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A hot potato: Do you think NFTs in games are about as welcome as an unidentified lump on your body? If that’s the case, Ubisoft says not to worry: you just don’t get it. An interview with two of the company’s executives behind the NFT push reveals that Ubisoft doesn’t think it should change its stance on non-fungible tokens, but it’s us who need to wise up and accept them. After all, they’re “really beneficial.”
While Ubisoft has been investing in blockchain titles through its Strategic Innovation Lab since at least 2018, and CEO Yves Guillemot is a founding member of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance, the studio was one the first major developers to shoehorn NFTs into its games by adding them to Ghost Recon Breakpoint through the Ubisoft Quartz platform launch last month.
The reaction from gamers was a flood of dislikes for the Quartz announcement video, and hardly anyone bought the NFTs, but Ubisoft doubled down and insisted it would stick to its principles. Now, in an interview with Australian site Finder (via Kotaku), it appears to be placing the blame on gamers' lack of understanding.
“I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them. For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it’s first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they’re finished with them or they’re finished playing the game itself,” said Nicolas Pouard, VP at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab.
“So, it’s really, for them. It’s really beneficial. But they don’t get it for now.”
Many people consider NFTs in games to be nothing more than a cynical cash-grab by the companies implementing them, but Pouard reemphasized that they’re about helping players make money, “So, it's not just about Ubisoft, actually.” Ubisoft will get a cut from each item sold, of course, so it’s quite a bit about the company, actually.
Pouard was also asked about Stalker 2, a game that got so much backlash from its NFT announcement that the devs removed them. “It's saddening to see there's still some resistance based on misunderstanding,” Pouard added.
It’s not just Ubisoft that is diving onboard the NFT bandwagon. Square Enix, EA, Facebook, Coinbase, YouTube, and many more are embracing them, seemingly ignoring the huge amount of criticism and anger coming from the majority of people. But Ubisoft, which was found to be the most hated games company in the world last year (based on tweets), has been vocal in its defense—though blaming players who “don’t get it” is moving things up a level.