COMMENT: Why NFTs for games are dumb and overhyped

·Contributor
·4 min read
Stock image of NFT (Image: Getty Images)
Stock image of NFT (Image: Getty Images)

Old man gamer here, telling you to get off his pristine gaming lawn.

I think NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are terribly stupid as a concept. Maybe I’m finally getting old, and this is my boomer moment.

But NFTs don’t add anything valuable to our society except as another way for rich people to splurge on digital tokens. And maybe resell them to another sucker.

You can already buy virtual goods in micro-transaction loaded games, but with NFTs, you can now claim you actually own them. Or I don’t know, own virtual clothes in maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s upcoming Meta virtual world.

I suppose in the Zuckerverse, such NFTs could make sense to create and define an object-based economy. Maybe in a futuristic cyberpunk world where digital goods have as much value as real life items, or scenarios where there’s total virtual immersion like in Sword Art Online, will this make sense.

But so what? We already do that with in-game items for games, and those aren’t verified by NFT, yet sold for thousands of dollars. 

Ragnorak M had a mount that sold for US$60,000, while the short-lived Diablo 3 auction house saw plenty of real money trades for in-game items. Then there's the Steam market, where digital items are regularly traded for cash (though those funds are locked into Steam and can't be withdrawn).

So why do we specifically need a crypto-based way to verify a digital item? 

And say, if you use NFT for artworks, there’s nothing stopping you from taking a screenshot of said art, and most NFT’s are just identifiers to say person A owns object B. 

The digital item is not part of the NFT, in case you're wondering.

No future then?

Putting NFTs in game as a hook, by say, offering an NFT trophy feels even sillier to me. 

You’d be like telling everyone to look up your trophy, but in all honesty, no one really cares. And why would you even buy a trophy won by someone else with no sense of achievement? 

As mentioned, most games will already have their own in-game economy, likely done without the resource-intensive use of NFTs.

I can get behind the concept of crypto-currency, it makes sense, it can serve as a valuable way of transforming the way we transact. 

However, it takes up tons of electricity, and just doesn’t gel with how we should be using our limited resources. 

That’s the same with NFTs, except they don’t yet have a purpose. Honestly, the whole NFT hype sounds like a bunch of snake-oil salesmen trying to make a quick buck. Oops, was that too harsh?

Don’t just take me at my word. There are a bunch more savvy futurists out there questioning the validity of NFTs and what it does. They even go right down to questioning the technical bits. 

I’m not here to do that, I’m here to point out just how silly it is from a normal person’s perspective.

Now, for truth?

So, tell me again, why do we need NFTs in games, and why are game companies trying to make NFTs a thing? 

If anything, NFTs in games are just going to make our entertainment filled with yet more micro-transactions. I get that game developers have to make money, but stop doing it at the expense of your fanbase. 

Make a great game, and they will play, and even pay if you have reasonable add-on options that don’t nickel and dime you to hell.

And while we’re at it, please stop with the whole metaverse thing already? 

Everyone keeps spouting the term like it’s the next big thing at every panel I attended at a recent conference. 

Maybe work on getting the actual universe working in proper order first, instead of mucking it up so bad we have to retreat into virtual worlds…

I guess that’s another article for another time.

p.s. get off my lawn!

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com.

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