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A hot potato: Few subjects get people’s blood boiling quite like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) being added to games. It seems that although the vast majority of consumers are against the practice, many in the industry simply don’t care and plan to push on with their schemes, which are definitely for the benefit of players and not another way for companies to make money. However, It Takes Two director Josef Fares is not a fan and says he would rather get shot than include NFTs in his games.
Fares has a reputation for speaking his mind, having famously uttered the line “F*ck the Oscars” at the 2017 Game Awards. He certainly had a good time at this year’s event, where It Takes Two won Game of the Year, Best Multiplayer Game, and Best Family Game.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Fares was asked if Hazelight Studios would follow in the footsteps of other firms and embrace live-service games and NFTs. “Live service? We’ll never have that,” he said. “Some games are actually designed for it. I’m just saying [for] the games we do — story-based games, most single-player games — the focus on replayability shouldn’t be there because that’s not what it’s about. We already have a problem that people are not even finishing single-player experience games, so why focus on replayability?”
Fares pulled no punches when talking about NFTs, admitting he would rather get “shot in the knee” than include them in his games. “Let me tell you this: Whatever decision you take in a game, where you have to adjust the design to make the player pay or do something that makes you want him to pay money, that is wrong, if you ask me. If you make a game [with the goal of telling] a story, I think it’s wrong,” he said. “Now, if you ask a big CEO that runs a company, he would say I’m stupid because companies are about making money. But I would still say no. For me, gaming is art.”
NFTs have become a hot-button topic in gaming right now. Several companies have been falling over themselves trying to shoehorn them into upcoming titles, which in the case of Stalker 2, led to a backlash so severe that the devs abandoned all plans to include them.
Ubisoft has been at the center of the NFT-in-games controversy. The company has long supported blockchain-based titles and is adding NFTs to Ghost Recon Breakpoint. The announcement video for the Ubisoft Quartz platform was met with a flood of dislikes, and it appears nobody is actually buying the items, but Ubisoft says it won’t back down from its plans.
Some game companies are finding more success with NFTs. Peter Molyneux's recently announced blockchain-based sim Legacy has already sold over $50 million worth of virtual land, with the most expensive plot selling for almost $1 million.