NFTs in the world of video games

NFT gaming is one of 2022's biggest new NFT trends, and it will be hard for developers and publishers to ignore.

Quick reminder: What’s NFT and what does it mean ?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. It is a digital certificate of authenticity created thanks to a blockchain, the one of Ethereum (which is also a cryptocurrency). NFTs are said to be "non-fungible", as they cannot be replaced by anything else, they remain unique. This makes them different from other crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, for example, because one Bitcoin can be exchanged for another, its value remains the same.

To summarize, an NFT is a unique code attached to any digitally available "thing". It can be a photo, an audio track, a text, ...  Its certificate of ownership is stored on the blockchain.

Today, we hear mostly about NFT with pictures. Artists have created NFT images (jpg, for example) to resell them on the market. Owning one of these NFTs makes the owner the only official owner of the image. In concrete terms, this could be similar to the release of a collector's edition of a vinyl record, numbered and signed by an artist. The quantity of vinyl edited and pressed is limited and the authenticity of this one is identifiable thanks to the signature of the artist as well as by its edition number.

A phenomenon that is progressively gaining strength in the video game world

What's the point of NFTs in the video game world? It is said that everything that is rare is expensive. Some people are willing to pay a lot of money to get a rare or even unique item, sometimes with the intention of selling it for more. For now, NFTs don't seem to be a big advancement in the world of video games, since microtransactions, Season Pass and other DLCs have already been offering digital content for a fee for a long time. But now imagine that a very famous player manages to complete a difficult quest in front of millions of viewers on Twitch. Proud of his achievement, he could very well decide at the end of his quest to sell the sword he used during his journey. More than a simple skin, we can imagine how much some people would be willing to spend to play with the very sword he used to defeat this particular monster.

The entrance of NFTs in video games could lead to a big change in consumer habits. For example, it would allow a player to buy a unique outfit for his character in a multiplayer game, of which he would be the exclusive owner, and potentially allow him to sell it later, once again in the form of an NFT, at a higher or lower price. The player would therefore inject real money into the game to benefit from a volatile service without being able to really measure its future resale price. It's a bit like playing a stock market but within a video game. In any case, the developer and producer of the game would receive a percentage of the transaction, regardless of the amount of the resale. 

Several developers have already announced that they want to create NFTs like Ubisoft or GSC Game World and its game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. Ubisoft also announced a few months ago the introduction of a platform called Quartz. A platform of NFT which will be named Digits and which for the moment can be used for Ghost Recon Breakpoint. 

However, this evolution is far from being unanimously approved by gamers and the various video game actors. Phil Spencer, Xbox boss, spoke about this last November

 “What I can tell you today about NFT is that I think there's a lot of speculation and experimentation going on with this technology, and some of the stuff I see today is more exploitation than entertainment [...] I think anything we see in our catalog that we consider exploitation would be something we would act on immediately. We just don't want to see that kind of content in our home.

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May 16, 2022