Phil Spencer has made it clear he is not a fan of NFT and describes it as feeling ‘more exploitive than about entertainment’.
NFTs are an idea so stupid they’re almost impossible to explain, because nothing about them makes any sense. The basic idea though is that non-fungible tokens are a way to show you own digital content, which makes zero practical difference to anything but, when it comes to games, gives publishers an excuse to charge you more for digital content, because they can pretend it’s rare.
You can guess without us even telling you which two publishers have already signalled their interest in NFT (that’s right, EA and Ubisoft) but it seems Xbox is not so keen, thankfully.
Asked by Axios what he thought of the technology, he said: ‘I think there’s a lot of speculation and experimentation that’s happening, and that some of the creative that I see today feels more exploitive than about entertainment’.
As you’d expect of someone in his position, he didn’t rule out their use entirely by Xbox: ‘I don’t think it necessitates that every NFT game is exploitive. I just think we’re kind of in that journey of people figuring it out.’
‘I think anything that we looked at in our storefront that we said is exploitive would be something that we would, you know, take action on,’ he added. ‘We don’t want that kind of content.’
Still, his comments are encouraging and suggests he fully understands how companies are trying to exploit the fad, not to mention the considerable environmental cost of using the blockchain.
So far, the only examples of game-related NFTs are small digital items like character models and logos but what Ubisoft and EA are most interested in is the idea of ‘play-to-earn’, where you’re rewarded with cryptocurrency for playing a game.
There are already many PC and mobile games which use this concept, such as the long-running Axie Infinity, but the question is whether the idea will find its way into more mainstream games. Although it’s good to know that Xbox won’t be encouraging it…
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