GAMES: Ubisoft Says NFT Critics “Don’t Get It”

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.

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