NFT: The “Lord of the Rings” in the eyes of game manufacturers

Last December, what impressed me most about Ubisoft was its NFT project “Ubisoft Quartz”. Ubisoft said that Ubisoft Quartz can provide players with a new experience. Some game skins and equipment will be released in limited quantities in the form of NFTs. They are not only in-game props, but can also be traded on designated third-party markets.

On the official website of Ubisoft Quartz, Ubisoft spent a lot of time introducing the advantages of NFTs, depicting beautiful visions such as decentralization and metaverse, but most players are not optimistic about this NFT project, and some even scold Ubisoft. The project trailer for Ubisoft Quartz is currently hidden on YouTube, and there are few good words to be found in the video comments section.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(YouTube now hides the specific number of dislikes and likes, but the anger of players can still be seen from the comment area)

Some readers may not understand why Ubisoft is still promoting the NFT project when players are not optimistic. Why did such a good game manufacturer fall into the NFT circle?

In fact, it’s not just Ubisoft. In places you don’t know, many traditional game makers, including Sega and Capcom, have been exploring the NFT field for a while. In their view, NFTs are as alluring as the “Lord of the Rings”.

The industry is in action

Let’s start with Ubisoft, who was the first to stand up and take action on its own 3A games. Ubisoft is arguably the most active of all traditional game makers on NFTs, and has been groping in this field for a while. It’s just that Ubisoft Quartz came too suddenly, giving everyone the illusion that Ayu was in a hurry to make money.

Ubisoft has a support program called “Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab”, which is led by Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab to help and support companies that have the potential to change the entertainment industry. Now Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab has come to the 6th phase, and there are many support projects related to NFT in it.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab, literally translated as “Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab”)

In the sixth phase of the project, there is the NFT mobile game “GUILD OF GUARDIANS”, where players can convert the props in the game into real-world currency; Horizon Blockchain Games not only launched the NFT game “Skyweaver”, but also provides blockchain-related services. ;NonFungible is an NFT data platform that can provide customers with customized market reports.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(The homepage of “GUILD OF GUARDIANS”, a big selling point is “players can turn their enthusiasm into NFTs”)

There is also Aleph.im in the NFT project supported by Ubisoft Entrepreneurs Lab, and Ubisoft Quartz of Ubisoft has also reached a cooperation with it. To say that people are more impressed by Aleph.im, their founder said in an interview: “In the future, most large game manufacturers will introduce NFT support to games, which will enable players to have a more enjoyable gaming experience.”

Ubisoft also invested in Animoca Brands, a popular NFT game development company, in October 2021. In an interview with GamesBeat, Xiao Yi, chairman of Animoca Brands, said: “As you know, Ubisoft has been watching the blockchain space for a while. Many NFT projects have been successful through Ubisoft’s support program or acceleration program. Ubisoft really understands blockchain, and the investment in Animoca Brands is a sign.”

It is not difficult to see that Ubisoft is really interested in the NFT market, and has also made a lot of preparations, but these preparations all happen in places that are not easily accessible to players.

Not only Ubisoft, but also many game makers we are familiar with have launched NFT projects or have shown great interest in NFT.

For example, Sega announced in April this year that it would invest in double jump .tokyo, an NFT game development company, and reached a cooperation with it to sell NFT digital content using blockchain technology. At the same time, Sega also stated in the statement that it will use this investment as an opportunity to develop NFT content for various IP works in its hands.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

And Sega seems to be very optimistic about the development of the NFT market. In Sega’s financial report, there is a description on how to expand revenue during the company’s downturn, and “investing in emerging industries such as NFTs” is one of them.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(This is the place where NFT is mentioned in the financial report, but you can see its importance from the content)

For many readers who only pay attention to stand-alone games, SE seems to have nothing to do with NFT, but don’t forget that SE has a nickname called “Mobile Game Factory” in the market. SE announced on June 9, 2021 the launch of an NFT project for its own “Million King Arthur” mobile game series, called “Asset Million King Arthur”.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(The name “Asset Million King Arthur” is very spiritual)

“Asset Million Arthur” provides users with limited NFT digital stickers. The sticker pattern is drawn by Mr. ちょぼらうにょぽみ, the author of the four-frame comic “Weak Acid Million Arthur”. In addition to recording information such as the purchase and ownership history of the item, each NFT digital sticker has a different pattern to ensure that the owner gets a unique NFT item.

At present, the NFT items we mentioned are only used for collection or trading with others. In contrast, Capcom’s NFT projects have a certain “playability” in addition to this.

Capcom entered the market relatively early. At the end of 20 years, it reached a cooperation with the blockchain platform WAX to launch the NFT digital trading card with the theme of “Street Fighter”. There are two types of cards, “Basic Cards” and “Build Cards”, which collectors can combine to unlock new cards. “Building Cards” are destroyed after being used for synthesis, further increasing the rarity of the cards. The benefit is that collectors have the opportunity to obtain special cards through merging.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

KONAMI, which has made a lot of money in business such as Pachinko, has also seen the new market of NFT, and launched the “City Devil 35th Anniversary NFT” while the “City Devil” series ushered in the 35th anniversary. I know some friends can’t walk when they see “Devil City”, and they say something: “Although it doesn’t seem to be useful, it is “Devil City”.” But KONAMI said that these NFT products may not necessarily be Appreciation, if you want to buy this NFT product with the attitude of “I like Castlevania, just make an investment”, then I advise you to think twice.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

Interestingly, this product belongs to the “KONAMI Commemorative NFT” series, and maybe we can see KONAMI in the NFT field in the future.

EA is very cautious about NFTs. I haven’t seen them launch NFT projects yet, but they say they are very interested in NFTs. In a conference call at the end of 21, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that “collectible digital content” will play an important role in the future, and EA should think creatively on a cutting-edge basis. But he didn’t die, and added at the end: “It’s still too early to figure out its operating mode.”

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has publicly stated that he is a believer of NFTs. He does not understand that everyone trusts physical collectibles, but he is skeptical of NFTs. He feels that the only problem with NFTs now is that many people think that the value of NFT collections will only rise, not fall. This is the same as KONAMI’s statement. Maybe many investors have fallen into trouble in NFT.

The layout of the traditional game manufacturers’ layout, the statement of the position, but NFT is not a ruthless money-giving machine. On this new track, some people are happy and some are sad.

Not everyone can eat NFT this bowl of rice

In this part, let’s first introduce the current winners of traditional game manufacturers in the NFT market. For SE and Capcom, the NFT project can be described in two words – really fragrant!

I don’t know if the “Million King Arthur” series has ushered in a new upswing period, or whether NFT is really compatible with mobile games. SE is quite satisfied with the market performance of “Asset-based Million Arthur”.

SE stated in the financial report that the two previously launched NFT stickers of “Asset Million King Arthur” have all been sold out. NFT can indeed be combined with the IP in hand, and it plans to actively expand related markets in the future. At the same time, SE believes that the conceptual experimental stage has ended, NFT has a high affinity with its own IP, and will transition to a full commercialization stage in the future.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

The financial report does not explain what is going on in this “complete commercialization stage”, whether it is to continue to cultivate “Asset Million King Arthur”, or to take out more IP to make NFT products. Years ago I thought the former was more likely, after all, they were happily selling the 3rd issue of Asset Millions King Arthur stickers. Unexpectedly, the president of SE said in the New Year’s message that the “Play To Earn” mode of NFT can stimulate players’ creative desire, and more high-quality player-made content will emerge. Now that the president has stood up to express his position, it means that SE’s attitude towards NFT is more inclined to the latter.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(You can earn if you go out, then keep going out)

Coming to Capcom, their “Street Fighter” NFT cards are also selling hot. According to foreign media DappRadar, Capcom sold 65,000 packs of NFT cards in just 24 hours, with a total transaction amount exceeding $2 million, which shows its popularity.

In the NFT trading market, Street Fighter cards are also popular commodities. Depending on the rarity, some cards sell for less than a dollar, but there are also cards that can break the $60 mark and change hands as a full-price game.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(The market performance of Street Fighter NFT cards is very good)

After talking about the two most profitable companies, let’s talk about the game makers whose NFT projects are not performing well.

Although Sega used NFT as a life-saving medicine in the financial report, their NFT project performance was really mediocre.

When it announced the launch of NFT products, Sega was madly sprayed by Sonic fans. As for why Sonic fans came out to spray this project, it’s also interesting. We all know that Sonic is the mascot of Sega, and the official avatar of Sega is also Sonic. It is easy for fans to mistake it for Sega to launch the Sonic NFT project.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(Look at the content of this tweet where Sonic is mentioned, this wave is indeed injustice)

The reason for the opposition of Sonic fans is also very simple, the NFT project is not environmentally friendly enough. Some players said in an official statement, “The Sonic game showed players over-development and the environment was completely destroyed. You are joking now.” “Sonic is a little environmentalist, you use Sonic to engage in NFT. , I don’t think so.”

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(The picture shows the Earth Day campaign, and Sega chose Sonic as its spokesperson)

It may be due to this that Sega’s NFT artworks are generally not of high value in the market. If Sega wants to make money from NFTs, it may have to work harder. Now the situation is that it has been scolded and can’t make much money. It’s too bad.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(Sonic’s NFT item)

What surprised me is that the CEO of Sega said at a conference that he is willing to conduct various experiments in the field of NFTs, but if NFTs are seen as simple money-making tools, they will never advance this matter. Although their NFT project market performance is not very good, I think it is cool that the company executives can say this at a time when everyone wants to enter the NFT market.

Sega’s situation is nothing compared to Ubisoft, and Ubisoft’s side is so miserable that there is nowhere to say it. Friends who often follow NFT news must know that the Ubisoft NFT project promotional video was scolded by the audience to hide it, the transaction volume of NFT items was low, and their own employees did not understand what the project was going to do. They came out and said they would continue to explore the NFT project and were laughed at by everyone. But everyone may not know that Ayu was also caught by the guild in his hometown.

The French guild Solidaires Informatique issued a statement criticizing Ubisoft’s decision shortly after Ubisoft’s official announcement of the NFT project, calling blockchain technology “a harmful, valueless, and ecologically innocuous technology.” . The guild wrote in a statement:

We are not ignorant of NFTs, on the contrary we are opposed to NFTs because we understand them. What NFTs can do is financial fraud, and it takes us away from the fun of video games. The so-called “innovation” of blockchain is simply doing the same thing with more electricity.

Although the point of view is relatively sharp, this guild does point out a problem: from the current performance, it is no different from the accessories store, which is the most embarrassing place for Ubisoft Quartz at present.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

After sorting out the word-of-mouth and market performance of NFT projects of traditional game manufacturers, some readers are still confused, knowing that players are not interested in NFTs, why are game manufacturers still so interested in NFTs, is it to catch up with the trend? Or is it true that NFTs can expand the gameplay as they said when promoting the project?

Maybe the reason is not that complicated. Some game manufacturers have answered this question directly. They launched NFT projects to make money.

The magic of NFTs

Not long ago, the developer GSC Game World announced that it would add NFT to its own game “Stalker 2”, which caused huge controversy among players. Finally, the official decided to withdraw the decision to add NFT to the game. Afterwards, the official said very honestly that they issued NFTs to make money.

“Stalker 2 is the largest and most complex game we’ve ever made,” the developers said in the announcement. “All the money we get during development, including the potential revenue from NFTs, will be used to improve players’ expectations. A game that has been around for a long time, make it better.” In short, they hope to get funds from NFTs to help complete game development.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

Let’s look back at the NFT products launched by “Stalker 2”: exclusive gloves, tattoos, skins, badges, collection cards; naming rights for game props and buildings; a real player is made into the game in the form of an NPC, but the production The team will downplay the importance of this NPC and will not be involved in the main story of Stalker 2. It can be seen that developers are trying to avoid the influence of NFTs on game content. They sell NFTs to make some milk powder money and continue to make games, but there are still many people who do not buy it.

Games should not have anything to do with NFTs. This is the attitude of the vast majority of players towards NFTs.

Some readers may be surprised. I think the NFT of “Stalker 2” is acceptable. The developers get the money to continue to develop the game, and the players get better quality games. Isn’t this a win-win? True, but I understand what players are worried about.

Taking “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” as an example, Ubisoft has added a level acceleration package to the game, which allows the protagonist to level up faster with a little money. If players feel that the upgrade is slow, is the game designed like this, or did the developers deliberately make players feel that they are slow to upgrade, creating the need for level acceleration packs? No one can tell.

Those who launched NFT collectibles alone are fine, but those who add NFT directly to the game itself, whether it is the Play To Earn mode or the combination with the blockchain market like Ubisoft Quartz, are all around a new economic system designed. In this economic system, players are encouraged to buy and sell digital items with each other, the most important thing is to make as much money as possible, and having fun is secondary.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

(Axie Infinity, the representative of the game while playing and earning, many people rely on it to support their families)

This is what players are worried about. Game manufacturers may change the original operating rules of the game in order to promote NFT, and even have the possibility of breaking the balance of the game like the micro-transaction system. That’s why everyone rejects NFT so much and wants to nip it in the bud.

Not only players, but also game developers have put forward similar views. Game developer @maxnichols sent 20 tweets to analyze the impact of NFT on the game. The summary is as follows:

  • NFTs have adverse effects on the environment and society.
  • Games without NFT content will either perform badly or just as well.
  • Adding NFTs to a game distorts the original intent of the game.
  • Most players don’t like the earn-as-you-play model.

NFT: The "Lord of the Rings" in the eyes of game manufacturers

This is not an isolated case. A game developer in Ubisoft’s internal social center MANA said that he did not understand what old problems this new technology solved. middle.

Although in the eyes of players and some game developers, it is a stupid decision to add NFT to games, but if we look from the manufacturer’s point of view, the development time of single-player games is getting longer and longer, and the development cost is also increasing year by year, even if the investment is huge There’s no guarantee that the game will sell out. In order to recover costs or make profits, they have tried selling krypton gold skins, issuing season tickets, and making games into service-oriented games. NFT is a new choice for game manufacturers, and it is worth a try no matter how much opposition there is. , this is the magic of NFTs.

Even now no one knows how well a stand-alone game fits NFT, but as long as it has the possibility of making a lot of money, there will still be game makers who are obsessed with Gollum, chasing the “Lord of the Rings” NFT.

References:

Microtransactions in Games Ruined Gaming: NFTs Could Be the Answer

The Arrival of In-Game NFTs is Already Generating Heavy Resistance

Blockchain in Gaming Is all the Rage for No Good Reason

Ubisoft’s NFT scheme criticized as ‘useless, costly, ecologically mortifying’ by French trade union

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