Following a weekend report of a poll suggesting Activision Blizzard is looking into developing NFT-based games, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra took to Twitter to say in no uncertain terms that’s not happening.
The survey hosted and reported by research and analytics company YouGov game rantasked respondents to rate their interest in a variety of “emerging/upcoming gaming trends,” including photorealistic graphics, cloud-based gaming on services like Stadia, subscription-based services like PC Game Pass, and “Metaverse gaming experiences,” which whatever that is.
However, the survey raised two specific topics that set off alarm bells: play-to-earn games (cryptocurrency, NFTs, or earn real currency) and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). NFTs are essentially unique digital items, although as we explained in our rundown of what to expect from NFTs in games in 2022, it’s all a bit messy: it’s not exactly the image of the monkey you own, but a bit of data – a digital certificate – that says it’s yours.
Adding to this ongoing confusion about what exactly is (and isn’t) an NFT, the cryptocurrency mining process is notoriously harmful to the environment, and NFT-based games and marketplaces are notoriously prone to fraud and rip-offs.
A number of game companies have pulled out amid widespread backlash over plans or endeavors for NFTs: for example, after expressing enthusiasm for the future of NFTs in late 2021, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said in February 2022 that it It remains to be seen what role NFTs and blockchain will play in video game collectibles in the future.
Presumably anticipating the reaction, Ybarra acted quickly to quell speculation:
“Nobody does NFTs,” he said.
Nobody does NFTs.April 17, 2022
Reaction to Ybarra’s tweet was divided, with some followers expressing relief that Blizzard isn’t diving into the scene, while others point out that there wouldn’t be polls on NFTs unless there was at least some level of peripheral interest in them.
Of course, companies do surveys on all sorts of things, sometimes on some pretty wacky ideas. You won’t know if you don’t ask. For now, it seems that Activision is really just asking Blizzard questions, although there’s no guarantee Blizzard won’t go blockchain at some point.
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