A Ubisoft executive has reacted to the backlash against the company’s desire to add NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to its games. In December, the publisher announced Quartz, an NFT platform that lets people buy and sell unique digital items, which it called Digits. Employees and consumers have criticized the move, with many worrying about the environmental impact of NFTs and a Ubisoft developer saying they’re “just another way to make money”.
Quartz’s backlash was swift. Within 24 hours of Ubisoft announcing the platform in a YouTube trailer, over 35,000 people had clicked the dislike button, and just over 1,300 liked it.
Ubisoft’s first foray into NFTs didn’t exactly make gangbusters. He gave some to players who reached certain levels of playtime or experience in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. It offered players the option to purchase NFTs, but sales were reportedly very slow. Someone who purchased one, which is a gun skin with a unique little serial number, told Waypoint that “it didn’t feel any different than using any other cosmetic, but the serial number personalized and being able to view it outside of the Ghost Recon experience really added a level of ownership that I appreciate.
Nevertheless, Nicolas Pouard, vice president of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab, suggested that gamers simply don’t understand the utility of NFTs.
“I think gamers don’t understand what a digital secondary market can do for them. Right now, due to the current NFT situation and context, gamers really believe it’s destruction first of the planet, and then just a speculative tool,” Pouard said. says Finder. “But what we [at Ubisoft] see first is endgame. Endgame is about giving players the ability to resell their items once they’re done with them or have finished playing the game itself. So it’s really, for them. It’s really beneficial. But they don’t understand right now.”
Pouard also said that Ubisoft considered announcing Quartz without making any reference to the fact that the numbers are actually NFTs, but decided against it because players would have recognized what was going on anyway. “So we decided it wouldn’t be very smart to try to hide it,” he said. “Our principle is to build a safe place and a safe environment with Quartz, so we need to be transparent about what we do.”
NFTs are essentially a certificate of authenticity designed to live on the blockchain. The idea is that an NFT is a public record of ownership of a digital asset. In reality, it is a verified link to a file somewhere on the Internet that the owner of the destination URL can modify or even delete.
Along with claims that they may amount to a pyramid scheme, many critics have expressed concern about the environmental impact.