Congratulations once again to Ubisoft, as they're one of the biggest gaming companies now adding NFTs into their games. Well, they're planning to do so anyway, according to this article from the International Business Times.
The article states that "not only invest in Animoca Brands, a blockchain gaming company, but also announced its plans to integrate blockchain technology into its video games releasing in the future." Apparently, things are vague for now, but there's a big chance this vagueness is to try and gauge how the general public will take the news.
It comes along with the idea that they could use play-to-earn in games to give players cryptocurrency for playing their games. It's all basically because the head of the company, Yves Guillemot, is a big fan of blockchain saying that " It will imply more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it's going to grow the industry quite a lot." We're not as sold on the idea.
What is an NFT?
We'll be brief here, but a lot of people have heard of NFTs but still don't really get it. An NFT is a non-fungible token, which is a convuluted way of saying that it's something unique. It could theoretically be a way of owning lots of things, but has mostly been used for digital art at the moment. The idea is that you own a thing a token that shows you own a piece of digital art, even though literally everyone else could screenshot it, save it, or take a picture of it. But hey, at least you're the owner.
As explained in this article on The Verge, "At a very high level, most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or dogecoin, but its blockchain also supports these NFTs, which store extra information that makes them work differently from, say, an ETH coin." So, they're linked with cryptocurrencies too.
This also means that both of these things are woven into things like bitcoin mining, which is contributing to an increase in energy usage globally at a notable rate. Also, lots of people are using NFTs as an opportunity to scam people who like Elon Musk specifically, as reported by Engadget recently, and Vice three years ago. No word on what it is that makes these people so gullible though.
How could NFTs work in gaming?
So that's NFTs in a very small nutshell. If it sounds absurd to you, then you can read this tweet of a Tumblr post explaining them, and then probably still think they sound absurd.
Anyway, having NFTs in gaming would allow companies to sell unique skins to players, which they would do as one-offs or as limited runs. Though, any more than one would make them sort-of fungible tokens, so we doubt the latter. It could be any number of different things from specific skins for characters, bits of artwork, music, or anything else. These could literally just be colour swaps rather than anything more intricate. Keep in mind that there only being one of these would literally be artificial scarcity of the most blatant kind.
The IBT article states that Frederick Duguet, the Ubisoft Chief Financial Officer, said "[Blockchain] will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it's going to grow the industry quite a lot. We've been working with lots of small companies going on blockchain and we're starting to have a good know-how on how it can impact the industry, and we want to be one of the key players here."
Read More: Bitcoin Is Using More Energy Than Ever
Why will NFTs be bad for gaming?
For this one, we're going to look into Animoca Brands, the company that Ubisoft has been investing in. This is a company that has been spitting out games. A Twitter user by the name of @MOOMANiBE stated some alleged facts about the company including the fact that they have received over 200 million dollars in funding from Ubisoft and other companies.
The company also seems to churn out games with the promise of the NFTs and coins they produce being useful or worth something in some way, but doesn't seem to have made good on any of those instances whatsoever. Also, the games have a very low uptick, probably due to the fact that could well be scams.
So, if this is the future of NFTs in gaming, you can expect a lot of noise, very little action, and maybe some added expenses to both our wallets and probably the impact gaming has on the environment. It all sounds a bit like a scam, doesn't it? It would then also lead to even stranger kinds of microtransactions. It would also likely lead to a secondary market for them that would be almost exclusively built on luck or just huge financial backing. If you think trying to get your favourite skin now is annoying, imagine there only being one of them and everyone being after it.