Ubisoft has come under fire by its community and trade unions alike for moving forward with NFTs in some of its games.
Not everyone likes NFTs
NFTs have been the breakout star of the crypto industry in 2021. They transitioned from obscure digital tokens to being the key to unlocking new revenue streams for legacy companies like EA and Facebook in the space of only 12 months. The gaming sector especially has been following the NFT buzz closely, as selling unique digital items fits right in with the industry’s business model.
However, Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest video game developers, is now facing heavy criticism for its decision to incorporate NFTs in its games. Only in November, the French gaming behemoth announced it would launch Ubisoft Quartz, a platform where players could buy collectibles from the company and sell them back to other players. The first game to be featured was Ghost Recon, but it turns out that the NFTs only had cosmetic value and did not add anything to the actual gaming experience.
Unsurprisingly, this did not sit well at all with the community. Fans absolutely blasted a video announcement by Ubisoft with dislikes, racking up a 30:1 ratio against likes. But it wasn’t only fans who were appalled by the company’s apparent money grab. The French trade union Solidaires Informatique, representing some of the IT workers at Ubisoft, slammed the NFT implementation as “useless, costly, ecologically mortifying.”
It also said that NFT creators were drawing the worst of crowds to the space, and games have been “rife with scams and rip-offs.” Pointing to a well-known and pretty accurate point of criticism of NFTs, the trade union also blasted the implementation of NFTs for enabling wash trading and money laundering.
Appalling sales numbers back up the critics
According to representatives of Solidaires Informatique, 95% percent of workers at the company are against the NFT scheme, which is drawing as much criticism internally as externally. They’re backed up by disappointing sales numbers, as merely six skins have been sold out of the 2,000 available over the first six days of trading. Finalised sales have been worth only between $25 AUD and $100 AUD, a far cry from the type of money Ubisoft was hoping to raise.
Ubisoft sticking to its guns
Management, however, remains undeterred in the face of overwhelming vitriol. CEO Yves Guillemot came out with a video conference supporting the NFT projects and reaffirmed to trade union representatives that Ubisoft would continue developing NFTs. According to a trade union representative, Guillemot even announced more things to come relating to Web3, the metaverse, and self-regulated virtual worlds.
All that goes to show that NFTs and Web3 technology are far from being seen as the panacea that industry experts sometimes make them out to be. Ubisoft hijacking NFTs for profit motives, as is currently pretty obviously the case, endangers the positive and promising developments in the blockchain space around digital collectibles. In all likelihood, Ubisoft will be far from the last major company to face pushback over blockchain technology from its employees.