Video game behemoth Valve, the company behind steam, announced it would not allow content related to non-fungible tokens or cryptocurrencies on its platform.
Steam says No to NFTs
The NFT market hasn’t had it easy in the last few weeks and finds itself in a significant cool down after a feverish summer rally, with investors rotating back to decentralised finance. And while NFTs are widely tipped to have the potential to revolutionise the gaming market, recent news coming from Steam is unlikely to add confidence to investors’ hopes.
That is because Valve, the corporation operating Steam, updated its guidelines for what content creators are allowed to publish on the platform. The latest edition features a ban on apps built on blockchain technology that “issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.” This ban sees NFTs sidelined from the platform together with hate speech, sexually explicit images, and libellous or defamatory statements. Moreover, not only are traditional games banned from including content on crypto or NFTs but also blockchain game developers are not allowed to publish on the platform. Age of Rust, a blockchain game by SpacePirate was removed according to the developer. SpacePirate was less than impressed by this, stating that “while I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future.”
Valve is taking a big gamble by not allowing NFTs on its platform, with blockchain-based games rising fast in popularity. DappRadar recently reported a record high of 754,000 for unique active wallets connected to decentralised gaming applications. NFTs are a prime example of real-life utility for gamers since they allow players to earn real-world rewards and trade their NFTs for them. However, Valve isn’t going against the trend for the first time, having previously targeted crypto and blockchain on its marketplace in 2016 when it announced BTC as a payment option, only to remove it later over alleged concerns over volatility and high fees.
Epic taking a different approach
Making this development even more interesting is the announcement of Epic Games, a direct Steam competitor, who are welcoming blockchain developers and the use of crypto in video games. CEO Tim Sweeney said that as long as the developers abide by the relevant laws and disclose their terms, the platform would enable games using blockchain technology:
“Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”
Epic would also be willing to work with developers to enable the use of NFTs, although its own products, notably the video game hit Fortnite, would not feature them. However, cryptocurrencies as a method of payment would not be enabled.
It will be intriguing to observe which of these contrary approaches turns out to be more profitable in the future. Crypto continues to divide businesses into proponents and opponents, continuing the trend observed in regulators as well. Most likely, Steam’s ban on crypto was not the last company betting on the crypto trend being less big than it’s made out to be.