On barest surface level, NFTs and video games seem like a good match. The idea that you can own, truly own, a digital item in a game, has some sort of base appeal, so much so that an entire industry is springing up around the concept.
And yet, digging into this even two inches, it unravels quickly, with the concept of NFTs antithetical to everything that makes gaming, gaming, and many of the actual good elements of the idea already having existed in games for years now.
NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are hard to parse for most people, but the basics are as follows. Computing is used to make a unique token. That token is used to be a link to something, in the case of most NFTs, an image. Then that token is sold, with the person who owns it, owning the “original” of that image in a verifiable way. Then it can be resold for more, and so on, and so forth. A barebones explanation, perhaps, but that’s the base framework.
The problem, with both NFTs and cryptocurrency, is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to make these tokens. So on the production side, this creates a massive environmental impact the vast majority of the time. And then on the supply side, the entire market often feels together like it’s held together with scotch tape, and based on wild speculation to make prices soar or crash.
Inserting all of this into video games is a road to chaos. It’s already started, and though blockchain gaming is still very, very new, battle lines are being drawn. Ubisoft has indicated they are interested in pursuing NFT opportunities (Ubisoft has never met a video game concept they wouldn’t try). Steam has banned blockchain games and NFTs, while the Epic Game Store hasn’t ruled them out yet.