Why Ubisoft's watered-down NFTs are the real deal
For only the third time this year, I’ve been out of the office for a couple of days, which always allows for some bluesky thinking.
Certainly it’s been interesting to get out of the crypto bubble and talk to people who — if not exactly average joes — equally aren’t yield farming LP tokens.
Indeed, even amongst what could be labelled the gaming/tech elite, a show of hand demonstrated less-than-50% crypto owners and no-one in the room owned an NFT apart from those to whom I’d sent NFTs.
Obviously that will change quickly.
We went to the British Museum for some brain cleansing and even that fusty institution is now selling NFTs; in this case of the meme-friendly 18th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.
What was fascinating, however, was how blockchain and crypto is now a natural part of conversation, even amongst people who are — at best — at the ‘I’ve got some BTC and ETH in my Coinbase wallet’ stage.
Certainly NFTs are approaching the status of table stakes for games companies, whether they are full-blown blockchain-aware or just looking for a lightweight retrospective injection into existing products.
Of course, for those of us who are hardcore Ethereum degens, this as close as it gets to launching vanity NFTs on a private blockchain so why not just do it on a centralized database? (Or not even bother doing it at all.)
But that’s to miss the forest for the trees.
For all the hoops it’s placed in the way of players actually accessing these digital assets (100 hours of gameplay!), Ubisoft has finally managed to inject NFTs into one of its best-known IPs.
The haters will still hate of course but the fact Ubisoft got this through its creative team and its legal department means that the door for all blockchain games is kicked open another few inches.
Indeed, Ubisoft’s blockchain evangelists have been working towards this day for years. They’ve done a great job to get this far and should be thoroughly congratulated.
But what’s really fascinating is waiting to see how the likes of EA, Activision Blizzard, Zynga, Take-Two etc are now forced to respond.
It might be blockchain-lite but for the first time it’s blockchain in an existing triple-A game and importance of that can not be underestimated.