The novel idea of playing video games to earn money could soon be the norm in the video game industry in the future.
Electronic Arts (EA) CEO Andrew Wilson recently said that Non-Fungible Token (NFT) and "play-to-earn" (PTE) games would be "an important part of the future of [the video game industry]" during the company's earnings call for the second fiscal quarter of 2022. However, he cautioned about diving too early into the NFT scene despite the level of hype about it.
"I do think [NFTs] will be an important part of the future of [the video gaming] industry on a go-forward basis. But it's still early to kind of figure out how that's going to work," Wilson warned. He may have also hinted that EA may be looking at developing a PTE game of their own, saying the company is "in a really good position".
For those unaware, NFTs are "one-of-a-kind" digital assets that represent real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. These can be bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Etherium. NFTs are also encoded with the same software as the cryptocurrencies previously mentioned. Like with cryptocurrencies, NFTs use a record called a blockchain that contains information on who owns what NFT.
The difference between cryptocurrencies and NFTs is that the former is fungible, meaning that they can be exchanged and traded for each other, with the value remaining equal i.e. one Bitcoin is always worth one Bitcoin. NFTs, as the name implies, are non-fungible, meaning that they can't be equally traded with another person like cryptocurrencies due to their unique properties.
Because of these traits, NFTs have become popular with gamers as a way to earn income. Gamers can sell their NFTs to one another using cryptocurrencies and even earn tokens from doing so. Most NFTs can be purchased with Etherium, as it supports NFTs due to them being part of its blockchain. Games like Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained became widely popular due to their usage of NFTs.
EA might be making good on its word as the company was found to be on the lookout for a senior director that would work on the competitive gaming scene and new business opportunities, including NFTs.
Ubisoft seemingly also has the same idea. The company recently announced its plans to develop its own NFT game, investing in blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands and revealing its plans to integrate blockchain technology in its future games. However, Ubisoft still does not have any concrete plan for NFTs as of the publication of this article.
Despite the popularity of NFT games, there are some controversies around them. Valve was recently found to have banned games with NFTs or cryptocurrencies on its online platform, Steam. BFT game developer SpacePirate tweeted that the ban was an extension of a general ban on items that have a real-world monetary value.
On the other hand, Valve's competitor, Epic Games, said on 15 October 2021 that its online platform would support NFT games with some limitations. Developers would have to comply with financial laws, clarify how the blockchain is used and have appropriate age ratings to do business with Epic Games.
It is unknown if Epic Games is interested in developing its own NFT game, but Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney's statement may hint otherwise.
NFTs have also been a cause of concern due to the recent scams in the past few months. Evil Apes, the developer of the NFT fighting game "Evolved Apes", was reported to have disappeared with US$2.7 million worth of Etherium a week after the game went live. However, criminal charges against the game's developer are still unclear. According to Jdmjem, an administrator of the game's Discord server, there might not be a case against Evolved Ape's developer even though police reports have been filed. This is because those who have purchased the game's NFTs got what they paid for, and "at the end of the day, any promises of a game or other development fall out of the scope of your purchase".
"People are trying to file police reports but [the] problem is this unknown turf and while unethical not technically illegal. We all got what we paid for," Jdmjem said.
Despite the developer's disappearance, Evolved Apes' community renamed themselves as Fight Back Apes, swearing to carry on "as a community against our nemesis Evil Ape."
To avoid being scammed, Tech Times advises people to treat NFT games like regular video games - if it doesn't make sense, it's risky to buy NFTs. The publication also said to do a background check on the developers, their online presence (websites, social media, interviews, etc.) and their partners to make sure they are legitimate. Last but not least, potential players should check on the long-term sustainability of the NFT tokens.
Written by John Paul Joaquin