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    NFT Ban: Minecraft, GTA V, and Steam Ban NFTs from Servers

    So far in the Web3 journey, we’ve seen a fair share of major game companies try to incorporate NFTs in their ecosystem. Game companies like Konami, Square Enix, and Sony Entertainment have all welcomed NFTs with open arms. However, not all platforms favor these non-fungible tokens in their games. The video game digital distribution platform, Steam, banned all cryptocurrency and NFT activities, and major games like Minecraft and GTA V have also sailed on the NFT ban ship. 

    Some gaming companies have seen NFTs as a revolutionary concept that changes the game experience forever. However, others raised major concerns surrounding the role of NFTs in games. So let’s go through these companies’ reasonings for banning NFTs. 

    Steam NFT Ban

    Steam

    Steam is a famous digital storefront for computer games. It also serves as a community portal where users and players can connect with each other and play multiplayer games. This mega-gaming platform has over 120 million active daily users. Therefore, considering the mass community it breeds, and the widespread growth of NFTs across the gaming world, Steam had a lot to stay. 

    On October 15, 2021, Steam released its new guidelines in which it stated that users are banned from publishing blockchain-based applications that use NFTs and cryptocurrency on the platform. Moreover, there were no clear reasons for this decision. There are however many reasons why a giant platform like Steam would have an abhorrent view on NFTs. 

    First, Steam is a legitimate platform. Therefore, with the rise of fraudulent schemes and safety concerns, video game companies tend to stray away from any legal trouble. Fraud concerns are not taken lightly in legitimate platforms. Therefore, Steam might have to implement additional verification measures and actively monitor accounts or even create financial limits on in-game NFTs. However, these strict measures go against the blockchain’s decentralized nature. 

    Another concern might be the volatility of NFTs. Valve’s president Gabe Newell stated in an interview back then that “at one point Steam was accepting cryptocurrencies for payments. And it turned out that it just made customers super mad. There was the issue of volatility: you don’t want your pricing to vary when anchored to people’s wages.” He continues to argue that one day you could spend around $500 for a game and the next day it might be valued at 50 cents. “That was one problem, that sort of volatility was creating more pain for our customers than the value of having the option of using cryptocurrencies.”

    Epic Welcomes NFTs

    On the flip side, Steam’s competitor Epic has stated that it will accept blockchain-based games. Epic’s CEO stated that  “Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group.” Epic is known for its famous game, Fortnite. Therefore, both companies are gaming giants that seem to be on the opposite side of the coin when it comes to the NFT ban.

    Minecraft’s “Blocks” Refuses the Blockchain

    Minecraft

    Minecraft is the fifth most popular video game in the world with over 700+ million players that span the globe. Therefore, when Minecraft releases a guideline that bans any Web3 activity, it’s a HUGE deal. 

    Minecraft’s open nature has made it easy for players and third-party creators to incorporate NFTs into the beloved game. Moreover, NFT Worlds, a play-to-earn platform, is the most prevalent source of NFTs in Minecraft. NFT Worlds benefits from Minecraft’s open-source system by enticing developers to create mods and maps as digital collectibles, aka NFTs. Therefore, players get to sell and trade their in-game items, content, and experience. Thousands of players have benefited from the rewards of their investment in the game. 

    However, in July 2022, Minecraft shared its new guidelines that completely ban the use of NFTs and cryptocurrency in any of its gaming servers or derivative projects. Not only that, but Minecraft took a step further in its NFT ban to prohibit the usage of any Minecraft imagery in NFT collections as part of their copyright

    “To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications. Nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods, be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset,” the guideline stated. Mojang Studios, the studio behind Minecraft, has left little room for debate and it was very strict in its decision. 

    Interestingly, NFT world announced that it will create a new game for crypto and NFT enthusiasts that will be “based on many of the core mechanics of Minecraft” but which will be “completely untethered from the policy enforcement Microsoft and Mojang have over Minecraft.”

    GTA V Recent NFT Ban

    GTA V

    There’s nothing more gangster than Grand Theft Auto banning NFTs. It’s actually a little bit hypocritical. GTA is notorious for shady and sketchy operations. Imagine CJ’s disappointment when he finds out he can’t have his AK-47 as an NFT! But in all seriousness, Rockstar, the company behind GTA, recently updated its website to prohibit fan gaming servers from using digital assets. 

    Grand Theft Auto V  fans have been employing ”role-playing servers” that allow players to take the role of NPCs and interact online. These servers usually require a modded version of the game in order to be played. Therefore, NFT enthusiasts have found a way to incorporate NFTs into these servers. They can be in-game digital assets, such as cars and weapons. Rockstar, therefore, has shut down one of the most popular GTA V NFT servers. Well-known rapper Lil Durk’s Trenches server sold in-game digital assets like houses and cars through its website. 

    However, in this case, Rockstar was clear about its reasonings for the NFT ban. NFTs do not align with their policy. The gaming company further explained that not all servers will get shut down, however, it will take action for commercial exploitation, including the sale of “loot boxes” for real-world currency or any use of cryptocurrency and assets (NFTs).

    Mixed Feelings

    We’ve seen all sides of the coin, or “block” to be exact when it comes to legitimate gaming corporations’ feelings about NFTs. Some companies believe NFTs and the blockchain are the future of gaming, while others perceive them as evil spawns that threaten the safety and security of their users. Given the recent NFT market crash and chaos, you can’t really blame the latter. However, well-known and global companies are jumping into the NFT pool. Therefore, platforms that preach the NFT ban might actually start embracing the technology’s potential in gaming. 

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