Don’t believe the hype: The NFT revolution in gaming is a downgrade

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Since making major headlines near the start of 2021, NFTs have evolved from the craze everyone expected to become the latest unstoppable offshoot of the crypto-powered machine.

NFTs are creeping into everything, with all kinds of art and entertainment in danger of becoming another commodity. The latest crash in NFTs becoming big business is the video game industry: Every week, yet another big-name studio, publisher, or game storefront is incorporating NFTs into its 2022 business plan.


But what can NFTs offer to video game players? Companies promise that these digital assets will enhance player experiences, but the truth is that video game NFTs are not an upgrade to our current systems – and here’s why.

What are NFTs?

The discussion of NFTs is widespread these days so most of you probably know what they are. Nevertheless, for those of you who are not aware of this latest technological trend, NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens, are unique digital objects or assets.

If we have an mp3 file and you want that same mp3, you just need to hit copy and paste to make a replica for us to send you. This means that the MP3 is fungible, because the two copies of the MP3 file are essentially the same – you won’t be able to separate the original from the copy. You can have one; Everyone can have one.

Now imagine that you want something different, more unique, like the Monalisa. As any art enthusiast will tell you, we cannot simply take a photo or paint our own version and claim that the copy is identical to the original; The replica is not identical to the original painting, so the Mona Lisa is classified as irreplaceable.

NFTs are digital assets that have been minted on a blockchain – the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. These digital assets become files that you cannot copy and paste. Like the Monalisa, that makes these digital assets irreplaceable.

Naturally, the situation gets a bit more complicated when you get into the specifics, but for all intents and purposes, NFTs are designed to be uniquely digital objects that you cannot duplicate.

How do NFTs fit into video games?

Video games and NFTs collide in two ways.

For the most part, the video game NFTs resemble the Konami Memorial NFT Collection which is launching just in time for the 35th anniversary of Castlevania.

Those who purchase these NFTs will receive a digital stamp – like a certificate – stating that they own the pixel art, music track or clip. There may be other perks, as in the case of Konami NFT. Konami will also include your name on its website and provide owners of each NFT with content that “may only be unlocked and disclosed by the owner.”

Overall, the offerings are pretty standard with these types of NFTs, and we would expect the same for NFT collections – whether game related or not.

Now, there’s another type of NFT that we’re starting to see examples of in video games. Ubisoft has a few trial versions of this type of NFT in the Ghost Recon breakpoint; Square Enix is ​​also interested in the idea.

Through its Ubisoft Quartz platform, players in certain regions can claim or purchase NFT cosmetics called Digits. Points are mined using the Tezos blockchain, but otherwise work like any other cosmetic item in the game – you can use them to give your character a unique design, but you don’t get any functional benefits Is.

NFT-cosmetics differ from standard collectible NFTs in that each issue will only be available for purchase from Ubisoft for a certain period of time – before going forever. This means that if you want that particular issue in the future, the only way for you to be able to get it is to do business with someone who already owns it.

While Square Enix hasn’t officially unveiled its NFT plans, the company’s president, Yosuke Matsuda, recently published a paper detailing how NFT will create opportunities for those “to contribute play.” In other words, Square Enix may have a market share for user-generated content within NFT games.

If you’re thinking, “Huh, that sounds really cool,” you’re not wrong. The ability to trade cosmetics or sell your own in-game creations would be a useful addition to a lot of games – which is why a lot of video games already include these types of systems. There is no need for a blockchain to create something that already exists.

Roblox, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and RuneScape are just some of the games that have systems that allow in-game item trading between players.

Of course, not all in-game markets are the same – some let you use real money or in-game currency that can be converted into cash, while others only let you use virtual rupees that are in-game. Trapped – but the core concept of player-to-player trading exists, and works.

User creation is nothing new, and many games have already found ways to monetize user-generated content so that creators can be compensated for their work.

If a metaverse begins and our digital spaces become more integrated and longer-lasting, NFTs can be put to good use in creating reliable digital-only commerce. But for now, there’s really no need to rely on them as our games are years away from functioning as a proper metaverse.

In fact, there are several solid reasons why we should avoid NFTs.

Why we don’t need NFTs in video games

For one thing, cryptocurrencies are still quite volatile – some longer-lasting coins are a bit more reliable but the past few years have shown us that any coin can fall from an Everest-esque peak to a trough like the Marianas Trench . hat

If NFTs are mined on the cryptocurrency, the value of these digital assets could collapse, which angered many players and investors who sold on the new technology.

Additionally, while games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint are popular now, what will the player base be like in five or 10 years’ time? By then, Ubisoft would have released a few more entries in the series and the old game would have been discarded by players in favor of the new hotness. There may also be a risk of the breakpoint’s servers being permanently shut down.

Who would want a cosmetic NFT for an idle game?

On top of this, the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining – a practice NFT reliant on – is enormous.

Bitcoin Farming Produces Estimated 60 million tons of CO2 annually, while Ethereum produces approx. 17 million tons of CO2 annually. A country with this combined carbon footprint would be the 48th worst CO2 polluter in the world; But given that more than 8,000 currencies exist, the environmental impact is likely to be much worse.

The present and future of NFTs in video games

NFTs currently do not provide anything meaningful for video game players, and we have known for a long time how harmful crypto blockchains are to the environment. So why are NFTs being incorporated into video games?

Considering our opinion that NFTs currently offer nothing new in the world of video games, it’s hard not to feel that NFTs are yet another cash grab, designed by publishers and studios involved in video games. Who wants to see the latest industry buzzwords in the bank.

If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense: NFT sales have been a huge revenue generator for creatives throughout 2021, and remain wildly popular in parts of the Internet.

The point here is that studios are over-promising. We are told that these new blockchain-powered systems will create unique and special opportunities within the games we love – but the features being implemented right now are nothing new.

Some have speculated about the amazing potential of NFTs, such as Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, which envisions a future where a cosmetic skin can be used by a single player in a range of games from different publishers. feels good. Unfortunately, the video game industry currently does not cooperate in a way that has no shared space.

Even if something like this could ever become a reality, a system like this would require a lot of effort and input from the design teams of competing brands, and you know they’re a lot of cooks in the kitchen. What do I say?

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The situation could theoretically change – never say never – but don’t hold your breath, the video game NFT you buy now will be available in a title other than the one you just bought.

And thankfully, today’s gamers are quick to point out all these issues and are not interested in engaging with NFT content.

Early estimates suggest Ubisoft managed to sell just 15 nfts Through third-party vendors in the month following the Quartz announcement. Additionally, the developers of Stalker 2 abandons its NFT plans Online feedback.

While other studios still seem to be dead set on including NFTs in their latest projects, we’re expecting players to continue to stress about their rebellion against such plans, with changes based on player preferences. – At least until the NFTs are cleaned up and included in one. method that provides a meaningful increase.

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