Ubisoft Is Developing Blockchain And NFT Games

Ubisoft has not only invested in blockchain and mobile tech company Animoca Brands but, as spotted by IBTimes, it has announced that it seeks to use blockchain technology in its own games.

“[Blockchain] will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot,” chief financial officer Frederick Duguet said. “We’ve been working with lots of small companies going on blockchain and we’re starting to have a good know-how on how it can impact the industry, and we want to be one of the key players here.”

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Gaming is centralized which means everything from skins to currency is held within the actual build itself. You don’t own the game or any part of it – you own a copy. However, blockchain splits games into segments, letting players buy and own certain parts. It makes the digital ‘tangible’ in that it has real, monetary value. This is typically done through NFTs and cryptocurrency, although Ubisoft never used the term ‘NFT’ in its announcement.

It’s a controversial method because of the environmental impact cryptocurrency has. Alongside NFTs, they’re responsible for millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions due to the energy consumption linked with mining. Transactions are shared across a network rather than having a centralized bank account and so the act of ‘crypto mining’ uses more energy due to requiring a lot of high-power computers. To put it into perspective, the Nyan Cat NFT had a carbon footprint on par with someone’s electricity usage over the span of two months.

splinter cell

via Ubisoft

In spite of all this, Ubisoft believes that blockchains are “very attractive for the long term” and that it is a “revolution” within the industry. With that said, how it actually plans to implement blockchain into its future games is unknown. The French studio has been vague on that front.

However, it is using the term ‘pay-to-earn’ and so it’s likely players will be able to somehow buy and trade skins and other in-game items as NFTs for cryptocurrency. For now, all we can do is speculate, but Ubisoft has made its plans known. What this means for its relationship with Steam is unclear given that Valve has just banned all NFT and blockchain games from its platform. This could see another split between the two, resulting in no further Ubisoft games coming to the storefront.

After Steam announced it was banning NFT and blockchain games, Epic stressed that it supports them while a group of developers penned a letter to Valve asking them to reverse the decision. It didn’t.

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James Troughton
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Donovan Larsen

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