A French videogame workers union that represents Ubisoft employees has issued a statement calling blockchain and NFT technology “useless, costly, and ecologically mortifying,” following the launch of Ubisoft’s Quartz platform, which now supports non-fungible tokens called Digits in Ubisoft’s open-world stealth game, Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
The statement from Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo says the move has no real benefit for players, and is simply a financial securities market by another name. “Putting aside the technical part, this so-called innovative technology boils down to a certificate of ownership to which is associated an abstract monetary value whose amount fluctuates on an external market,” the English translation of the statement reads. “You like dividends, subprimes, financial derivatives, crises, speculation, fast trading, money laundering, etc.? This is the assured and unspoken promise of NFT.”
The statement further accuses Ubisoft’s leadership of failing to understand the technology in the first place: “By multiplying the restrictions of use, the group claims it wants to limit the commercialisation of NFT (forgetting that the nature of NFT prevents such limitations other than marginally).”
Deputy editor Jordan has discussed some of the issues with NFTs generally and Quartz in particular, and I’ve pointed out that so far, blockchain is a wasteful new solution to a problem Valve solved long ago with the Steam Marketplace.
📢 UBISOFT and NFT
Blockchain is a useless, costly, ecologically mortifying tech which doesn't bring anything to videogames. pic.twitter.com/H3LPS94Q5y
— Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo (@SolInfoJeuVideo) December 14, 2021
The union agrees, saying, “with these limitations, this technology becomes a simple shop between players, a feature that has existed in the competition for years. The innovation of blockchain is to do the same but inefficiently using energy.”
The group is crystal clear on its stance on NFTs in games: “Because the financialisation of users’ play time is a future of misery, we ask the management of the group to stop the development of this technology.”
Meanwhile, Axios looked into listings for Breakpoint Digits on the Objkt marketplace, and found asking prices as high as $423,000. The highest offer their reporter found was $21.