Ubisoft recommits to NFTs despite backlash

Posted on December 27, 2021

Ubisoft debuted its brand of NFT technology with the introduction of its Ubisoft Quartz program earlier this month, and it hasn’t gone down all that well. From the introductory trailer being greeted on YouTube with a deluge of dislikes, to apparently abysmal sales numbers, its far from an auspicious start to Ubisoft’s dalliance with Non-Fungible Tokens. However, Ubisoft is committing to making this work, and acknowledging that it may still take some time.

Ubisoft Quartz was first introduced this month as a platform to buy and sell cosmetic NFT DLC . The first game that was made compatible with this program was their 2019 shooter Ghost Recon Breakpoint. The concept was that, unlike regular DLC that is tied to your account forever, this NFT DLC can be bought and sold directly from other players. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, this pitch has not sparked the interest of either Ghost Recon fans or NFT collectors. As noted by Apex Legends Senior Character Artist Liz Edwards on Twitter, within its first 11 days of operation, the total volume of Ubisoft Quartz transactions came to less than $400.

However, Ubisoft don’t seem deterred and is doubling down despite this seeming public rejection. In an interview with cryptocurrency website Decrypt, Ubisoft blockchain technical director Didier Genevois advised that the company isn’t backing away from its NFT plans, and will “stay true” to its principles.

We have received a lot of feedback since the announcement, and we hear both the encouragement and the concerns,” he said. “We understand where the sentiment towards the technology comes from, and we need to keep taking it into consideration every step of the way. This experiment is meant to understand how the value proposition of decentralization can be received and embraced by our players. We know it is a major change that will take time, but we will stay true to our three principles.”

According to Genevois, these principles are to “use the tech responsibly” and “build a safe environment” for players to explore how NFTs work, “only leverage energy-efficient proof-of-stake blockchains,” and “focus on meaningful value propositions for players that benefit their gaming experience.”

The evident opposition to this NFT direction hasn’t swayed Ubisoft. They seem to believe that Ubisoft Quartz will eventually be embraced just like DLC and season passes were eventually normalised. That isn’t impossible, but it won’t be happening anytime soon. At the moment, these supposedly “energy-efficient” NFTs are still essentially just fancy cosmetic DLC with a pointlessly large environmental impact. A French video game union which represents Ubisoft employees has also criticised Ubisoft Quartz as “useless, costly, and ecologically mortifying“.

It will remain to be seen what the future of Ubisoft’s NFT approach will be. For now, they will continue to invest in it, and may see NTFs in future Ubisoft projects to come.