KEY POINTS

  • NFT or Non-Fungible Token exploded in 2021
  • Some game developers and publishers plan to introduce NFT to the gaming industry
  • Several gamers are resistant to the idea 

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian recently predicted that 90% of games will be blockchain-based play-to-earn titles in five years. But, despite this prediction, a lot of gamers are skeptical or highly resistant, even suspicious, of more in-game purchases.

Initially, developers thought that gamers are better primed to embrace NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, since understanding the latest tech trend may seem like second nature to gamers, who, for the most part, are well-versed in the process of in-game virtual currencies and the idea that digital assets have real financial value.

But, it appears that this is not the case. When developers discovered a new way to earn revenue, they tried to introduce NFTs in the industry, but gamers' reaction said it all. Last year, Gaming studio Square Enix released a statement about NFTs but it was mocked; and when Ubisoft introduced NFTs, it was not received well by the community, resulting in poor sales.

Gamers streaming their play on the Twitch platform helped boost the popularity of Among Us
Gamers streaming their play on the Twitch platform helped boost the popularity of Among Us AFP / SYLVAIN THOMAS

Gamers were also furious when GSC Game World attempted to incorporate NFTs into its upcoming game "STALKER 2," which forced the gaming studio to backtrack on the plan. But it is not just gamers, Valve also banned NFT games from the Steam store.

One of the major reasons why gamers are cold to NFTs is because of trust. Players commit a lot of time, money and passion to the games they play, that's why they are very particular about the behavior of gaming companies. Over the years, gaming companies' experiments with new money-making strategies like loot boxes, microtransactions and pay-to-win mechanics have compromised players' enjoyment of the game.

The New York Times quoted Fanbyte editor and game streamer Merritt K as saying that "antagonism toward the companies has built up over the last decade partly because of the growing number of microtransactions. So when game makers introduced NFTs as an additional element to buy and sell, players were “primed to call this stuff out. We’ve been here before."

Gamers are also skeptical if NFTs will actually provide real value to players. Many games already come with in-game marketplaces, so gamers wonder why gaming studios need to connect those to Non-Fungible Tokens.

Gamer and YouTuber Mutahar Anas, who has 3 million subscribers said, "People are being sold buzzwords. Those pushing NFTs in games trying to sell you snake oil," The New York Times reported.

Gamers are also particular about scams across the NFT space. This fear comes from the crypto bubble, where prices were driven up by speculation and hyped non-fungible tokens dramatically lose their value soon after the buzz goes down. Gamers do not like to spend a lot and are left hanging when the bubble bursts.

The most common reason for gamers' skepticism of NFT and blockchain-based games is the environmental cost. They also ask why gaming companies would turn to Ethereum and Bitcoin when there are several other eco-friendly alternatives.

To some who are not in favor of blockchain, blockchain-based games and related assets like NFTs, the crypto craze has gone too fast and too far. For them, cryptocurrencies are "digital Ponzi schemes" with prices inflated artificially.

Others question if blockchain and cryptocurrencies have any long-term utility. Despite gaming studios' best efforts to secure gamers' interest, to some players, the move is nothing short of a "cash grab."

The New York Times quoted a 22-year-old gamer who goes by the name Matt Kee as saying, "I just hate that they keep finding ways to nickel-and-dime us in whatever way they can." The statement came after "Kingdom Hearts" announced it is embracing NFTs.

"I don’t see anywhere mentioning how that benefits the gamer, how that improves gameplay. It’s always about, ‘How can I make money off this," the Twitter user added.

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