Going green and going responsible, that is the movement that Climate Re:play is pushing for as they put up a pledge aimed towards developers and end-users. The goal of the “NFT/Digital Ownership Pledge” is to push for a socially responsible and sustainable integration and use of NFTs in games, and solve a few negative concerns along the way.
Their key pledge states that NFTs and digital ownership in its current state, do not serve its purpose which is to “unlock our creative potential and free us of real-world constraints – physical, financial, or otherwise” and is actual working to the exact opposite. This is because it is facing issues such as having its value determined by artificial scarcity, and the “unnecessary expenditure of physical resources”.
Climate Re:play wants to kickstart developer involvement by proposing ways and solutions for responsible NFT use in the gaming landscape. They posit that for NFT/blockchain integration to games done right, game development studios/ publishers must address what’s wrong with the current version of the technology and do better.
Climate Re:play’s pledge goes on to petition game companies to adhere to the guidelines stated below. When reverse engineered, these guidelines also double as a list of things that NFT/blockchain technology is doing wrong and how it can improve:
- Brings meaningful value to players
- Does not make use of technology that is intentionally inefficient, resulting in a concrete, significant environmental impact
- Does not embrace artificial scarcity to generate speculative value
- Does not rely on unregulated, volatile cryptocurrency
- Does not disproportionately benefit early adopters or wealthier users/players
- Does not perpetuate either of the following negative aspects of the Play-to-Earn model:
- Informal Jobs
- Shifts the primary purpose of a game from enjoyment to earning money
- Is implemented with transparency and takes seriously concerns from studio members
Together with a greener approach, it is worth noting that Climate Re:play’s pledge also seems to urge developers to put more focus on making NFT games more enjoyable instead of relying greatly on the “play-to-earn” model. A lot of existing and new NFT game projects make play-to-earn as a main selling point, which in turn results in a huge can of worms, as players can be quick to turn against developers once the game starts to experience economic related issues such as dips in coin value. This also raises concern of digital landlordship taking advantage of the underprivileged.
The idea that this current form of NFT/Blockchain Technology needs to change if it wants to see widespread integration, has been going around the larger games industry as of late. Just recently during an interview with at SWSW 2022, former Nintendo of America President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that he is a “believer in the blockchain” but only “if its good for the player” and not just a way for game companies to make a quick buck.
Environmental concerns compose the usual counter-arguments against NFTs and crypto in general, the latter being the most vocal. According to a report by MoneySuperMarket, a single NFT transaction can consume 340 kWh of power, more than enough to power a single household for days.
Fortunately however, solutions are underway. A small sector of the NFT/blockchain market just like Climate Re:play, are looking to make NFTs more socially responsible and sustainable. Before this pledge, there are already projects that aim to reduce the carbon footprint of blockchain-related processes a put more focus on becoming green. One such project, Algorand, aims to hit and maintain a carbon-negative status for their blockchain network, employing a proof-of-stake system to minimize power use and working with companies such as ClimateTrade for carbon offsetting programs. Even the notoriously torpedoed Worms NFT project was supposed to up with an entity that uses worms to reduce excess food waste as a way to offset its carbon footprint.
As of the moment, NFTs run largely on the Ethereum blockchain which currently is employing a proof-of-work system protocol, resulting in a lot of energy being consumed. However things would change greatly once the transition to Ethereum 2.0 is complete. The transition will migrate from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake which estimates to reduce power consumption to only 0.8729 kWh per transaction, a very large reduction from the current estimate of 87.29 kWh. As NFTs run on the Ethereum network it is expected that their energy cost per transaction would significantly go down as well.
If the Climate Re:play movement can solve all of the challenges, it has a lot of ground to cover However this is a great initiative that finally includes the developers, a major stakeholder in any NFT game project, to become more involved in pushing for a sustainable use of NFTs and crypto.