Some of the largest gaming publishers are taking advantage of the recent profit calls to express optimistic optimism that the concept of non-fungible tokens (and blockchain in general) is part of their future business in one way or another.
Ubisoft launched this microtrend late last week in a call for earnings. As reported by the International Business Times, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors and analysts that he considers the blockchain to be “very attractive in the long term” and could represent a “revolution” in the industry.
Guillemot showed particular interest in the ability of NFTs to enable “play-to-earn” models, where in-game items acquired through normal gameplay can be sold for a profit. This model is already used by early NFT games such as Axie infinity, where players (especially those in developing countries) can earn a monetizable cryptocurrency by battling Pokémon-style monsters against each other. Guillemot said this type of model “will allow more players to earn content and their own content, and we believe it will grow the industry quite a bit.”
In a summary document that accompanies the prize notification, Ubisoft also pointed out that the company was a founding member of the Blockchain Gaming Alliance, and it participated in a recent round of funding for a blockchain licensing company Animoca brands. This experience gives Ubisoft “the perspective to think about the best ways to overcome the initial limitations of blockchain for gaming in terms of sustainability and scalability,” the company wrote.
NFT Ultimate Team?
Ubisoft was followed this week by Electronic Arts, whose CEO is Andrew Wilson said in a phone conversation that fans of him FIFA games “want more digital experiences outside of the game – esports, NFTs, wider sports consumption – and they want us to move really, very quickly.”
the FIFA Game series (whose exclusive license is with EA currently in the air) already makes a large portion of its revenue from selling trading cards for the game’s Ultimate Team mode, which is considered illegal gambling in some countries. While Ultimate Team has served EA as a good money maker without the use of blockchain technology, EA seems curious about how NFTs can help the mode and other in-game collectibles make more money.
“As a company, we are leading the way in creating digital content that has real collector’s value by embedding that content in live services,” said Wilson. “So to say early [for NFTs]but I think we are in a really good position and you should expect us to be more innovative and creative about it in the future. “
While Wilson said he believes NFTs “will be an important part of the future of our industry,” he acknowledged that it “is still early to find out how this will work”.
“Anything that gets more people into it and keeps those people involved for more time in the context of the conversation that would make it – I think it’s a good thing over time,” he added. “I think the play-to-earn or NFT talk is very, very early and there is a lot of discussion.
Too Much Speculation?
Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick shared the same general position. In a chat with GamesIndustry.biz this weekZelnick said bluntly that “if you believe in collectable physical goods, I don’t know why you wouldn’t believe in collectable digital goods.” While NFTs aren’t 100 percent necessary to track and verify these digital assets, Zelnick said they are “a way to authenticate the fact that something unique is rare”. [online]. “
However, Zelnick expressed some caution given the extreme speculation he sees in the current market for NFTs. “What I don’t believe is that just because something is digital or an NFT suddenly has value and / or value that will be increased in the future,” he said. “And I think that’s the problem. NFTs are seen by some as just another opportunity to invest in what some believe will be because they are connected to the blockchain as it is currently being considered and because some have gone for a lot of money are just rising. And speculation not only increases, it also decreases. “
“For an NFT to be valuable and durable, it has to be at the intersection of rarity and quality, rarity and value,” he continued. “And there sure is rarity in all NFTs, but I’m not sure there is any value.”
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