The First Crypto Game Coming to the Epic Store Had a Disastrous Unveiling

One of the first major crypto video games trying to appeal to mainstream gaming audiences, involving a Western-themed battle royale, happened this week—and went extremely poorly.  


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/z34byy/the-first-crypto-game-coming-to-the-epic-store-had-a-disastrous-unveiling
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I still think one of the smartest things Steam did was saying “no crypto games.” Cut this nonsense off at the knees.

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Yeah, but they also did it because they have the steam community market place and want developers using it because they make a boatload off transaction costs. I’m glad they banned it but I think it was more to do with corporate greed than anything else.

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All of the discussion by developers around crypto and the gaming audience’s active hostility toward it are so patronizing that it’s almost sad. Crypto is a solution in search of a problem, and some video game developers think that the problem it can solve is ‘I want to make more money from this game’.

Poulard comes off as particularly patronizing in the quotes for this article, which were in turn taken from an interview on Finder. I’m gonna post the quote in full below, because I think the context is important.

I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them. For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it’s first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they’re finished with them or they’re finished playing the game itself.
So, it’s really, for them. It’s really beneficial. But they don’t get it for now.
Also, this is part of a paradigm shift in gaming. Moving from one economic system to another is not easy to handle. There are a lot of habits you need to go against and a lot of your ingrained mindset you have to shift. It takes time. We know that.

Let me explain: This is ridiculous.
Let me further explain:
People who play video games understand the idea of something having value because it’s a limited edition item; between physical collector’s editions and digital items with limited runs, it’s not like they’re ignorant to this concept. People who play video games are also aware of the concept of a speculative market and sellable digital items. We all know how the Steam Marketplace works. We all know about the TF2 Hat Market. He speaks on NFTs destroying the planet like it’s an opinion, not a fact. He speaks like NFTs being a speculative market is a portion of their existence, not the entire point.
It seems like people who play video games are legitimately not interested in the concepts they’re trying to sell NFTs at, and instead of taking that at face value, they’re digging their heels in deeper into the delusion that this is going to somehow take off.

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And there are lots of developers who think this is nonsense. Crypto nonsense is a niche of a niche of a niche. I have no idea where all this money is coming from or where it’s all going.

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Very good points. People who play games have been exposed to a baffling array of monetization schemes over the years, as a result they are fairly canny consumers with a good sense of the value of digital items. All NFTs are doing is tying a unique digital item to a specific account, something that games haves had for decades.

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I agree with you on everything except this point. I don’t know that Gamers™ understand how the concepts of value and scarcity work. Collector’s Editions still sell out and then wind up in landfills later (and then sometimes skyrocket on eBay again even later than that). Gamers will spend thousands in a gacha game, then turn around and yell at an indie dev for daring to charge more than $20 for their game. There’s a lot of evidence that the Gaming Populace at Large has an extremely distorted conception of value. It’s a good thing that all of the NFT games that exist now are complete dogshit to actually play, because if one of them was actually as fun as say, Fortnite (a game I have never played), I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually took off (and caused financial ruin to all the parents who didn’t put a password on their credit cards attached to their mobile accounts).

As for the article at hand, THEY LITERALLY MADE HORSE ARMOR AGAIN.

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Fair point, but I think that understanding that an item can have value in the future due to scarcity is different from the actions one has to take to preserve that item (provided it’s physical), or to get when the gettin’s good. I understand the concept of bouyancy, but if I ever tried to build a boat, I think it might go pretty poorly.

That said, bringing up gacha games in relation to NFTs does make a lot of sense when I think about it. It’s probably a pretty short jump for people who might be deep into gambling in that form, into making an NFT purchase and participating in a speculative market.

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You know, it’s a good measure of how truly shitty and pointless NFTs are that even most hardcore gacha players (sampled from twitter, reddit, and discords I lurk around in) seem to think that they’re a terrible idea. Like the crypto evangelists have failed so disastrously that they haven’t even won over a demographic of players that should in theory be aligned with their goals.

That said, I think Dan Olson put it pretty well in his crypto documentary — when you turn a game, a thing people interact with for some kind of non-speculative fulfillment (which I do think holds true even in gachas, because you can’t easily turn a gacha account back into money), into a speculative asset, it becomes just like any other job, and gets hollowed by that. I think that even if that’s not something people can vocalize, they understand it in a way that’s felt, and that’s where the resistance comes from. I do think gamers as a whole, including the ones who mainly just play gacha games, see a future of NFT-driven games as one in which gaming becomes a job. And none of them want that.

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I think if NFT games are going to continue being a thing at all it’s going to be something deeply exploitative, like the arrangements made with overseas players farming mmo accounts for resale.
As long as it’s profitable the worst people will take advantage of it, and while it’s not unique to NFT or crypto I feel like that space attracts a certain kind of, for lack of a nice word let’s say “entrepeneur”, that’ll prey on it.

I think gamers feel this, and the general lack of anything positive it brings to the games they play, too. Sadly I think crypto itself is going to stick around as long as people get fooled into seeing any value in it.

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