After the launch of Ubisoft’s Quartz platform and Digit NFTs, reaction from the gaming populace was overwhelmingly negative. In response, key staff talked up their embrace of the platform, and one Ubisoft exec says NFT critics just don’t get it.
In an industry dominated by AAA studios who push for predatory loot boxes, excessive microtransactions, and harmful workplace culture full of crunch and sexual misconduct, seeing one of the worst offenders in the industry embracing a technology with its own share of closet skeletons seemed to many like a match made in hell.
In an attempt to defend their recent business move and state a positive case for NFTs in gaming, two of the project leads behind Quartz and Digits participated in an interview with Finder.
As VP of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab, Nicolas Pouard mentioned that his long-term vision to “Open the gates of our games and… make them bigger by sharing [a stake] with our players” has conflicted with the short-term impressions of gamers.
He sees Quartz and Digits as “Just a first step that should lead to something bigger,” and he asserted his commitment to listening to feedback and making adjustments along the way. Then, the Ubisoft exec says NFT critics just don’t get it while expressing his frustration with the blowback.
“Gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them,” he said. “At no point will we force our players to use Quartz and Digits.”
As Blockchain Technical Director for Ubisoft, Didier Genevois also responded to some of the criticism directed towards Quartz. Genevois mentioned that Ubisoft’s use of Tezos demonstrates their awareness of concerns surrounding blockchain technology’s “Impact on the environment and the energy it consumes.”
He also mentioned that “the hurdles we put in place for the eligibility criteria” successfully prevented their market from being “pre-empted by speculators,” which they considered one of the biggest risks when implementing the new platform.
And while both interviewees admitted that the names used for Ubisoft Quartz and Digits were partially motivated by a desire to obfuscate their use of blockchain technology, Genevois admitted “We knew that if we didn’t reference the technology, players would have noticed.”
Despite their well-meaning attempts to mitigate the negative outcry around their latest project, these statements from Pouard and Genevois had the equivalent effect of throwing water on a grease fire.
Trying to sell gamers on the idea of making money from games without mentioning how the technology can actually make the games themselves better is ridiculously out of touch, clearly demonstrating that they’re actually the ones who “don’t get it.”
And when you consider how the company has gone back on its word before — combined with an admission that they attempted to disguise their NFT platform — it makes all their optimistic statements on decentralization and player-run economies just sound like desperate words from modern day snake oil salesmen.
This is Niche Gamer Tech. In this column, we regularly cover tech and things related to the tech industry. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s tech or a story you want us to cover!