In a recent interview with Finder the interviewer, Ubisoftexec Nicolas Pouard (VP of the company’s Strategic Innovations Lab) drew anger from a variety of members of the various communities. In essence, the executive claimed that NFTs can be beneficial to players who don’t know about NFTs as of. It’s not a secret that these digital elements have been widely debated in the gaming world and publishers such as Ubisoft, Square Enix and others are investigating NFTs.
In all, one aspect of the statement highlights how Ubisoft envisions the incorporation of NFT into games might be a secondary marketplace. Although microtransactions are nothing new. Marketplaces and in-game shops are a major component of a live-service game however the concept is that a player can offer an item they had completed (or items, following the completion of the game) to the other. Like an outside charge the assumption is that Ubisoft will also fill its pockets by selling this item.
If this secondary market does make its way into the future games, the consequences should be apparent. When you take a look at all the live-service titles like Division Heartland coming out of Ubisoft for example It could be very worrying in games similar to these and, for instance, the live-service game that is coming out in Assassin’s creed Infinity.
Assassin’s Creed Infinity and Secondary Marketplaces
The language used in this game, for instance, implies that microtransactions, NFTs and secondary marketplaces may be one of some of the “innovations” that Assassin’s Creed : Infinity is expected to include. Although there may be a core element of the game, such as completing storylines or campaigns to unlock certain items but a live-service experience could be a sign that there are other items that require a lot more time to unlock. Based on the above description and on its own this could mean that Assassin’s Creed Infinity could include items that require perhaps 20 hours of grueling to gain access to.
It’s certainly strong, but it’s likely to be powerful, but an Assassin’s creed Infinity player might not require it to build their character or might not need it all the time (before, or even immediately after “finishing” the game.) This might sound like something that’s good however, selling it to a competitor by way of an NFT for the smallest amount of money implies that Ubisoft becomes richer, and it’s now an play-to-earn model (that does not include the word “fun”), and will result in a large number of day-one whales purchasing the most expensive products they could. This will drive prices lower for all other players in the supply and demand model (where supply could rise in these scenarios , and surpass demand) It would also address the blockchain-related issues with ownership we see in the present, and encourage players with cash to actively participate in the game.
One way to avoid this from happening is to ensure certain outfits, items as well as other things in the game are locked at a certain level, which means that the first day players can’t purchase the items and then use the items. However, that raises the question of why a second market would even exist. Ubisoft is promoting this idea as a positive thing however, it could lead to more investment (and Assassin’s Creed Infinityis not free to play) and less motivation for players to participate, as well as eliminate the satisfaction that comes from grinding to get the item. It does not matter how the marketplace develops, but selling an item for just $12 which took 20 hours to make isn’t really helping anyone. In addition when the supply increases and players are able to get thousands of these items, the price drops to less.
Secondary Marketplaces Haven’t Gone Well for Video Games, Traditionally
It’s despite claims from Ubisoft that this feature is advantageous to players, an assertion which has no support in one way or the other. But, history suggests that something other. Secondary marketplaces, without taking in NFTs, do not tend to work well for games. Diablo 3‘s auction house is an excellent illustration for how this altered the focus of grinding for loot to build the most effective build to grinding loot that could be sold to purchase the most valuable items. The main focus was on an auction house as well as trading and not on the game itself, which is something that could happen in the Assassin’s Creed game too.
The decision was taken in order to validate what gamers went to third-party websites for, but the websites weren’t as harmful in the context of the game. The secondary marketplaces impede the fundamental gameplay way, and the same issue could be the case for the Assassin’s Creed game–with the more complex NFT added on top of it.
In general, putting to incorporate an NFT market and secondary market into a game does not seem like a great idea. History backs this. While it’s still to be determined the final design of Assassin’s creed Infinity appears like and what it will include, including NFTs is not the right way to approach it.