Why ‘Minecraft’ creator’s NFT snub may be a game changer

Why ‘Minecraft’ creator’s NFT snub may be a game changer
Written by ga_dahmani
Why ‘Minecraft’ creator’s NFT snub may be a game changer

Mojang, creator of Minecrafttook a definitive position against non-fungible tokens (NFTs) earlier this week, saying that it “has no plans to implement blockchain technology in Minecraft right now.”

That’s an approach contrary to the one many video game makers have been taking in recent months, sometimes despite player protests. And it might just be the excuse a number of cheaters need to dodge the issue altogether.

Of course, Mojang is not just any developer. Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the industry. The developer is also owned by Microsoft, which sends the message that when it comes to that company’s gaming division, NFTs aren’t viewed so kindly.

In its statement, Mojang said it would not support NFTs because “they do not include our entire community and create a rich-have-not scenario.” That’s not too far off from statements Xbox boss Phil Spencer has made about the technology in the past.

“What I would say today about NFT, in general, is that I think there’s a lot of speculation and experimentation going on, and some of the creativity that I see today feels more exploitative than about entertainment.” spencer said Axios. “I think anything that we saw in our store that we said is exploitative would be something that, you know, we would take action on. We don’t want that kind of content.”

He is not alone. microsoft founder bill gates has said NFTs are “100% based on the big fool theory”, a bubble in which overvalued assets continue to be sold at even higher prices to a “big fool”.

The players have been quite clear when it comes to expressing their thoughts on NFTs in games. A vocal contingent feels this is just the latest way for publishers to pay more to enjoy a title: an extension of the microtransactions, loot boxes, and other monetized practices that have become part of the modern gaming landscape.

That hasn’t stopped some big publishers from leaning on them. Ubisoft, for its part, has embraced NFTs; a publisher executive stirred some feathers earlier when he said fans “don’t understand what a digital aftermarket can give them.”

And while Take-Two Interactive Software has yet to include them in its game portfolio due to the speculative nature of NFTs, CEO Strauss Zelnick says he doesn’t expect the company to ignore them forever.

“We are in the entertainment business”, he says. “When there’s a reboot and NFTs take their rightful place as part of the entertainment economy, that’s when they become really interesting for what we do.”

Ironically, on paper, NFTs appear to be a good fit for video games. They are collectible and can, in games like infinite axis, be used to fight against other players. They can also be used to generate real-world financial returns that reward the most skilled players.

However, the technology has not proven to be particularly secure. infinite axis saw the hackers steal approximately $625 million worth of cryptocurrencies of the network used to process transactions, rendering player investments largely worthless.

And NFTs themselves are hardly the hot item they used to be, particularly after the recent cryptocurrency crash. A study by NonFungible found that in the first quarter of 2022 gaming-related NFTs had a total loss of $50 millionwhich makes them the least profitable segment of the entire NFT industry from a commercial point of view.

That said, Mojang did not rule out NFTs for any purpose. The company may be avoiding the technology for the foreseeable future, but it also promised to pay “close attention to how blockchain technology evolves over time to . . . determine if it will enable safer experiences or other practical and inclusive applications in games.”

In other words, if the current crypto winter is followed by a bountiful crypto spring, some of the gaming world’s biggest NFT skeptics might be open to rethinking their stance.

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