Why Are (Some) Gamers Such Anti-NFTs?

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Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs for short, have been the hot, new trend for over a year now. And any time there’s a new piece of trendy technology, surely, there’s going to be the overly optimistic supporters and then absolute haters. NFTs are no different — but who some of the most vocal haters are is what’s been especially surprising.

Many hardcore gamers have been vocal about their dislike for NFTs. The same gamers who, for years on end, have been buying digital goods, which is what NFTs are when boiled down to its simplest sense. So why such ardent hate? After all, this time of year, this type of hate is usually reserved for teams you’re betting against in March Madness Vegas odds — not new technologies.

Well, that’s what we’re about to explain. By the end of our explanation, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether the hate is warranted or if it’s overblown. Let’s dive right in and hit gamers’ criticism of NFTs one-by-one:

NFTs (Generally) Don’t Make Games Better

At the end of the day, gamers want one thing above everything else — a great gaming experience. Anything that helps accomplish that goal is celebrated. So far, NFTs haven’t really proven to do that.

As we said earlier, gamers have been buying virtual goods for years now, whether in the form of special “maps” to play in or skins for their character. NFTs don’t enhance that experience beyond the claim that gamers will now “own” these goods and transfer them to other experiences (which is yet to be seen).

We should counter this critique by also stating that “it’s early.” NFTs didn’t hit the mainstream until early 2021. Therefore, the use cases are still being figured out. Think about the iPhone App Store. The first apps that hit the store were rather useless and it took years for major utilities (e.g. Airbnb, Snapchat, and Uber) to hit the market. Perhaps the same can be said about NFTs.

NFTs As Cash Grabs

So if NFTs aren’t actually making games more fun, then what’s their value? Welp, in the eyes of the harshest critics, it’s shameless profiting. Many gamers believe this is another tool that game developers well deploy to extract value out of them, not unlike downloadable content on “unfinished” games.

Outside of gaming, NFTs have been more warmly embraced by artists — both in the musical and design sense. A pro-art narrative has fueled this kind of embrace since many fans want to support artists directly, which NFTs allow for without a “middleman” taking a cut. But here lies the issues with gamers. Them buying an NFT just benefits game developers, who are monolithic corporations anyway that already gross billions of dollars.

Gamers and developers have a strenuous relationship, one that’s been building since the rise of DLC content in the last decade. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that gamers would be quick to write off NFTs as another way for big gaming companies to eek money out of them — they’re used to it by now.

Crypto’s Bad Reputation

NFTs, whether fair or not, get grouped into all things crypto — Bitcoin, DeFi, etc. and unfortunately, that comes with a lot of baggage. The most prevailing one is “scam.” Despite Bitcoin’s wild price appreciation since its invention, it hasn’t shaken off its association with being a so-called “ponzi scheme” with many folks.

A more accurate teardown of Bitcoin is the insane computational power it requires to run, which in turn negatively impacts the environment. While gaming hogs lots of electricity resources too, it’s nowhere near the level of Bitcoin and other proof-of-work blockchains. Therefore, NFTs get this same negative label (even if they’re being transacted through proof-of-stake blockchains). 

While other critiques can be lobbed at NFTs by gamers, the three above are really the core issues raised time and time again. What do you think — do gamers have a valid point? Or are they just blindly hating the “new” thing because it’s the cool thing to do within the community?