Report: Ubisoft’s Own Developers Are Concerned About Its NFT Push
If you have been skeptical about Ubisoft’s recent foray into Ghost Recon Breakpoint NFTs with Ubisoft Quartz, you’re not alone. As it turns out, many of Ubisoft’s own developers are skeptical about the concept, and concerned it might infect their own games in the future, if it becomes a mandated form of microtransaction.
A new report from Kotaku filtered through a bunch of internal Ubisoft messages that were posted after the announcement of Ubisoft Quartz, most of which questioned the idea in terms of environmental impact, game design and potential bad press. Bad press which…quickly followed, as the reveal trailer was buried in dislikes and the concept was roasted across gaming sites everywhere. Here’s what employees were saying:
“I still don’t really understand the ‘problem’ being solved here. Is it really worth the (extremely) negative publicity this will cause?”
“How can you look at private property, speculation, artificial scarcity, and egoism, then say ‘yes this is good, I want that, let’s put it in art?’”
“I normally try to stay positive on our announcements but this one is upsetting.”
So far, no further announcements about NFTs in future Ubisoft games have followed this ongoing, experimental run in Ghost Recon, where limited quantity NFTs are being issued based on playtime. A pair of pants can be claimed by players who have put 100 hours into Breakpoint. 250 copies of a digital helmet can be claimed by those who have put 600 hours in. No real-world value has manifested from these yet, but it’s still in the experimental stage. An experiment that it seems many both inside and outside Ubisoft hope fails. I’ve asked Ubisoft for comment on the pushback, and will update if I hear back.
Skepticism about Ubisoft Quartz has not stopped other developers from marching down the NFT road. STALKER 2 has just announced a gimmicky “metahuman” promotion where they are offering the chance for players to win the opportunity to scan themselves into the upcoming game as an NFT-based NPC. Again, it’s always incredibly hard to sort out what the actual benefit to these games are. In Ubisoft’s case, it seems like just another road toward monetization. In STALKER, it seems like the basis for a goofy game promo contest.
These will not be the last NFT experiments in gaming, to be sure. But we are starting to see very clear battle lines drawn between publishers and storefronts that are accepting or rejecting them. What we’re not seeing publicly are internal divides over the concept, though the Kotaku report shows that those fights are happening behind the scenes.
This is still early days of NFT integration. It could get better, but more than likely, most gamers are expecting it to get much, much worse.