It seems hard not to know who they are, and if you have, I congratulate you. NFTs are “essential to the future of our company,” according to EA, while blockchain technology offers a “revolution” in the play to earn games industry, according to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. Non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-based mechanism to store digital assets like terrible monkey paintings, are being hailed as the next great thing in gaming, but there’s one problem: no one has been able to explain what they’re for.
Despite the buzz that NFTs are generating on social media and in business boardrooms, it’s hard to see them having a bright future in video game play to earn money. The bulk of what they offer players is already possible with non-blockchain technology, and the one advantage they give – portable digital ownership – is unimaginable in today’s triple-A play-to-earn gaming ecosystem.
Look no farther than Valve’s horrible collectible card game Artifact to see how NFTs will be best play to earn games in the future. Magic: The Gathering aided in the creation of Artifact. It’s based on the very popular Dota 2 game’s characters and concepts. Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield and his colleagues employed an innovative economic model in which players could buy and sell cards outside of the game through the Steam Marketplace. Players were free to trade or sell cards as they liked, even as rare and powerful cards gained in value.
Artifact’s first monetisation strategy was identical to what NFT evangelists are now promoting: in-game items that are not reliant on the game and can be kept and appreciated as ownable assets. Garfield previously said that the Artifact team sought to avoid “manipulating people” by developing a simple revenue model that players wouldn’t have to guess about.
The main problem with this notion is that it was loathed by players. Many people were offended by Artifact’s original $20 price tag. Others found that playing without the possibility of winning free rewards was disappointing. Because the notion of cards having and holding value was incompatible with a system that simply distributes them to everyone once they accomplish specific objectives or spend a certain amount of time playing, this was fundamental to Artifact’s creation.
There are two conceivable outcomes. Either players contribute to the system in return for game assets (or NFTs in a hypothetical future game), or the game gives them away for free through a play-to-earn method, as some NFT proponents have advocated. Artifact adopted the former option and never drew a large enough player base to sustain its ecosystem. Within three months of the game’s release, the value of a complete deck had dropped from over $300 to less than $100, and there isn’t a single card on the market worth more than three cents, the Steam Marketplace’s absolute lowest price.
Instead of gaining cards via play, our hypothetical NFT-based card game may let players to earn them through gaming, but the impact on market value remains the same. If fresh copies are produced at a constant pace, the cards will never appreciate in value.
Even if a future NFT-based game addresses this problem, it will still be unable to present a compelling reason for its existence. Despite its failure, Artifact demonstrated that all of this can be accomplished without using blockchain technology. Without incurring the massive energy costs associated with blockchain technology, play to earn games can achieve everything you’re likely to see given by play to earn games promoting NFT integration using normal database systems like the Steam Community Marketplace.
As a result, the best-case scenario for NFTs in play to earn games is that they just replicate present systems in a significantly less efficient way. On the other hand, NFTs have one more important trick up their sleeves. Their ardent supporters will always remind you that blockchain enables decentralised ownership – when you use this technology, you no longer just use an account on someone else’s servers; instead, you own the assets and can do whatever you want with them, including transferring them to other play to earn games and using them there.
Perhaps there is a world where this is a feasible notion in the triple-A play to earn games business, but that world does not exist in this one. Regardless matter how frequently the term’metaverse’ is used in advertising language, no major play to earn games publisher will sign on to a scheme that encourages players to spend time exploring the walled gardens of other publishers’ stuff.
The longer time consumers spend playing a game, the more likely they are to spend money on ‘player recurrent investment,’ which contributes for about half of Ubisoft’s overall digital profits.
It’s impossible to see participants becoming into actual “stakeholders” with the power to migrate their assets to other ecosystems. And that’s without even considering the massive technical challenges that would have to be overcome in order to make assets from one game usable in another. Where does a company get the desire to put in all that time and effort only to provide players a reason to bring their toys into another game?
Perhaps a game-changing innovation in the way NFTs play to earn games is on the way that will change this viewpoint. It’s possible; the issue with actual innovation is that it’s hard to foresee. However, as things stand today, and for the foreseeable future, NFTs are a potentially dangerous and costly obsession, and Artifact is their first failed prototype.
As a result, it seems as though avoiding hearing about them would be impossible, and if you have, I envy you. NFTs are “essential to the future of our company,” according to EA, while blockchain technology offers a “revolution” in the gaming industry, according to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. Non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-based mechanism to store digital assets like terrible monkey paintings, are being hailed as the next great thing in gaming, but there’s one problem: no one has been able to explain what they’re for.