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Dev surprises blockchain-sponsored game festival with talk branding NFTs a "nightmare"

"These people are outsiders here, they're not important."

A game developer set to speak on the "Future of Game Design" at Brazil's International Games Festival instead surprised attendees with a talk on "Why NFTs are a nightmare".

Sponsors of the festival included a number of NFT and blockchain companies, such as Lakea and Ripio, as well as panels from sponsors like "Web3 and the New Generation of Games".

However, Mark Venturelli - best known for developing the game Chroma Squad - surprised attendees and sponsors alike with his statement against crypto gaming.

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"These people are outsiders here, they're not important," Venturelli told PCGamer after the event. "They're just trying to buy their relevance, because they have no actual influence over the future of our industry. If you just give them this space uncontested, you're just giving them exactly what they want, and buying their narrative that they're relevant."

The title change was a gimmick, with the developer beginning his talk about new trends in gaming before scratching out the title and changing the topic, which was met with applause by the audience.

And although the topic change was controversial, it was cleared with the festival's organisers beforehand and wasn't censored - despite the sponsorship.

"I've heard that the sponsors got really mad," Venturelli says. "They tried to break into the talk while I was talking, but the organisation would not let them. That doesn't surprise me, because the organisation, not at a single point did they censor me, did they stop me from putting what I wanted on the slides. I gave them access to the slides before the talk. There was never any kind of intention on their side to shut me up or anything like that."

Venturelli's presentation has been posted to YouTube, with his slides translated into English. It notes how "everything Play to Earn can do...has already existed for over a decade in other games (but more efficient)".

Much of his argument, though, comes down to trust.

"Computationally, like in real life, if you don't trust the people that you're working with, you have to spend a lot more energy to achieve the same things," Venturelli told PCGamer. "If I'm living with you in the same house and we don't trust each other, I have to, every time before I leave my house, hide my valuables. I have to make inventory of the things that I own, and maybe put cameras or locks inside of things. When I come back home I need to check everything and see if you messed with any of my stuff, and make sure that you don't get into my room when I'm sleeping and all that shit.

"It's so much energy that I have to use just to exist in a room with you, because I don't trust you. That, I feel, is a very good metaphor about how computationally blockchain works, and what is the underlying philosophical idea behind it, which is, 'We want a world without any sort of centralised authority because we cannot trust any of them ever.' And that is the opposite of what we want as a society, in my opinion."

Elsewhere in the games industry, Ubisoft launched an NFT platform claiming players "don't get it", while EA has backtracked from its initial enthusiasm on the topic and Square Enix is researching the technology.

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About the Author
Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

Deputy News Editor

Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.