Are Steam’s competitors going ahead? – While the Steam gaming platform has clearly chosen to turn its back on NFTs and blockchain game projects , X box does not plan to be so categorical. Indeed, if the person in charge of the brand held by Microsoft has made known his skepticism with regard to NFTs, he does not intend to completely close the door to these new technologies.
Xbox does not intend to give in to NFT-mania
On November 16, 2021, during an interview with Axios, the general manager of the game division ( Xbox ) at Microsoft Phil Spencer, remained cautious about the arrival of NFT in video games. Without clearly announcing that Xbox will never integrate NFTs in its games, Phil Spencer has not yet declared himself in favor of their generalization in the video game industry.
First and foremost, he considers that certain game projects using NFTs have a purpose other than that of simple entertainment:
“What I would say today on NFT is that I think there is a lot of speculation and experimentation going on, and some of the achievements that I see today are there to exploit the trend, rather than to entertain or create. ”
Then he made it clear that Xbox is not completely closed to game projects using NFTs. However, the firm intends to study them closely and disqualify them, as soon as the gameplay switches to “exploitation” or speculative.
Finally, it should be noted that the opinion of Phil Spencer may have its weight in the balance of “for or against NFT” and the generalization of blockchain games. Indeed, Xbox occupies the second place of the world market of video game consoles, just behind Sony’s PlayStation.
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Video game giants differing views on NFTs
As was pointed out in the introduction, the Steam video game platform owned by Valve has banned blockchain games and those using NFTs on its platform. To do this, the company has inserted an exclusion clause for these games in their general conditions of use.
Other companies in the video game industry have made the opposite choice, focusing on the use of these new technologies. This is the case, for example, of Ubisoft which invested in the company Ultra in order to participate in the tesnet of the UOS blockchain.
Likewise, Epic, which is now Steam’s main competitor, has claimed that blockchain games or NFTs will be available on their platform, as long as they do not violate terms and conditions.
The future will tell which of these companies made the right choice. However, according to a recent study of 197 American and British video game publishers, the use of blockchain technology and NFTs is expected to become widespread in the industry in the next 2 years.
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You may have heard of the NFT (Non Fongible Token, or Token Non Fongible in French). But, is that perhaps still unclear to you? To put it simply, this is a technological advance born thanks to the Blockchain. This allows you to own a digital token, which authenticates and tracks the value of an entirely digital asset, or an asset linked to a physical object, so as to be immutable and inviolable. Lately, it is the rapper Booba who made the buzz by offering his first title NFT.
Not surprisingly, the NFT should arrive sooner or later in the video game world. For his part, Phil Spencer, the general manager of Xbox is not yet excited by this principle.
Phil Spencer calms the game around NFTs
It is in an interview with the Axios site, that Phil Spencer made some revelations concerning the future of NFT at Xbox. According to the latter, it does not look very glorious.
What I would say today about NFTs, all in all, is that I think there is a lot of speculation and experimentation going on, and some of the creations I see today are more than the order of exploitation as entertainment. I think anything we see in our catalog that we see as exploitation would be something we would take action on. We don’t want that kind of content.
Phil Spencer is therefore categorical, Xbox does not want to have this kind of content within Xbox Game Studios. But what about third-party publishers who would like to feature this in their games coming out on Xbox?
I don’t think it is necessary for every NFT game to be operated. I just think that we are in this period where people find out everything. And I can understand that at first, you see a lot of things that are probably not things you want to have in your store.
NFTs in video games: a real interest?
Publishers will therefore have to be careful. Phil Spencer criticizes NFTs for being a new, still misunderstood, very recent technology that all players do not yet understand.
Today, when you buy a character skin in games like Fortnite, you unlock an extremely rare item after an endless loot session. This is also the case in other titles like Destiny, FIFA Ultimate Team, or World of Warcraft. Oftentimes, you have to reach into your wallet to get items… But alas, nothing really belongs to you.
With NFTs, that may be able to change. If your Fortnite character skin was an NFT, you would be free to resell it, rent it, transfer it to another account, or keep it. You would be the one and only owner. In FIFA, your FUT card collection might not start from scratch every year.
Ubisoft is one of the first “mainstream” companies to have immersed itself in the NFT adventure with its Les Lapins Crétins franchise. The French publisher has worked for hand in hand with Sorare, the pioneers of NFT football games. Electronic Arts recently announced that the firm will also be interested in NFT after having studied the technology at length, to understand its evolutions applicable to their various games and services.
Compromising the rental business model without the right to own the Game Pass, Microsoft does not see it very well. It is now around Take Two to look into the matter. One thing is certain, this technology will arrive sooner than expected in the video game industry.