By: Virginia Riddle
On Thursday, February 3, GameStop officially confirmed its plans to start an NFT (non-fungible token) venture, effectively angering a large portion of the gaming community.
NFTs are linked to several aspects of the digital community, easily allowing individuals to use them to buy and sell various forms of digital artwork (often at very high monetary costs) in a way that clearly denotes ownership over a single digital object. For instance, CNN Business reports, ”Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold for $2.9 million, a video clip of a LeBron James slam dunk sold for over $200,000 and a decade-old “Nyan Cat” GIF went for $600,000.” Many gaming companies have taken a large interest in NFTs and have tried to push their usage onto the community.
While this does not seem controversial at face value, NFTs have been opposed by a significant portion of the gaming community for a few main reasons:
One of the prominent reasons for specifically gamer-based anger is the perceived uselessness of NFTs. Most games come with accessible marketplaces already. This leads some to wonder why the current system of transactions needs to be replaced by NFTs. Mutahar Anas, a YouTube gamer with millions of subscribers, said, “People are being sold buzzwords. Those pushing NFTs in games trying to sell you snake oil,” The New York Times reported.
Additionally, cryptocurrency is intrinsically involved with NTF sales. The intangible currency has had a long history of mistrust, as it has a history of being volatile and full of risk. It requires the use of Blockchains (a bona fide buzzword by this point) and, among other controversial issues, is reportedly bad for the environment. The computing power needed for it requires a massive amount of energy. Congress has, within the past month, been working to hear cryptocurrency leaders after two separate requests for coal-powered plants to the Environmental Protection Agency were denied. Many view this as an inevitable regression in whatever progress has been made to combat climate change up to this point. For these many reasons, it is hard for the general population to support anything to do with cryptocurrency
The hesitation, if not fully developed anger, from a huge amount of the gaming community, is shown time and time again by the collective backlash to most companies that try to use NFTs. Games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and Worms have specifically canceled plans for NFT development in the past based on the overwhelmingly negative reactions from the larger communities. On the other end, the digital world has companies like Ubisoft, which refuse to back down from NFT plans, and, despite the staggeringly low sales, comment that the NFT marketplace is “really beneficial. But they [gamers] don’t get it for now.”
Only time will tell if this optimistic approach pans out, or if NFTs will be forever regarded as a corrupt alternative to an existing system.
Image Credit: Advanced Plays