New York Times: the expansion of chain games is encountering resistance from traditional game players

Published on 1/16/2022   456 views   0 Comments  
Original title: crypto entrepreneurs meet their match: angry gamers
Original authors: Mike Isaac, Kellen BrowningΒ Β 
Hu Tao, chain catcher

For many years, Christian Lantz has been playing starker, a first person shooting game set in Ukraine after the end of the world, which is very popular because of its immersive role-playing. So when the 18-year-old high school student heard that he was going to make a game sequel this year, he knew he had to buy it.

Until GSC game world, the Ukrainian company behind the game software, announced last month that the new stacker will contain encryption based assets called irreplaceable tokens or NFT. GSC said that in the new game, players can buy and sell NFT of clothing and other items for characters in the game. The company said the move was a "transformative step" towards a virtual world known as the meta universe.

Lantz was angered. He joined thousands of fans on Twitter and reddit, who opposed NFT in the sequel of starker. They say the game maker just wants to squeeze more money from players. Strong opposition made GSC quickly reverse the situation and give up the NFT plan.

"The studio abused its popularity," said Mr. Lantz, who lives in Ontario. "Obviously, this is for profit, not just to create a beautiful game."

The picture is from the stills of starker 2

For more than a year, the encryption industry has been in a frenzy. The value of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum soared. Encryption based assets such as NFT have taken off. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey recently renamed one of his companies block to commemorate blockchain, a distributed ledger system that powers digital currency. Melania trump auctioned her own NFT. Supporters hope that blockchain will completely change the industry from finance to social media to art.

But for some people, the encryption boom has gone too far and too fast. Skeptics believe that cryptocurrency, NFT and other related assets are digital Ponzi schemes, and the price is artificially exaggerated beyond its real value. Some people question whether the vague concepts of cryptocurrency and blockchain have any long-term utility.

Nothing is more unpleasant than the game community. There are more and more conflicts about encryption between users and major game studios such as Ubisoft, square Enix and Zynga. In many encounters, gamers have the upper hand - at least for now.

"People are accepting buzzwords," said mutahar Anas, a gamer and Youtube blogger with 3 million subscribers. He said that those who promote NFT in the game "try to sell you all soul oil".

In recent months, at least six game studios have revealed their plans to add NFT to their games, or said that they are considering doing so to provide authenticity and proof of ownership of digital assets verified by blockchain technology. Game manufacturers say this provides gamers with unique digital items that can enrich people who sell NFT in the online market. Game publishers said that NFT may also be transferred between games in the future, which means that projects from one game franchise may affect the game playing method of another game.

But players say they think these actions are overt cash grabs.

"I just hate that they've been trying to cheat us in any possible way," said Matt Kee, a 22-year-old gamer. Kingdom Hearts said it was promoting NFT. "I don't see any mention of the benefits to gamers and how to improve the game. It's always about ' how can I make money from it? '"

"Kingdom Hearts III" game picture produced by square Enix

Most of their dissatisfaction stems from the encroachment of micro transactions in the game. Over the years, game manufacturers have found more ways to profit from users by paying users to upgrade characters or improve the game level in the game. Even if people have prepaid $60 or more for the game, they are required to pay more for digital items, such as clothing or character weapons.

In a famous event in 2006, the role-playing game "the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" charged users $2.50 to buy a suit of armor for their character's horse.

"' only a few dollars, but I remember thinking, ' why didn't they give us horse armor? '" Eric hild, a 31 year old brewer from Decora, Iowa, said. "Why should we pay for it?"

Merritt K, game anchor and editor of fanbyte, a game industry website, said that the hostility of game players to these companies has increased in the past decade, partly due to the increasing number of micro transactions. Therefore, when game manufacturers introduced NFT as an additional element of trading, she said that players were "ready to blow these things out."

This leads to the anger of game players, which makes game companies feel uneasy. In December, Sega Sammy, the developer of Sonic the hedgehog game, expressed reservations about its NFT and encryption plan after users' "negative reaction". Ubisoft, which makes games such as Assassin's creed, said it misjudged the degree of customer dissatisfaction after announcing the NFT plan last month. More than 90% of viewers don't like YouTube videos about this move.

"Maybe we underestimated the intensity of the rebound," said Nicolas pouard, vice president of Ubisoft, who is responsible for the new block chain program of the French company.

Game companies say their NFT plan is not profit driven. Instead, they say, NFT provides fans with some interesting collections and a new way to make money by selling assets.

"It's really about the community," said Matt wolf, an executive at mobile game maker Zynga, who is leading the move into blockchain games. "We believe in giving people a chance to play to make money."

In the past few years, the upsurge of embracing encryption in games has intensified. Some developers have started to build games on the blockchain so that players can easily collect digital assets and prove that they own them. One of the Games is cryptokitties, a popular game in 2017, in which players collect digital cats, some of which sell for more than $100000. In the COVID-19 pandemic, game player based on block chains such as Axie Infinity (players earn money by earning and selling NFT) also became popular.

Larger game studios are now trying to get involved, although some of their encryption plans are still vague.

Ubisoft is the first large game publisher to set foot in the field of encryption. Last December, it announced a plan called Ubisoft quartz, which launched three sets of NFTs in the form of digital devices such as helmets and guns. NFT is free to players who have reached a certain level in the shooting game Ghost Recon breakpoint. The company says gamers can keep these items or sell them in a third-party market.

Ghost Recon breakpoint game station at 2019 Los Angeles Electronic Entertainment Expo

Mr. pouard said that so far, 10000 digital wallets have been connected to the quartz platform, although Ubisoft has only cast 3000 NFTs in the first batch. This, he said, shows interest in more NFTs in the future.

Pouard added that Ubisoft ultimately plans to take a share of future NFT sales. "We are moving from a business model that focuses on games to a business model that focuses on an ecosystem in which every player can become a stakeholder," he said.

Zynga, which will be acquired by take two, hired Mr. wolf, a senior person in the game industry, to lead an encryption work in November. Mr. wolf said that the goal is to create new games on the blockchain to make it easier for players to obtain, own and sell NFT. He provided few details on how the work worked, including whether NFT could be transferred between Zynga games.

"We are still developing all this," he said.

Other game companies are also involved in NFT, echoing how cryptocurrency creates new wealth for users. This month, Yosuke Matsuda, President of square Enix, wrote in an open letter that creating blockchain games can make players money. He said that this will become the "main strategic theme" of the company.

But with the increasing number of NFT announcements from game studios, players become more and more angry. After users opposed Sega Sammy's encryption plan, an executive said at a management meeting last month, "if this is considered to be simple to make money, I want to decide not to continue."

Other game companies have come out against cryptocurrency. Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox, told Axios in November that some games focusing on making money through NFT seem to be "exploitative" and he will avoid putting them in the Xbox store. Microsoft declined to comment.

Valve, which owns steam, an online game store, also updated its rules last fall to prohibit blockchain games that allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs. Valve did not respond to requests for comment.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, the manufacturer of fortnite, said his company would avoid using NFT in its own games because the industry is full of "all kinds of tricky scams". (epic will still allow developers to sell blockchain games in their online stores.)

This rebound affects more than just game studios. Discord, a popular social platform for gamers, retreated in November after users threatened to cancel their paid subscriptions through the encryption program. Jason citron, chief executive of discord, made fun of the project on Twitter and triggered a rebellion.

"Although I am optimistic that many cool things are happening in the blockchain field, there are also many problems," Mr. citron said in an interview.

Gamer Mr. Kee said he would continue to fight the encryption efforts of game companies. He said that the transformation of stalker developers on NFT made him hope that other companies can be influenced by public opinion.

"It gives me a good feeling that everyone is against it," he said. "In the past 10 years, we have seen all kinds of such plans, and we are tired of it."


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