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Ubisoft's NFT bosses say players just "don't get it"

"It's really beneficial."

In December, Ubisoft raised eyebrows when it announced Quartz, an NFT platform for big budget games which would host resellable in-game items with unique codes stamped on.

Despite saying the system would use an "energy-efficient technology... a million times less energy than a bitcoin transaction", fans still criticised Ubisoft's focus on and championing of a technology they claimed was unnecessary and speculative.

Now, two of the faces behind Ubisoft's big NFT push have been interviewed by Australian financial site Finder, and said that fans just did not "get it".

Specifically, fans were said not to understand the upsides to reselling digital items - whereas Ubisoft was simply getting in early on a "paradigm shift in gaming".

Here's an extended quote in full:

"I think gamers don't get what a digital secondary market can bring to them," Nicolas Pouard, VP at Ubisoft's Strategic Innovations Lab said. "For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it's first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they're finished with them or they're finished playing the game itself.

"So, it's really, for them. It's really beneficial. But they don't get it for now.

"Also, this is part of a paradigm shift in gaming. Moving from one economic system to another is not easy to handle. There is a lot of habits you need to go against and a lot of your ingrained mindset you have to shift. It takes time. We know that."

Pouard said that the reaction to Quartz was something Ubisoft was "expecting" and it was "not an easy concept to grasp".

He also reiterated that Ubisoft would never "force" players to use Quartz and that its requirements - to own a copy of the game and to have played two hours of it - made the platform a harder target for speculators.

When Ubisoft released its first batch of Quartz items (known as Digits) for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, "a very big majority of the 2500 tokens ordered" were from existing long-term players, Didier Genevois, Ubisoft's Blockchain Technical Director, added.

When asked whether the majority - or all - Ubisoft games might use Quartz in the future, Pouard said it was up to each project's team to decide.

""We so strongly believe that what we are doing [with Quartz and Digits] goes in the right direction," Pouard concluded. "So, we will keep integrating. Obviously listening to what our fans are telling us, and how they're telling us, as we go, so we can also adapt what we're doing and where we're going. So that's the next move. To make sure what we're doing will make even more sense to gamers."

Of course, the views of Pouard and Genevois are not those of everyone at Ubisoft.

Indeed, other Ubisoft employees reportedly expressed their own discomfort with the company's NFT push in a meeting with boss Yves Guillemot, while a French trade union representing Ubisoft Paris staff members heavily criticised the decision.

Still, it could be worse. Yesterday, Atari announced it would sell a range of giftable "surprise" NFT lootboxes to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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About the Author

Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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