What are NFTs in Video Games? 9 publishers on the future of technology

TVNs invaded the game lexicon at the end of 2021 and will undoubtedly become one of the hottest topics in a multitude of industries in 2022. If you still don’t know why the game relies on blockchain or if it’s a good one or a good one? bad thing for games and gamers, the jury is still out. But it’s a good idea to now fully understand what the most confusing new trend in the industry means. We’ll go into detail about what NFTs are, how they might become featured in games, and what publishers like EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and others have said about including them in their design portfolios.

What are NFTs in games?

Whether used in games or elsewhere, the acronym NFT refers to a “non-fungible token” for a digital item. It sounds a bit complicated in the name, but the idea is actually quite simple. An NFT is a certificate of ownership of a digital good that is supposed to be manufactured in limited quantity. They can be attached to digital images or memes, video clips, or even something as abstract as the original World Wide Web source code. If something is “fungible,” then it’s a mutually interchangeable commodity – like a dollar bill.

NFTs provide opportunities to sell all kinds of digital products, from video game skins to JPGs.JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP / Getty Images

Whatever form it takes, when you have an NFT for a specific digital item, you own the corresponding certified token on a digital ledger or blockchain. Simply put, you get a specialized link that proves your connection to this digital asset. Just as someone can own a high-value car in the real world, NFTs provide an opportunity to claim a small part of the digital landscape.

It’s like owning the deed of something that only exists on the Internet.

How NFTs Could Work in Video Games

Especially when it comes to games, large companies see NFTs as a way to generate an ongoing source of revenue from digital content. For example, if a rare Fortnite skins were offered as an NFT, a player could be the first to unlock the skin in the game and then take possession of it. Once they do, that skin’s token can then be sold back to the highest bidder, potentially for a lot of money. Regardless of the skin’s selling price, its original makers at Epic Games would still take a share of that payment, and it can be resold by the new owner to other owners in perpetuity, with Epic hypothetically taking a share in each. time.

As well as attaching NFTs to any game that sells cosmetic skins, it’s just as easy to see how the NFT principles could be applied to collectible card games like the Ultimate Team modes featured in EA Sports titles. Essentially, each card in the mode could be its own NFT, and then you could sell ownership of any card in your deck to other players, with Electronic Arts taking a share of the auctions.

NFTs could be the basis of everything in FIFA Ultimate TeamEA

So in addition to getting paid for a player purchasing the pack that the rare cards originally came from, EA could theoretically open up a whole new revenue stream entirely based on the resale of those rare cards as long as the NFTs are still there. viable. While there has long been a kind of “black market” for people selling Ultimate Team accounts that offer rare cards for real money, NFTs provide an opportunity for the publisher to take their own share of the game. this profitable cake.

None of the examples listed above exist yet, but those with a passing interest in the gaming industry can probably see where this train is going. Big game publishers love the idea of ​​NFTs because they save a lot of money on rare items. We’ve already seen recent trends like limited-time cosmetics become the norm, but what if publishers could get away with only selling a certain number of a skin or card? Demand for these items would skyrocket, creating an active market.

NFTs are poised to be the next evolution of in-game microtransactions. We’ve seen this concept evolve from loot chests to battle passes, and now that this latest trend has gotten a little out of date, bean counters see NFTs as the best way to siphon money from fans suffering from FOMO.

Could a game publisher technically create their own auction house without necessarily relying on blockchain to do so? Absoutely. But NFTs are a special beast because they combine continued cash flow with recent investor interest in blockchain initiatives. If businesses can appeal to investors and earn money at the same time, they will agree with the NFT way to do it.

What are 9 game companies saying about NFTs in games?

With the potential money on the table, it’s no secret that some of the biggest publishers in the industry have been talking a lot about NFTs in recent days. Here are some positive and negative quotes about NFT that are worth remembering.

9. Ubisoft: Speaking of its own NFT initiative called Quartz, which currently only sells NFTs for Ghost Recon BreakpointAssassin’s Creed and Far Cry stewards said Decrypt:

“We understand where the [negative] sentiment towards technology is coming, and we must continue to take it into consideration every step of the way. This experiment aims to understand how the value proposition of decentralization can be received and adopted by our actors. We know this is a major change that will take time.

8. Electronic arts: CEO Andrew Wilson said on an earnings conference call in November 2021:

“I think in the context of the games we make and the live services we deliver, collectible digital content is going to play a significant role in our future. So it’s still early days to tell, but I think we’re in a very good position, and we should expect that we will think more innovatively and creatively about this in the future. “

7. Square Enix: As of January 1, 2022 letter Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has targeted the large group of gamers who “play for fun” who don’t like the use of NFTs.

“I realize that some people who ‘play for fun’ and currently form the majority of players have expressed reservations about these new trends, and that’s understandable. However, I think there will be a number of people whose motivation will be to “play to contribute”, that is, to help make the game more exciting. The traditional game offered no explicit incentive for this latter group of people, who were strictly motivated by personal feelings as inconsistent as goodwill and the spirit of volunteerism. “

Square Enix believes NFTs will be successful on the basis of a spirit of shared volunteerism Square Enix

6. Hazelight Studios: Speaking from the perspective of a smaller independent developer, Hazelight Studios founder Josef Fares said The Washington Post he “would rather be shot in the knee” than forcing NFTs into award-winning titles like It takes two.

“Whatever decision you make in a game, where you have to adjust the design to make the player pay or do something that makes you want to pay money, that’s wrong, if you ask me. If you play a game [with the goal of telling] a story I think is wrong. Now if you ask a great CEO who runs a business, he’ll tell you I’m stupid because business is all about making money. But I would still say no. For me, the game is an art.

5. Zynga: In November 2021, Zynga, Vice President of Blockchain Gaming Matt Wolf was talking extensively on the possibilities of TVN in the future of the company. Zynga is now under the umbrella of Take-Two Interactive.

“Web3 token-based systems will allow us to innovate and deliver new forms of player value in our games, while also transforming the way players interact with each other. By creating an integrated experience that empowers gamers to own their gameplay journey, our goal is to expand the reach of Zynga’s audience and increase engagement and retention. Above all, we are focused on maintaining a secure, inclusive and environmentally friendly approach while harnessing this technology to enhance our gaming experience. “

4. Take-Two Interactive: The publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and NBA 2K franchises was equally optimistic about full-fledged NFTs. Speaking at the Gamesbeat Summit in November 2021, CEO Strauss Zelnick explained why he thinks NFTs are a perfect fit for his properties.

“We know people like to collect things. We know people appreciate scarcity. What makes the value of a collector’s item? An intersection of a perception of underlying value and quality, and scarcity. NFTs can provide that. They can offer a digital version of that. There is no doubt that people value digital goods. It’s digital, rare and collectable.

Rockstar Games / Take-Two Interactive

3. Xbox: In November 2021, Xbox Executive Vice President of Games Phil Spencer offered Axes a more cautious statement on the future of NFTs in gaming.

“What I would say today on NFT is that I think there is a lot of speculation and experimentation going on, and some of the creatives I see today feel more exploitative than on the entertainment.”

2. Sega: Until December 2021 management meetingSega CEO Haruki Satomi was also cautious about the future of NFTs, saying he would step down from the company if his audience didn’t like him.

“We need to carefully assess many things such as how we can mitigate the negative elements, how well we can bring this into Japanese regulations, what will be accepted and what will not by users. Then we’ll look at this in more detail if it leads to our “Create Constantly, Captivate Forever” mission, but if this is seen as just a lucrative business, I’d like to make the decision not to continue. “

1. Epic games: Although used as an example above, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted in September 2021 that his company will not offer NFT in its games. However, Epic is “open to games that support cryptocurrency or blockchain-based assets” on the Epic Games Store platform if they are created by other developers.

“We are not touching NFTs because the whole field is currently entangled in an insoluble mixture of scams, interesting decentralized technology foundations and scams.”

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