In recent interviews this month, GameFi executives suggested that regulation and knowledge may allow big game developers like Rockstar and Mojang to reconsider blockchain technology.
Web3 and blockchain have been controversial topics in the gaming community, with some studios embracing the technology while others remain skeptical of its uses. Though developers like Ubisoft and Square Enix have been open to its implementation, the creators of Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto are notorious for banning the technology from their game content.
Last July, Minecraft developer Mojang Studios banned NFTs and other forms of Web3 technology in their pixel-world game. This news greatly affected the development of NFT Worlds, a digital asset built on Minecraft servers. Other projects like Forgotten Runes and Axolittles also lost access to Minecraft-based community platforms.
Shortly after, Rockstar Games followed suit in November with an update prohibiting crypto assets on Grand Theft Auto V servers. The stipulation targeted public roleplaying servers that used tokens to solidify players’ ownership of in-game items, like customized cars or weapons. Rapper Durk “Lil Durk” Banks shut down his Trenches NFT server in accordance with the new update, despite the server’s immense popularity.
Besides these setbacks, some GameFi executives are hopeful that companies like Rockstar and Mojang may still be open to blockchain technology. BNB Chain gaming growth lead Walter Lee suggested that the companies are not against the technology but are cautious due to its current lack of regulation.
“There is still a lack of education and regulation around Web3, therefore, some users and companies are still skeptical about the benefits and scams that can often be associated with it,” Lee said.
As evidence of Lee’s speculation, Mojang cited several scams related to third-party NFT implementations on their platform. In the Grand Theft Auto V update, Rockstar also considered crypto assets like NFTs under “commercial exploitation,” fearing that scammers may use dubious cryptocurrency to steal from players.
Beyond just a lack of education or legislation, blockchain technology has received mixed receptions from many fans. Though some triple-A publishers are well-known for embracing blockchain, many forms of NFT or crypto integration in games received backlash.
However, a survey from Coda Labs suggests that the public perception of Web3 and cryptocurrencies in games is slowly changing. The survey noted that while most gamers were lukewarm on cryptocurrencies, they were becoming more open to the possibility of NFT games.
Considering the shift, Lee suggested that player choice and perception are crucial in blockchain game integration. Gaming studios like Rockstar and Mojang may be reluctant to embrace the technology now, but community demand has the potential to change their present approach.
“If there becomes an increased demand from players for blockchain integrations, they will likely revisit their policies,” he said.
Executive director of Web3 game development company Wagyu Games, Grant Haseley, agreed with Lee’s assessment. He added that the current Web3 landscape lacks enough high-quality games to impress traditional game studios.
“If you can make a game on the fly and still maintain profitability without changing your model, why would you even consider something radical that could have lasting effects on your consumer base?” Haseley said, emphasizing that a good game might alter this reality.