You bought horse armor. You bought loot crates. You'll buy in-game NFTs.

What boggles my mind is that the value of any game NFT is entirely dependent on the operation and maintenance of a central server operated by a single company. Without that central server, the NFT would not hold any value as the game itself isn’t functional. So how does decentralization help in any way at all?

As some people know from the crypto thread here, I am not completely against crypto and am invested in certain proof-of-stake currencies. But NFTs in videogames I just can’t fathom any benefit.

It sounds cool to shareholders. That’s it.

There is a quest in Diablo 2 where Anya personalizes (adds the character name) to an item. My Amazon is now wielding a Stormshield once used by the Paladin “SheikhDjibouti” who traded it for an inventory’s worth of shiny gems. She will not be able to add her name to said item, but that Stormshield will forever be known as SheikhDjibouti’s Stormshield. I don’t know if it adds any value to it though.

I’m not disagreeing with you that it is crazy. It is crazy, those little virtual helmet you buy still sits on a centralised server. But the VALUE STRUCTURE you put on top isn’t and is “free”. For Ubisoft it is a money printing press. They ALREADY have a centralised server to host the content, but now they don’t NEED another centralised server to secure the money-making structure (i.e. the blockchain ledger).

Valve’s Artifact.

All they’re doing is paying to use a really expensive third party solution. There are almost certainly cheaper non-blockchain based third party commerce platforms they could just as easily use, but then they can’t fabricate illusory value by calling imaginary shit an “NFT”.


You need to sperate the dumb people from their money. “They” invent shit all the time to do so.

Look, it has already been decided that crypto/NFT are a scam/stupid/expensive/environmental disaster. This is no place for facts!

You know, there was another famous historical group that was fond of serial numbers.

Um, a little googling seems to suggest that Tezos is only capable of double digit transactions per second. If that’s accurate, then how on earth is it going to handle even one game’s traffic, even if that is the only thing using the Tezos blockchain?

The entire “indie” digital art NFT scene has been on Tezos for about a year.[0] If you read the Ubi announcement closely, you’ll see they intend to use the same marketplaces[1] used by this art scene for their transactions – in other words, the Ubi stuff will be traded outside of Ubi’s marketplace. Also, Ubi is a corporate sponsor of Tezos and one of the primary nodes/stakers, so the company has a vested interest in helping Tezos scale. There’s some info in this Twitter thread.

This entire blockchain/NFT space is new and speculative. All of the BTC/ETH/Tez, etc. services are adapting and learning as they do so and there’s a baseline lack of stability in the entire ecosystem because of it being so new. I would say it all feels akin to the web circa 1994. About 1/2 the time, I feel certain it will all collapse in 6 months, the other 1/2 of the time it feels like it actually might be the beginning of a new backbone to online commerce. I suspect a lot of the early corporate involvement will feel very much like the Second Life rush in 2006/2007.

[0] I say “indie,” because the low transaction fees on Tezos have enabled a lot of people who aren’t BTC/ETH wealthy to participate. There’s a “Tezos fountain,” where people without access to traditional banking can receive a few Tezos to get started with minting/selling their art. This has enabled a ton of really talented artists from resource-poor backgrounds (and from places that aren’t strongly connected to US and European banking systems – a lot of folks from the global south) to participate.

[1] One of the larger ones:

Yeah, this is the thing I’m most curious about, because not being able to (officially) monetise in-game items outside the game was how the big publishers tried to defend themselves against gambling laws. It seems they’re going to have tread a very careful line here. Maybe they figure they don’t need lootboxes at all if people will just buy things outright on a speculative basis.

I think Ubisoft is taking a measured approach here and it’s a reasonable level of investment for new technology and marketplaces. They haven’t converted their entire revenue stream into NFTs – it’s just dabbling with a few items in a game or two so that they can observe how the economy works, how players react, etc. If they need to shut it all down, it won’t be a big loss. People who wouldn’t buy horse armor for USD aren’t going to buy horse armor for any type of currency. Assuming the NFT stuff catches on, it does present some interesting possibilities for game items carrying history with them, outliving the games, being available on the blockchain for incorporation into other games (even from other companies) etc. If Ubi (or others) truly buy into the decentralized aspect of blockchain, then the assets traded as NFTs sort of take on a life of their own. Were I involved with this, I’d be thinking about how to write some type of generic NFT smart contract, metadata, and wrapper that potentially would support bringing NFT game items into other games that my company made. It would be sort of cool, for example, if you could buy a weapon as an NFT and it worked in a bunch of different games, maybe even from different publishers. We are far from that happening, though.

There is (in my opinion of course) zero chance we will see intra-publisher use of game items, unless we get to the dystopian future where Facebook’s metaverse is the entire internet. No major publisher is going to allow other companies to use their IP without licensing fees and editorial oversight.

There are some at least intellectually interesting questions around it, though. Would it be legal, say, for another publisher’s game to look at someone’s game NFTs, see a reference to sword X, and then populate that in their own game with a similar-but-legally distinct sword Y? I’m not sure why I would want that as a player, let alone a developer, but the whole mess of object/symbol/referent involved in NFT makes the legal and legal philosophy questions very interesting.

That doesn’t involve smart contracts though (I don’t mean in the hurr hurr blockchains aren’t useful aspect). All the game must do is allow you to connect your wallet and it can see the NFT you purchased. That’s the easy part.

The hard part is implementing that NFT into the game. You need to model and texture it. Even if the NFT points to a fully open 3d model, you still have to make sure it scales correctly, is correctly rigged to your characters models and animations, has correct stats layout, etc… And you have to do this for EVERY individual NFT you want to support.

It’s exactly like the Amiibos in Nintendo games. You have some games that support them generically by giving a generic boost, but all the custom ones require specific Amiibos because they had to be coded by hand, and any new Amiibos that come out aren’t supported.

Licensing fees are built into the way that NFTs work. You can already sell a piece of art and say that you’ll take 10% commission on secondary sales. Each time that piece/NFT is traded on secondary, you get the commission from it.

How does that even work? Can you not transfer from one wallet to another without paying a commission?

You can send tokens to other wallets without paying. So, you can have transactions outside of marketplaces that eschew then royalties. However, anything listed for sale on a marketplace obeys the terms in the smart contract that was used to mint it and the royalties are processed accordingly.

This is one of the reasons that artists are so interested in the tech. It sort of allows them to do what recording studios have done for music for years and collect royalties on the sales/usage of their art. It’s also why musicians are extremely interested in NFTs as a publishing platform for new recordings. It allows them to drop the large publishers/studios and receive royalties.

Edit: there are collaborative smart contracts where the royalty splits are set at the time the NFT is minted… so each primary or secondary sale sends x% to a different wallets, etc.