Blockchain games and NFTs in video games were a hot topic by the end of 2021, and continue to be, spurred on by the early success of Axie Infinity’s play-to-earn (P2E) model. After all, it’s hard to ignore a sector that plays with billions of dollars.
The potential of Axie’s P2E model, which gives players ownership of in-game items (tokens) that they can sell for real money, was immediately apparent. Its success showcased the potential economic benefits of combining blockchain technology and gaming, and spurred a slew of smaller developers to release similar offerings. More specifically, it also led to established video game studios trying to forge their way in.
And they did try hard. Between November and February, video game giants from Ubisoft and Sega to Square Enix all announced their intention to cash in on the NFT craze.
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Their fans didn’t like it. But despite overwhelmingly negative feedback from both gamers and the industry, companies said they would include NFTs in future releases (or even add them to updates to existing titles). And the backlash only seemed to get worse with each announcement about NFTs.
When there is money to be made, feedback can go unheard of, and often does. Still, a few big gaming companies backtracked on their plans. So what happened?
It appears that the lackluster performance of a few companies’ gaming NFT implementations has caused some to rethink their crypto efforts. From Ubisoft’s embarrassing attempt with Ubisoft Quartz to Axie Infinity falling from the edge of the world, it’s easy to assume the gaming blockchain party ended before it really started.
Setbacks or not, Ubisoft seems confident that NFTs will play a role in the future of video games.
Well, it isn’t. Pandora’s Box is now open and efforts to legitimize a potentially predatory monetization model are not going to stop anytime soon.
But that’s still a while away. Let’s put the doom and gloom aside for now and take a look at where some of the major video game players stand:
Ubisoft may not have laid all its eggs in the NFT basket, but it is betting very heavily on the crypto space.
It certainly started on this path way before its rivals did. As early as 2018, Ubisoft expressed an interest in the larger crypto space as one of the founding members of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance. And despite the intended audience fighting against the company’s crypto plans every step of the way, it hasn’t slowed down.
The company launched a beta version of Ubisoft Quartz last December, saying it is an attempt to demonstrate the value NFTs can bring to video games. But it seems to have done the exact opposite.