NFTs in video games: risks and opportunities of a technology that is here to stay?

The NFTs concept is on everyone’s lips. Many understand the term, others are understood and some last all this sounds like Chinese. If you ask me from a few months ago, NFTs were not important at all and I could go by without knowing about them beyond the basics, but their rapid and powerful emergence in video games has made me start to be interested in how they could affect the video game, and Ubisoft QuartzIt’s the thing about the digital age, as soon as we get rid of abusive microtransactions a new kind of digital economy and transaction comes to video games.

The companies have responded as quickly as expected to this new phenomenon, with Epic Games, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft as a group that supports them, and Steam shielding itself against the NFTs on its platform. Neither is right, but neither are they wrong.

First of all, why Ghost Recon Breakpoint ? The answer that I get in my head is that the last title of this war IP did not have the best possible reception – both from the press and from the players – and Ubisoft has taken it as a test subject. It would be even more logical that Yves Guillemot’s company had opted for much more important IPs such as Rainbow Six: Siege,The Division or, to a lesser extent, For Honor. I would even dare to say Riders Republic for being the novelty of this year.

Be that as it may, the NFTs have come to stay – regardless of whoever it may be – and the French company has been the first to not only position itself in favor of these tokens but also to create a platform in a very short time. Ubisoft Quartz is the first powerful project with a millionaire capital investment made in pursuit of NFTs in video games, but NFTs lend themselves to misuse by companies and users.

NFTs in video games
NFTs in video games

The “pay to win” to the umpteenth power

The truth is that NFTs as such are not new to the video game. Companies like EA have included tokens and a similar monetization system through FIFA Ultimate Team since 2009, no less than 11 years ago. We all agree that although they are not exactly the same, the preferred mode by the players and that generates the most income for Electronic Arts is based on the sale of packs and players in the form of cards.

These cannot be sold outside of the game for real money and are not yours personal, they are associated with each player’s FUT account, but they are the basis on which EA will tailor its future NFTs. In the case of Ubisoft, these non-fungible tokens are presented in Breakpoint through cosmetic items that only players who have the Ultimate editions of the game will be able to get.

It is not yet clear how, but the operation will be simple as the Gauls seek to prioritize, above all, fun. However, in this aspect there is a fine line that players are afraid of being exceeded : that of “pay to win”. The concept of NFTs is clear: ” play to earn “, that is, playing to get, but this can be easily perverted as money calls money.

Microtransactions made their way into the video game world since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion with that skin for our horse. From small cosmetic elements we went on to game experiences that were diminished by the inclusion of bonuses such as those of Star Wars Battlefront II or Shadow of War. Could this be the case for NFTs? In principle no, but it is very easy to want to go to extremes , even in order to test and test the player with tokens that improve parameters or have exclusive bonuses that affect the game.

The business of NFTs

Keep in mind that NFTs are, essentially, an element included in a video game for later resale. The basis of the economics of these tokens is that a player gets them – or buys them from an artist if we are talking about a piece of art, for example – and preserves them until the moment their price rises or gets a good offer for them.

There is no player – at least not the average user interested in these tokens – that gets hold of an NFT for the sheer joy of storing it in their inventory. Its operation in the video game is something like a ” live and digital museum “. As these are aesthetic elements, the player who gets a certain token will use it in multiplayer games as if it were a showcase and two more problems open up to the NFT business: speculation and the massive search for NFTs, leaving it up to the other players without being able to get hold of any of these tokens.

At the moment, Ubisoft has promised that it will keep the entry and exit of its Digits active and will even distribute these tokens for free for the next few months so that you are not limited to a few cosmetic items. In this sense, Ubisoft has been fast and has solved one of the most important problems of this digital economy: the massive accumulation of tokens by a player.

If we look at the Ubisoft Quartz question and answer page, each player will only be able to access one token per game to avoid speculation. Thus, all transactions that include a second Digit, would be canceled by Ubisoft to preserve the good atmosphere of the community.Will the Gauls stick to their ideas?

It is difficult to elucidate what will happen in the future, but if we look at other titles with a digital economy of this type – such as Axie Infinity, where each player raises a cute monster and then can sell it – it is very difficult for Ubisoft to remain stoic and do not increase the amount of these tokens to power this economy.

Priority to entry of income

And here we enter the last section: income and portfolio growth. Ubisoft Quartz is only a platform to introduce non-fungible tokens in the company’s video games, but to sell or exchange them we have to resort to third-party applications such as Rarible or objkt.

For each transaction, Ubisoft will take a percentage of the sales previously agreed with these applications, so the fun can be quickly replaced by the search for economic profit. We have faced dozens of titles that have come out with content cut to be sold later in the form of DLCs, expansions or seasons, and this can carry over to the world of NFTs.

Ubisoft has the opportunity to ensure that these tokens can coexist peacefully with the average player who does not seek these “pay to earn” experiences, and it starts from within, that is, in the development of the titles. The creation of these tokens may take precedence in the development of a future title – especially if we talk about future online experiences that would be transferred to their franchises such as Assassin’s Creed Infinity or The Division – over the base content.

The ball is right now on the roof of all these companies that have welcomed this digital economy, especially the French company. The NFTs are a reality within the video game that can be perverted very easily or be part of this entertainment medium without many problems. It all depends, again, on the company’s vision and future intentions. However, if you ask my opinion I will only say that experience is the best teacher in life.

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