Xbox boss Phil Spencer weighs in on NFT games, warns they can be 'more exploitative than...


Posts: 8,324   +103
Staff member
In context: Following recent announcements by several large gaming companies of their intent to embrace NFT/blockchain games, Microsoft's Executive Vice-President of Gaming, Phil Spencer, has weighed in on the debate. Thankfully for most gamers, he's not a fan.

Play-to-earn blockchain games are becoming increasingly popular. For those unfamiliar, they incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as in-game tradeable items that players can earn as achievements. These NFTs can then become more valuable before being sold to other players, and are often useable across multiple titles. Many of these games require an up-front payment in crypto to play.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently said play-to-earn games would play a meaningful part in the company's future, and Ubisoft has been investing in these titles since 2018, but Xbox's Spencer has a more cautious view.

"What I'd say today on NFT, all up, is I think there's a lot of speculation and experimentation that's happening, and that some of the creative that I see today feels more exploitive than about entertainment," he told Axios.

Splinterlands, a popular play-to-earn game

Spencer went on to say he doesn't consider every NFT game to be exploitative but understands people are wary and why there is so much controversy surrounding the area.

"I think anything that we looked at in our storefront that we said is exploitive would be something that we would, you know, take action on," he added. "We don't want that kind of content."

In October, blockchain games experienced a setback when Valve booted them all off Steam because NFTs have value, though Epic stepped in and confirmed it welcomes these titles.

In addition to the environmental impact—the average NFT has a carbon footprint equivalent to more than a month of electricity usage for the average person living in the European Union—there is an inherent risk associated with NFTs. The creator of the Evolved Apes set of NFTs disappeared last month along with a website, a Twitter account, and millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Elsewhere, a Squid Game-inspired blockchain game that turned out to be a scam netted its creators $2 million.

Permalink to story.


George Keech

Posts: 265   +458
This is the first time I have heard someone say this and honestly surprised its such a big company saying so. I completely agree myself, the fact EA seemed to be behind it didn't help its imagine either.


Posts: 525   +600
NFT games are more like gambling or at best, gacha games, than actual video games. And people who are into them don't seem to actually care one iota about the "game" part.

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,333   +8,531
Yep .... it should be obvious to anyone after they run into their first "loot box" .....


Posts: 198   +117
Yup, my friend isn't playing an NFT game, but keeps "playing" games where you basically win by powering up your items (not by actual skill, he' convinced it's a skill game but it's clearly not). Powering up is done by running -- I can't make this up -- *500* ads. And eventually you supposedly would get a gift card. Of course, the vast majority of these asre scams, so the credits needed to get a gift card mysteriously quit accumulating just before you get enough to get a gift card; or they claim the gift card is "out of stock" (of course, these are electronic codes they get on the fly so there's no stock of them to run out of), or the game just plain crashes and resets to 0 credits.

Sounds similar to me -- they think these NFT will have some real-world value. Of course a) the item itself is quite worthless (these aren't even tokens claiming you "own" a collectable art pieces or whatever... which I find the price people pay for these dubious too but whatever.... they're effectively just game currency) and b) The dubious prices people have paid for other NFT is based on scarcity; if these game companies are just churning these out to any and all players, they are not scarce.