Why gaming NFTs aren’t Oblivion Horse Armor 2.0
Yesterday, the gaming community collectively revolted over a love letter Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda wrote about blockchain and NFTs, stating that the two would be a key part of the company’s strategy over the past year.
NFTs invading traditional video games have been an emerging front in the war between gamers and publishers, although in reality most of the executives of these companies, as there would be an internal setback on the idea of integration. blockchain / NFT within some of these companies, as we have seen with Ubisoft.
Ubisoft recently attempted to release limited quantity NFTs in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which sparked mass outrage from gamers and no significant aftermarket sales. STALKER 2 was forced to cancel the NFT-based promotion for the game after online players were turned away. Despite this, Square Enix, and undoubtedly other companies, are moving forward with NFTs in games and blockchain-based offerings.
There’s a refrain I hear that it’s “inevitable” for the game, and even skeptical press reviews say it sounds a lot like the Oblivion Horse Armor situation of centuries ago. This was notoriously the first real introduction of post-launch microtransactions, where Bethesda charged extra money for armor to put on your horse in Oblivion, and it sparked outrage among fans.
The idea is that although players were crazy at first, this practice has become accepted over time and now almost every game has microtransactions or loot boxes and everything in between. The theory is that even if NFTs are poorly implemented and cause outrage now, it will fade over time.
I don’t think these are equivalent situations. Here’s why.
The arrival of Oblivion Horse Armor and the advent of post-launch DLC was something that could be seen as an immediate benefit to publishers and developers. One of the two things was true. Either you can take something that might have been in the game to start with and sell it separately, making some extra cash from the work that’s already done. Or you could do some amount of extra work, if the content was not planned for launch, and still earn a lot of money in proportion to the hours invested. It was, and has been, a win-win situation for publishers, and helped offset increased game development costs and pad profits.
This is not true with the idea of NFTs, at least not the way they continue to be presented. Some common “benefits” of NFTs that are touted by crypto-devotees:
Limited quantity items produced in NFT form allow players to feel a special connection to their equipment – Players already feel an attachment to their loot and collections in games, and issuing limited NFTs that can be salvaged and only transferred through sale destroys the motivation to acquire high-end loot in games. many game savings. And making that loot powerful, not just cosmetic, would be the instant death of the concept, for even today’s microtransactions have learned not to go that route. Yet most blockchain games are okay with selling power to the highest bidder. And if you To do want to sell energy and make money with digital objects, these avenues already exist in mobile games and gacha, no blockchain is required.
Limited Quantity NFTs are a Potentially Important Revenue Generator for Publishers – The idea that producing a single item that only a few hundred or a few thousand players have access to is not achievable in most games. There’s a whole thread from a Bungie developer on this that talks about the process of making such an item, presumably for massive waste compared to a more traditional microtransction:
Players want to “play to win” and see their time investment rewarded with NFTs or valuable tokens – Turning your playing time into low-paying work has psychological effects on the player that these crypto advocates overlook. We don’t even have to imagine what that might feel like, given that we already exist in a world of gold and farm items for cash. They are not “gamers”, they are low paid workers who experience the game in a way that no one wants to play. Generating gamified tokens is not the same as playing an actual video game. This idea leads to weirdly muffled statements like the one we got from Square Enix’s Matsuda:
“Advances in token economies are likely to add new impetus to this trend towards diversification. I see the “play to win” concept that gets people excited as a prime example of this. “
“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.
If you start to see ‘play for fun’ as optional in your game with the goal of making it an income generator for both you and (to a lesser extent) the gamer, things will not turn out that way. you think so. .
NFTs would allow items to be used in multiple games through consistent player ownership – This is one of those “has anyone here already seen a video game before? moments. The logistics of trying to create items that could be used in entirely different games are not logistically possible outside of a metaverse vision fifty years from now that does not and will not exist. for eons. I imagine it would be hard enough to transfer items even within the same editor (i.e. Ghost Recon Breakpoint items to Far Cry) and forget anything bigger than that, like picking up Destiny armor sets in Fortnite or Call of Duty loadouts in Battlefield. It is completely absurd. Literally far from a reality. This is the flying car pitch of the NFTs.
NOTFTs make players feel secure about actually owning their digital items – If there’s one thing I certainly don’t associate with NFTs right now, it’s security, given that every couple of days there’s a story trending in my timeline about someone’s hacked wallet. ‘one and loses access to his precious monkey photos, necessitating the freezing of sales and asset recovery to be rectified. And in twenty years of playing and building inventories, I never felt my digital items were in danger of being stolen outside of… someone hacking into your account or somehow ripping you off. ‘another in the game, which, again, is constantly happening in the NFT. space too. I have occasionally lost items due to technical issues, but restoring gear / loot / inventory is a common practice in these situations.
NFTs give players intrinsic value in their collections – I explained why limited quantity NFTs do not make sense, so that only unlimited NFTs remain. But in this situation, it’s actually no different than the way things are now in games that have auction houses where you can buy and sell items for in-game or world money. real. In the past, real money auction houses have decimated game savings and player motivation so much that they had to be phased out (Diablo 3), so I’m not sure that’s the selling point. that you think you are. And there is no real justification for all of this needing blockchain as an essential part of the process.
I’m not saying blockchain will never have any use at all in games. And of course, better ways to track digital ownership might be a reasonable thing to have in the future, as more virtual spaces start to connect with each other. And yet, literally, nothing in the current case for incorporating NFTs into games makes it seem like they solve an immediate problem or offer a benefit to the publisher, developer. Where player. Instead, they come up with ecologically questionable retreads of systems that already exist in games today, or pitch ideas that are so ridiculously impractical that they would be mocked at any development meeting. Sadly, these are meetings I imagine going on right now between cryptic executives and hapless developers trying to explain that no, we can not build NFT loot in our AAA shooter game which will transfer to Roblox and Minecraft.
If crypto enthusiasts really care about adoption, not quick money, they need to back down when it comes to playing with these absurd, almost insulting proposals that show how little they know about the reality of the market. play and game creation. If this is the future of the game, one day the current situation is going to set it back several miles, and this slow implementation of “Horse Armor” is going to feel like a raging hell that will wake up the player’s hive every time. that she will present herself. the undefined future. I wouldn’t want to be the next studio or game that heralds NFTs in today’s landscape, and yet the executives living in this bubble are sure to keep trying.
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