Two years ago, NFTs, these “non-fungible tokens” that use the blockchain to ensure digital authenticity, landed. While the world was just recovering from the advent of cryptocurrencies, a new technology, incomprehensible to the layman’s eyes, invaded social networks.
Highlighted by huge auction records like the Nyan Cat meme or the “very first tweet”, NFT-mania has quickly recovered its followers in the cryptobros camp. Soon Twitter was flooded with profile pictures of ugly monkeys, and NFTs were everywhere: from Easter eggs to Madonna’s 3D vagina.
So, of course, the video game industry, which always wants to be one step ahead, has also taken hold of this technology. There are games entirely based on NFTs, but most from large publishers mainstream they have also at least dipped a finger in it, from Ubisoft (Ubisoft Quartz) to Square Enix via Sega. It then becomes possible to have unique “items” in the game and even resell them.
See also on Konbini
The internet reacts
Quickly, in the ranks of gamers, mechanical keyboards squeal. There is an air of déjà vu with the booty arrived a few years earlier. These paid “boxes” that offered random rewards weren’t very appealing to players and had even drawn the ire of governments like Belgium who banned them, considering them as “gambling”.
On the Internet, the counteroffensive against cryptobros took time, but it happened. “NFT scams” have finally found their way, and every major corporate initiative promoting this technology has been met with a sea of criticism, teasing, and well-placed trolls as the internet knows so well.
In late 2021, Discord CEO Jason Citron announced that he was considering integrating NFTs into his voice chat software. Thousands of people then explain to him that they will not hesitate to unsubscribe from their paid “Nitro” accounts if NFT arrives on the platform. A few days later, Citron apologizes and explains that the concept had been alone “vaguely mentioned” internally.
Although initially the enthusiasm for NFTs was quite strong, especially in the Web3 sphere (metavers, crypto, etc.), it quickly gave way to skepticism, distrust and strong criticism. Bill Gates himself has not hidden his disgust at this “trend” intended, in his opinion, for “idiots”.
“Who could have predicted the collapse of NFTs?”
As for the big game publishers, we can hope that feedback from their gaming communities may have turned them off. In reality, there are also economic circumstances, as the NFT market collapsed in the summer of 2022. The NFT of Jack Dorsey’s “first tweet” sold for $ 2.9 million, thus finding itself worth a year later only a few hundred dollars.
Amidst the economic collapse and the ire of gamers, the publishers finally backed off. Last September, Ubisoft even announced that it had withdrawn its “Ubisoft Quartz” project from the NFT. Meanwhile, other giants like Minecraft ensured that NFTs would never have a place in their game, addressing them in the process. Same thing from Valve which rejected games based on blockchain on their Steam platform.
In France, we could also talk about the various announcements of NFT projects by e-sports teams like Karmine Corp. Announced a year agounder fire from critics, the projects seem to have never lasted or even seen the light of day.
The conclusion of 2022 for the video game industry could be seen at the Game Awards. If we know that Geoff Keighley’s ceremony is favorable to numerous announcements of innovations and promotions of all kinds (from Doritos to Logitech via Samsung), no project based on blockchain it was not announced.
In short, gamers complained, the market has collapsed and we can easily continue to ruin ourselves by paying for our non-unique skins. And what a pleasure.