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Giving Players Property Rights In Videogames

by Colin Anderson on 05/18/22 01:19:00 pm   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

NFT Cryptocurrencies

Here’s the thing: I know a lot about cryptocurrencies. I started studying bitcoin in 2014 and the majority of my personal research since 2017 has been around bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space. I also know a lot about videogames. I’ve been employed as a professional game developer since 1993, set up my own development studio in early 2000, and have worked on well over 100 game releases in that time. I've even had the privilege of being an "Expert" blogger for Gamasutra since 2009.

And yet, despite understanding both cryptocurrencies and games in the kind of nerdy-detail that would scare most reasonable people away, I still haven’t formed a strong opinion about what must surely be one of the most divisive topics of our time - the application of Non-Fungible Tokens to videogames.

It’s not that I don’t understand how important Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention of digital scarcity was, or what the potential of digital collectibles might be. I mean, that’s precisely what bitcoin is, and precisely why I’ve been enthusiastically collecting it since 2014.

I get that. And yet, when it comes to NFTs specifically, I’m still not entirely sure what problem NFTs solve in videogames at a fundamental level. I understand what they promise at a psychological level and an economic level, but… from a fundamental design and engineering perspective as a videogame developer? I’m still not sure. So I've decided to have a think about it.

I've created a newsletter called "Fun & Fungibility" to help me form that opinion. A considered one, from first principles, because I’m not satisfied with the current quality of the “NFTs will revolutionise gaming” vs the “NFTs will destroy the world” discourse I currently see around me. I may not know everything about cryptocurrencies and videogames, but I already know more than enough to be sure that whatever else might be true, neither of those perspectives are.

I usually do all my learning in private and keep most of my opinions to myself, but this time I’ve decided to learn in public and do my thinking out loud. Just for a change, since I’ve never tried that before. I'm sure it will be invigorating.

So if you’re someone with an interest in games or cryptocurrencies who’s also curious where their intersection might lead, and if you haven't already formed a strong opinion like either of the ones above, then please sign-up to follow my musings on the topic. 

I'll be sure to share any important findings here on this blog in any case, so if you only want the TL;DR versions it might be better just to wait for these. But I expect comments from others to form an important part of my thinking process, and most of that will happen via the Newsletter and Twitter.

It would be great to have your company for the journey.

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