What are NFTs and how are they trying to change video games?
Publishers are considering making NFT games. What does it mean?
To truly understand NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and cryptocurrency in general, you must travel to a crossroads between computer science and experimental economic theory. It is a dry place. Most people don’t want to go and they are not alone.
Valve has banned all games that use Steam’s NFTs. The Video Game Awards apparently do the same for their show in 2021. Xbox director Phil Spencer says they sometimes feel “… more exploitative than for entertainment.” Alex Stamos, former chief information officer of Yahoo and Facebook, says NFTs are “”mostly scams. “
None of this has stopped big names like Sega and Ubisoft from expressing their interest in some sort of cryptic games. If and when they do, they will join a number of large companies that have already jumped aboard the crypto-train.
But will they really commit? Everything depends on you. If you end up wanting games with NFT, the big names will. Likewise, if you think NFTs are garbage and refuse to invest your money in it, they will turn out to be a passing fad in games, the art world, and everywhere else. In order to help you decide whether or not you like the idea of ââDTVs, we’re going to take you to this sometimes confusing and boring place where money and computers meet, and we’re going to be as fun and exciting about it as we can.
So what is an NFT? In short, it’s a bespoke silver coin, visually represented by a digital image from a JPG, a game graphics file, or even a tweet.
Any image can be turned into an NFT, which is part of what puzzles people about them. Why would an otherwise functionless string of code attached to a jpg of a dog licking his butt be worth the money? That’s a good question, and the only answer is “because the crypto community decided it was.”
This is actually why all money is valuable. We, as a company, have decided to use dollars and cents as receipts to symbolize the value of the services we provide and / or the things we own. In theory, the government regulates the exchange of these receipts to keep things fair. They process and print these receipts themselves through their treasury departments, which they take very seriously.
But historically not everyone likes the way they do it.
If you don’t trust the government to do a good job overseeing all of this – or if you want to commit crimes for money that you don’t want the government to know about – then cryptocurrency will interest you. In A.’s United States, this has been true since the founding of the country.
In the mid-1800s, Emperor Norton Prime, the self-proclaimed leader of the United States hating the federal government, in fact printed his own âNorton Bucksâ. Some stores have also accepted them as currency because, like today’s cryptocurrencies, they decided to do so. Today a Norton Buck can cost $ 10,000 in the resale market.
Why? Again, because someone decided to value them. It’s the same with people who sell real estate, artwork, or old video games. All three have proven to be attractive methods of money laundering and other illegal activities. Cryptocurrency is no different.
[Image Credit: fotomek]
When crypto first started it was widely used in exchange for things people didn’t want the government to know. We are talking about sex trafficking, drug trafficking and murder. This grim reputation has helped drive down the value of crypto for a long time, but over the years more and more mainstream institutions are supporting cryptocurrency. Norton Bucks and Bitcoin are both worth a lot more than before, and this trend is not in sight.
Not everyone sees this as a good thing. It won’t be long before critics tell you how terrible crypto is for the environment. This is because of the way most cryptos are ‘struck’.
With NFTs, the process is to find a piece of art that you like (and hopefully own), using a website to merge the image into a form of cryptocurrency, and presto change-o , you have just created your own digital dollar, a token that cannot be exchanged for another good or asset of the same nature, or âfungusâ. This process doesn’t take a lot of energy, but without government oversight to prevent counterfeiting, crypto needs a verification process of its own. To do this, more and more cryptocurrencies use a “Proof of work blockchainâTo constantly check the validity of the part’s exchange history. These controls require constant networking between several computer servers.
An exchange of an NFT using Ethereum (the most commonly used cryptocurrency for NFTs) required the same amount of energy as several thousand Visa card transactions. Since the beginning of the year, Bitcoin alone used more energy than all of Argentina. This energy has to come from somewhere, and it’s not always clean.
Ironically enough, almost no energy has gone into ensuring that the artwork attached to an NFT has not been stolen. If someone grabs a tweet you created, a selfie you posted, or a piece of art you uploaded online and turns it into an NFT, you won’t have a hard time stopping them. here is a recent example. And another. And another! And another!! And another!!! And what the heck are you going Quentin Tarantino?!
In the world of physical art sales, where ownership is tied to owning limited production items, that sort of thing wouldn’t happen. But in the unregulated âwild westâ of digital currency, the laws are obscure and the rights of artists often take a back seat to investors.
So instead of scarcity, an NFT’s value seems to be woven from its subjectively determined level of “freshness” and the massive amount of computing power it needs to function. This has been extremely beneficial for those who are resource poor but want to log into a crypto miner to get NFT rich, at least for now.
In Ghana and The Philippines, reading an NFT Pokemon-esque game called Infinite Axis can pay better than most full-time jobs. It’s downright dystopian, but here we are. In some parts of the world, trading, selling and mining collectible in-game NFT cat monsters and cashing them for real money is a safer career choice than becoming a teacher. Of course, this is nothing new. People earn their living Wow Gold farming snowshoes for over a decade. What is different is that NFTs have a bridge to the larger world of cryptocurrencies, one of the investment bankers and billionaires.
This is the kind of game that we can see the major publishers getting started sooner rather than later. Games that you, the gamer, will not necessarily have to purchase an NFT to play, but you may be asked to play a game where you “make” it.
Ubisoft can create a game in which you develop your own Raving Rabbids NFTs. Sega could make an NFT Chao-farming game. Their stats and value may improve as you play, and unlike most games, then you might be like, âI didn’t just waste an hour playing a video game. In fact, I made some money. Valve may not offer these games, but epic goes, and they probably won’t be the last.
But if the NFT you created uses the âProof of Work Blockchainâ, as opposed to another energy efficient verification system – or that the energy doesn’t come just from solar power or some other clean system – then is that ethical? And is it psychologically healthy to join another system that is, in many ways, an involuntary parody of capitalism? Is this really what you want to do with your time?
A lot of it depends on how much importance you place on real people, and a lot of the people who run big game publishers rely on you not caring.
They believe that “gamers” by definition care more about imaginary fun than real life. They can create workplaces where their employees feel insecure, are forced into crisis, and even experience PTSD; they’re pretty sure their audience won’t care as long as they enjoy the games. I mean, they’ve gotten away with it for so long, haven’t they? And if their fans don’t care about human rights, why would they care about the environment? Would they really miss out on the chance to make some extra cash while gambling, even if it’s in a cryptic and cryptic way that may contribute to climate change?
With so much money on the table, it won’t be long before the AAA publishing world experiences NFT games. It seems certain. What is less certain is how you, the player, will integrate into these experiences, and whether you will participate in them voluntarily.