This is a blog about the ills of market manipulation and mistaken beliefs surrounding NFTs. It aims to provide some necessary perspective for people who are new to this topic, but don’t know where else to turn.
The “nfts gaming” is a term that has been used for quite some time now. It refers to items in games that are not tradable on the market, but can be traded between players. The problem with this definition is that it doesn’t explain how NFTs work, which leads to confusion and misinformation about what they are and what they do.
Just say no to NFTs (pic: Konami)
A reader debunks several common misconceptions concerning NFTs in video games, particularly the notion that they can be transferred from one game to another.
As a result, despite fan objections, the NFT craze continues to grow, with more and more publishers insisting on backing them. In a previous piece, Joseph Dowland presented a decent introduction of what NFTs are; instead, I’d want to look at some of the claims made by publishers and NFT advocates about how they are meant to enhance gameplay.
There are other claims about what NFTs are meant to contribute to games that utilize them, but the primary complaints, apart from the inherent wastefulness of blockchains in general, seem to fall into three categories:
- If developers chose to, they could already do so.
- They don’t want to for a variety of reasons.
- It would be a lot of effort if they did it anyhow, and NFTs would be of little use.
There are unique products for everyone.
This sounds fantastic: your character, weapon, or whatever the NFT symbolizes is completely unique to you, and no one else has one like it. The apparent issue is who creates these materials. Building a 3D character model takes roughly 30-50 hours on average, and more for anything crucial, so if you want developers to create a completely unique character for each player, development time will have to be stretched by millennia.
Of course, there are shortcuts; Ubisoft’s answer was to make all the goods identical, except for an useless ID number that you can’t see in game. Alternatively, they might employ procedural generation to create something like to one of the billions of firearms in a Borderlands game, or one of the slightly different hideous ape images that every crypto lover has as a Twitter avatar.
At the very least, it’s less monotonous than the Ubisoft troops, but it’s hardly a game changer (and of course nothing in this requires blockchain). They must also maintain a delicate balance — your random weapon is a 2HP pistol, while your opponent wields a massive minigun with homing missiles on secondary fire, so have fun!
You have the option to sell your things.
In Diablo 3, Blizzard attempted this with a real-money auction house, but it failed miserably and had to be patched out. People were pushed into monotonous grinding to gather goods to sell, and the game basically lost its major motivation to keep playing in the endgame for those who weren’t attempting to earn a life off it.
Online games in typically have regulations prohibiting selling your account, and although this is mostly due to the fact that the publishers do not profit from it, it also upsets the game’s balance, which is harmful for players.
You maintain your things even if the game goes offline.
This isn’t true, even if you don’t understand why you desire stuff for a game you can’t play. The NFT is a connection to that thing on a server someplace, rather than the item itself. That server is either owned by the publisher, console maker, or leased from a third party like Amazon or Google. In any case, it costs money, and no publisher will continue to pay if there is no advantage to them.
Transfer stuff from one game to the next.
This is the most important one. It sounds thrilling, but it also implies that the person you’re speaking with has no knowledge how game production works from a design, technical, or legal standpoint.
Simply said, you can’t move objects from one game to another by dragging and dropping them. There’s a whole community of modders working on translating weapons and armour from Fallout 3 to Fallout: New Vegas – that’s two games in the same franchise, utilizing the same engine, graphical style, and fundamental gameplay mechanics, with no doubt a lot of shared code, and it’s still a lot of effort. When dealing with games from various series on different engines, with diverse graphics and play styles, you effectively have to start over every time.
Even if there are no technological concerns, transferring items from game to game is seldom a good idea. Imagine if Ubisoft made Units transferable across all of their games – military hardware makes sense in Ghost Recon, and perhaps other Tom Clancy games as well, but when the ninth-century Viking in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla starts wielding an assault rifle, it gets a little ridiculous, especially in a game like Rayman.
But the NFT advocates don’t just speak about exchanging assets across games from the same publisher; they claim you’ll be able to put them in any game you choose, which would be impossible even with a flawless technological solution.
What’s in it for Epic to allow users use their copyrighted designs in a competitor game if they purchase a skin in Fortnite and want to use it in Call Of Duty? What’s the point of Activision going to the trouble of importing the skin if they’re not being paid? If the skin is a licensed character, the corporation that owns it must also consent to its usage in other games, which will require a lot of legal wrangling.
TGN Professor, a reader
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NFTs are a way to sell digital items in video games. The problem is that they’re not fully decentralized and can be centralized by the game developers. Reference: games that use nfts.
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