NFT in games: what is it and how bad it is

Briefly about the technology for those who are too lazy to figure out why gamers are burning, in which direction to fight and why it is not always just a resale of publicly available pictures.

It so happened that just a few days ago I spoke at a conference with a report on NFT. The conference was legal, but before my speech I tried to study the topic, and now, probably, I can comment on the latest news about NFT in these our stalkers and yubisoft. In addition, you probably do not have enough articles about this technology (during the preparation of this post, six more appeared on the DTF).

What is this anyway? Is it some kind of pyramid?
NFT is another fashionable invention of programmers, which, in fact, is a unique entry in a distributed ledger (blockchain). As a rule, it can be sold / transferred to another person. Have you heard about shareholder registers or real estate registers? This is it, just decentralized and on the blockchain. An entry in the real estate registry confirms that you own a specific apartment. An entry in the register of shareholders confirms that you own a certain number of shares in a particular company.

A record in the form of an NFT (token) confirms … and this is where it all begins: a token can confirm completely different things, or it may not confirm anything – it depends solely on the desire of companies and society to recognize or not recognize them. Here there can be both ephemeral “ownership of the original digital work”, which does not give any rights at all, and full-fledged sets of rights provided for by an agreement with the NFT exchange and the creator of the token.

And no, NFT is not a pyramid and not necessarily a scam – like other technologies, it can be used in different ways. But it cannot be denied that the concentration of scam projects on NFT now exceeds reasonable limits.

And how do you plan to use NFT in games now?


Now, in the conditional Assassin’s Creed, we will not buy a fire armor skin, but a certificate that gives a fire armor skin in the game. An additional logical link literally without any meaning other than marketing.

I don’t deny that it’s possible to build a good game entirely on the concept of non-fungible tokens, but in the coming years this is the lot of indie authors. For example, Molyneux can get something like that, although at the moment his concept is no different from Star Citizen, the authors of which sell virtual ships and hectares to players without any blockchains (and the olds can remember Entropia Universe with virtual land trading). You can also remember the project “Cryptokitties”, which is hardly related to games: it is based on the mechanism of “crossing” and obtaining new unique kittens, which somehow justifies the use of NFT.

In large projects like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 or Yubisoft games, tokens will be used simply as a wrapper for traditional technologies for pumping money out of players. Try to find out for yourself the difference between “the developers will sell NFT for the appearance of a person in the game” and “the developers will add the appearance of five backers, who have invested a thousand bucks,” into the game.

Yes, strictly speaking, “under the hood” they will work on different technologies (and even then they are just words), but for the players, most likely, there will be no difference. It makes no difference to you whether the information about your purchase is recorded somewhere in a centralized database or in the blockchain – the only important thing is that you get access to certain content in the game for which you paid. Well, it is beneficial for a company to draw attention to its product using buzzwords.

But if NFT technology doesn’t bring anything new to games, what is it for?

To keep gamers on fire, the media wrote about these games, and boards of directors proudly reported to shareholders on the implementation of disruptive technologies.

The only gameplay use of NFT that comes to my mind so far (and was mentioned in the comments around here) is the ability to use the same token in different games. Since the registry exists separately, Ubisoft will be able to, say, sell a certificate for the Sam Fisher skin, which will be activated in Rainbow Six, Division and Watch Dogs. However, nothing prevented them from implementing something similar before without using blockchain, huh.

Otherwise, this is the same situation as with the hype on neural networks, big date, agile, etc., the labels of which were molded on everything (which does not negate the presence of projects that were really implemented on new technologies, but have there often been cases when huge gaming corporations experimented and created something qualitatively new?).

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