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What just happened? Like so many things, it appears that adding NFTs to video games is something few people want, but companies do it anyway because, well, money. Ubisoft, repeatedly voted the most disliked studio in the world, recently confirmed that non-fungible tokens would be coming to one of its major titles—Ghost Recon Breakpoint—and it's angered a lot of gamers.
Update: The original article claimed the video had been delisted from YouTube. Ubisoft says that the trailer was originally posted as unlisted to direct more traffic to its website, ubisoft.quartz.com, where it remains embedded.
Last month saw both Ubisoft and another much-loved gaming giant, EA, confirm their plans to embrace non-fungible token (NFT) and play-to-earn games. This wasn’t new ground for the French firm; Ubisoft has been investigating blockchain titles through its Strategic Innovation Lab since at least 2018, and CEO Yves Guillemot said Ubisoft—a founding member of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance—considers blockchain to be a new revolution.
Not too surprisingly, Ubisoft Quartz was announced earlier this week. The NFT-based platform allows users to acquire non-fungible tokens called Digits, which include the likes of weapons and vehicles, for use in games. The selling point is that they’re unique to the buyer and feature their own serial numbers and traceable history. They come with a certificate of ownership stored on the blockchain, allowing owners to put them up for sale on third-party marketplaces.
But it appears companies are a lot more excited about NFTs and the extra money they will bring in than players. The Quartz announcement clip has almost 220,000 views, just 1,400 likes, and, as shown by a Chrome extension, over 31,000 dislikes.
The Ubisoft Quartz website remains live, so it appears that the company isn’t abandoning its NFT plans, despite the public response. Ultimately, non-fungibles in mainstream games, at least in this form, are little more than unnecessary complications of DLC and something most people don’t even want. At least Xbox head Phil Spencer isn’t keen on them.