Reggie Fils-Aimé says he's a believer in blockchain and so-called play-to-own technology.
Speaking at last month's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Fils-Aimé was asked what role blockchain, crypto and play-to-earn technology had in the future of gaming (thanks, Nintendo Life).
He appeared to be quite enthusiastic about the idea: "So I'm a believer in blockchain, I think it's a really compelling technology. I'm also a believer in the concept of 'play to own' within video games, and I say this as a player where I may have invested 50 hours, 100 hours, or 300 hours in a game, and when I'm ready to move on to something else, wouldn't it be great to monetise what I've built?"
Fils-Aimé used an example from his former employer to support his case: "I bet I'd have some takers here today if I wanted to sell my Animal Crossing island from the latest Nintendo Switch version; I'd like to be able to monetise that. Blockchain technology embedded in the code would enable me to do that."
Yet there is already a thriving community of Animal Crossing of players buying and selling items as well as offering services in exchange for in-game currencies (Bells and Nook Miles) or otherwise.
Sites like Nookazon, for example, already facilitate this exchange by connecting players together. The only incentive Nintendo would have to move such exchanges from the black market to an official marketplace is if it could take a cut of the profits, or perhaps argue it creates a safe, moderated environment, for children.
Even then, it is difficult to see why a blockchain is needed to implement such a marketplace.
To his credit, Fils-Aimé did say that the use of blockchain needs to be thoughtful and consumer-friendly: "Now I say that in the context of 'it needs to make sense for the player'. It can't just be an approach by the developer that it's interesting or it's a way for them as a development entity to make more money. In the end, it's got to be good for the player, but I see an opportunity."