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How video gamers are resisting a crypto onslaught

Published : Thursday, 11 August, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 211

PARIS, Aug 10: When video game designer Mark Venturelli was asked to speak at Brazil's biggest gaming festival, he submitted a generic-sounding title for his presentation -- "The Future of Game Design" -- but that was not the talk he gave.
Instead, he launched into a 30-minute diatribe against the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies and the games it has spawned, mostly very basic smartphone apps that lure players with the promise of earning money.
"Everything that is done in this space right now is just bad -- actually it's terrible," he told AFP.
He is genuinely worried for the industry he loves, particularly because big gaming studios are also sniffing around the technology.
To crypto enthusiasts, blockchain will allow players to grab back some of the money they spend on games and make for higher-stakes enjoyment.
Critics say the opposite is true -- game makers will capture more profits while sidestepping laws on gambling and trading, and the profit motive will kill all enjoyment.
The battle lines are drawn for what could be a long confrontation over an industry worth some $300 billion a year, according to Accenture.
Gamers like Venturelli might feel that they have triumphed in the early sorties.
Cryptocurrencies have crashed recently and dragged down the in-game tokens that had initially attracted players.
"Nobody is playing blockchain games right now," Mihai Vicol of Newzoo told AFP, saying between 90 and 95 percent of games had been affected by the crash.
Ubisoft, one of the world's biggest gaming firms, last year tried to introduce a marketplace to one of its hit games for trading NFTs, the digital tokens that act as receipts for anything from art to video game avatars.
But gamers' forums, many already scattered with anti-crypto sentiment, lit up in opposition.
Even French trade union IT Solidarity got involved, labelling blockchain "useless, costly, ecologically mortifying tech" -- a reference to the long-held criticism that blockchain networks are hugely power hungry.
Ubisoft quickly ditched the NFT marketplace in Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Breakpoint.    -AFP



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