesn’t change the reality of NFTs as they are now.
A digital scheme which gives you..nothing to owe. You receive a digital product which absolutely can be replicated – the only what differs you from anyone else who owns it for free is the receipt – the fact you paid (often, a ridiculous amount of money) for it. You own and don’t own it at the same time. Do you feel the sense of pride and accomplishment yet? No? Well, that’s your problem right here.
The gold rush.
To sell nothing for lots of money. In different forms, this always existed in our society, but NFT brought that to a new level. And now it came to gaming industry. Of course, the most talented individuals and organisation of humankind rushed to this gold mine.
First, Peter Molyneux, who once created such an iconic game like Black and White and worked on well-known series like Fable (and generally popularized the god simulator genre), announces a new game. No, no the Godus 2. In it, you’ll have to buy..and NFT land to even start playing. To quote the author, you will be “earning and owning your gameplay“. Which means you gotta risk your real life money inside the game. Doesn’t look like something..hmm? Oh well, nevermind.
Also, Ubisoft announced basically an NFT merch in their games. Trailer, packed with meaningless hashtags, got disliked so much that it was hidden from Ubisoft Youtube channel. Later, even Ubisoft own developers negatively responded to company “innovative solution”. But even the massive backlash both outside and inside the company didn’t stop them to back down from the idea, only promise to “rethink” it. It even got criticized by the French trade union for the absurdity.
Lastly for today (but something tells me definitely not at all), studio behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 decided that their game development process is not yet shady enough already. Thus, they decided to create an own “metaverse” inside the game itself. Practically – to sell is shady digital product which is not interesting to the players, for a pretty real money.
Ok. So what's the problem?
On the surface, there’s none. You don’t like – you don’t buy, right?
There’s also nothing bad with NFT itself in its literal meaning – as there’s nothing bad to sell your product, digital or not. But the reality of its implementation in gaming industry is that so it’s being used only to further expand the already often predatory monetization in videogames. For companies CEOs, NFT is yet another, n+1 way to slide the hand inside the player’s pocket. NFT products will not make the gameplay better. They will not allow ingame native trading ecosystem (if such exists) to become better.
Want it or not, any videogame design is being decided by company CEOs to a certain extent. And if the CEOs and publishers will see the NFT scam works, that it’s an effective way to earn even more money from thin air – they will force developers to change the videogames design and mechanics in the way to be wrapped around these monetization mechanics in first turn. Not about the gameplay mechanics themselves. Sadly, from how it looks right now, this tsunami will only hit the gaming industry harder in the near future. Can you do something about this? Yes. Vote with your wallet.
It’s not about to ban NFT from existence. It could be used for good. But as it often happens, how the tool will serve humanity is determined not by the initial design or purpose of it, but by how it’s being used by us. And the difference can be disastrous.
Thanks to YongYea, PC Gamer, The Verge and Eurogamer for providing the source articles and videos.
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