Crypto-trading titan FTX has just announced that they have completed work on their gaming division and are ready to take on the next step for play-to-earn games.
Instead of just creating and funding NFT and play-to-earn game developers though, their main goal is to create a “crypto-as-a-service” platform which will theoretically allow developers to integrate even traditional games with NFT and blockchain technology.
Speaking to the Verge, Brett Harrison, president of FTX US, stated their plans to prioritize the player’s enjoyment and gameplay experience over any form of monetization and just provide NFT and blockchain features for players who wish to dabble into it.
“I think the backlash is primarily out of concern that the focus on cryptocurrency will divert the efforts of game studios away from making the best game possible for the players. We believe that blockchain technology takes features of games that already exist, such as in-game avatars, skins, and rewards, and makes it possible for players to own, invest, and trade these items outside of the game.
But the enjoyability of the game for all players, including those who don’t wish to participate in these kind of economies, should always be the primary objective regardless of whether blockchain tech is involved.”
Currently, many AAA game titles utilize the ‘games-as-a-service’ model to continue and drive revenue post launch. These services can include content such as battle passes, cosmetics, exclusive items, subscriptions to online play, and other downloadable content or DLCs which players can access usually through additional purchase.
With FTX’s ‘crypto as a service’, game publishers can instead launch NFTs and tokens native to their game title which can be utilized in different ways. In some ways this is already similar to existing play-to-earn or NFT game titles like Axie Infinity where players can earn tokens such as Smooth Love Potion (SLP) or trade their NFT characters, the Axies in the marketplace and convert earning into real world money.
This could potentially mean that the game doesn’t have to be built into the blockchain directly or create tokens and NFTs right away during development but rather it can include optional crypto related services post launch.
While play-to-earn games have continued to boom, the idea has been met by AAA game developers and publishers with a mixed reception. One such example is Ubisoft’s Quartz platform which was shot down by fans when it launched. Other publishers are also facing the same problem and fan backlash has led to some stepping back from their planned NFT projects like Team17 who withdrew from their Metaworms project following the reactions not just from fans but also from their partner developers.
Still this has not completely hindered all of the big names in video games with the likes of Square Enix and Bandai Namco still planning to push through with NFT and metaverse related experiences as part of their future goals.
United Gamers Analysis and Perspective
From the editor, Raffy Leynes
As stated above, the mainstream games community and its consumers have been adamantly hesitant in letting NFTs and blockchain technology into traditional games and with valid reasons.
However, I do think the approach that FTX President Brett Harrison is taking, which is listening and understanding at least some part of the concerns that the gaming market has, is definitely a step in the right direction. At the very least, Harrison is recognizing the section of the gaming populace that wants nothing to do with NFT and crypto and letting them be instead of trying to shove it down their throats.
Moving forward, I think that this is a fair compromise and probably one of the better approaches to bringing crypto into mainstream gaming.
United Gamers writers offer their unique Analysis and Perspective as expert opinions to help readers understand the context of the facts. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication or its principals.