Minecraft says no to NFTs and blockchain, citing fraud and speculation

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Mojang Studios, the Microsoft-owned developer behind the hugely popular procedurally generated sandbox game “Minecraft,” announced Wednesday that NFTs and other blockchain products will not be supported by the studio or allowed in the game.

As a form of blockchain technology, an NFT or non-fungible token is essentially a unique blockchain-related receipt for any digital asset – such as a video, artwork, character model in a video game, or anything else you can access on a computer – which verifies that the holder is the sole true owner of the asset. For example, if a “Minecraft” player had the NFT for a pickaxe that resembles a lightsaber, that player can claim to be the legal owner of the original lightsaber pickaxe.

In its statement, Mojang explained that NFTs go against the cooperative and collaborative values ​​of gaming because virtual assets are inherently extremely rare collectibles.

“NFTs do not include our entire community and create a haves and have-nots scenario,” the statement said.

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Mojang also said that the mindset that NFTs would introduce into “Minecraft” would tarnish players’ long-term enjoyment of the game. The company expressed concern that players would spend more time evaluating NFT values ​​and trying to make money through “Minecraft” rather than playing the game itself.

The statement listed other issues Mojang had with NFTs regarding quality control, instances of fraud, and NFTs being sold at artificially inflated values. However, the NFT ban was conditional; Mojang said it would pay “special attention” to evolving technology. “To ensure Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated into our Minecraft client and server applications, nor may they be used to create NFTs associated with any content. of the game, including worlds, skins, character items, or other mods,” reads the statement. “We have no plans to implement blockchain technology in Minecraft at this time.”

That’s a bold stance, especially for a title as absurdly popular and editable as “Minecraft.” The decade-old sandbox game has sold 238 million copies according to Statista, making “Minecraft” the best-selling video game of all time. The appeal is obvious: “Minecraft” is simple, easy to run and extremely flexible. Players have used “Minecraft” to create a Harry Potter game in a 1:1 recreation of Hogwarts, created a fictional cult commune dedicated to streamer MoonMoon, and even created a working CPU.

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The “Roblox” gaming platform is talked about in the same breath as “Minecraft” due to the customization and popularity of both titles with younger gamers. Roblox Corporation has yet to endorse NFTs, although in an interview with VentureBeat, Chief Business Officer Craig Donato voiced his enthusiastic support for implementing them into the game in the future.

According to a recent study, more than $2.2 billion was raised by private blockchain and NFT game companies in the first half of 2022, reflecting a wave of interest among video game industry investors. On Wednesday, Lee Trink, CEO of gaming and esports lifestyle brand FaZe Clan, spoke enthusiastically about positioning the new public company to pursue opportunities in blockchain technology.

But NFTs have also been met with skepticism by many developers. According to Bloomberg, Ubisoft’s foray into NFTs has been criticized by its own employees. Frost Giant Studios co-founder Tim Morten described play-to-earn blockchain games as “dangerously close to a pyramid scheme” in an interview with Wired. A company of Mojang’s stature calling NFTs harmful to their game and brand might give some would-be investors a second thought.

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