In more NFT news, Mojang has announced… that they’re not allowing NFT and blockchain technology into their game Minecraft.
In a recent blog post, Mojang went over feedback they received from community members about NFTs and blockchain technology. The first thing they mention is describing NFTs. Mojang adds that both NFTs and blockchains are recently associated with speculation. You can define speculation as prices moving rapidly, where there might be more loss than gain. We’ve seen this due to news that NFTs are collapsing. While there still is a large number of users buying NFTs, it hasn’t hit that high it once had.
The company is in the processes of updating their usage guidelines where they outline that a server owner can charge for access to a server, but, Mojang tries to create an environment where “everyone has access to the same content”. NFTS therefore conflict with their guidelines because they “create models of scarcity and exclusion” and isn’t in “the spirit of Minecraft”. Along with that, they mention that users cannot install any blockchain technology in their client or servers, even in-game content like worlds, skins, items, or mods using blockchain technology. They say all this because there have been companies that use Minecraft world files or skin packs to try and influence people (and often times it’ll be minors) to buy into NFTs.
A lot of real-world items are hard to mass reproduce and are subject to scarcity. But this is something that, for the most part, doesn’t happen in digital spaces. Yes, we see servers go down, or hosted websites die without a trace, but it’s not on the same scale. It’s because companies will create artificial scarcity that the whole ‘buy now, or you’ll miss out!’ attitude can exist. We saw this with Nintendo recently where they only had a limited number of physical editions of Super Mario 3D All-Stars that would go away on March 31st, 2021. With that said, All Stars was using an emulation to play their games. And roughly seven months later, Nintendo released a bunch of N64 games for Online subscribers. Not only that, but Nintendo included Super Mario 64 in the Online deal. Whether there is any actual scarcity, that’s up to you.
While other companies contribute to the artificial scarcity model, Mojang seems to be taking a stand against it. As they continue saying that NFTs and blockchain technologies are only creating “digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion”. These ideas don’t align with their values of “creative inclusion and playing together.” They said, “NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots. The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players”. Mojang sees that the creativity Minecraft inspires has some “intrinsic value”, and they hope that they can provide a marketplace “where those values can be recognized”. Reiterating that there can be no integration of blockchain applications, they will be “paying close attention to how blockchain technology evolves over time”. This is to make sure that their values are being upheld and to see if there might be future plans to change “practical and inclusive applications in gaming”.
This is a bit of a bomb to the players who love NFTs, but a win for players who don’t. One Twitter user retweeted Gene Park’s tweet about Mojang and asked the founder and CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, if they have the same opinion. Sweeney replied that devs should be “free to decide how to build their games, and you are free to decide whether to play them”.
Developers should be free to decide how to build their games, and you are free to decide whether to play them. I believe stores and operating system makers shouldn’t interfere by forcing their views onto others. We definitely won’t.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 21, 2022
It’s an interesting road to go down, considering we’ve seen this tale told time and time again. The first major company that started a lot of these discussions were Ubisoft, who added NFT features to Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and despite the backlash they received for it, recommitted to the use of NFTs in their game. Troy Baker partnered with a company called VoiceVerseNFT, telling people that “[you] can hate. Or you can create. What’ll it be?”. Team17, makers of the Worms series, backed down from initial plans of creating Worms NFTs. And the most recent news was Square Enix sold their Western IP and studios so that they could invest in AI, the cloud, and blockchain. Now we can see what that leads to, as Square unveils its first NFT which is… a physical action figure with a code for a redeemable digital NFT.
Let’s see how this will turn out in the future. Fans of video games have been pretty happy with Mojang’s response on NFTs, many don’t love the implementation that companies have been going for. They’ll announce an NFT project, and then when people tell them it’s a bad idea, a lot of them listen. It’ll be interesting to see which companies decide to take a dive off the deep end, and who doesn’t. What do you think about this? Think Mojang has lost their marbles? Or is it a good call? Let us know!