After months of moving behind the scenes, NFTs are finally making their way into mainstream video games – like it or not.

Ubisoft has revealed that first step in his vision for NFTs via Ubisoft Quartz, a new program that was launched in beta. For the first implementation of the project, players can use cosmetic items called Digits in. acquire Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. These “Limited Edition” items are engraved with a serial number that makes them “unique”. A video accompanying the announcement also states that the items “remember the name of their owner,” which means that those who receive a free item or buy it later actually own it.

If you’re new to the world of NFTs, you’re probably wondering, “How is this different from buying one? Skin clean Fourteen days? “Your confusion is justified. In its current form, Ubisoft Quartz doesn’t really deliver the utopian pitch that NFT evangelists constructed. Instead, it’s just a reinterpretation of one of gaming’s most hated functions.

OK, what is an NFT anyway?

For those who have avoided technology entirely, allow me to offer a simplified “NFTs for dummies“Lesson. An NFT is essentially a digital asset that can be purchased through cryptocurrency. It can be anything from a simple collectibles item to a full-scale virtual art project. The whole idea is that what you buy is actually what you buy.” which doesn’t always apply to digital assets, which means you can sell your NFT and make a profit if you choose.

NFTs overlap with the video game world. Right now, you can play any number of blockchain games that use NFTs. Many of these games revolve around buying assets that can be used in the game and even sold to other players at exorbitant prices. Some are less games than ways to mine cryptocurrencies or make money by selling assets, which has led to their “play-to-earn” label.

It’s not a new concept. Diablo 3 let players sell items through his auction house and other games have tried similar experiments. But most of the big games don’t offer gamers the option to do this. When you buy a skin in Fourteen days, there is no way to sell it. It’s up to you to equip yourself while you are Fourteen days‘s servers remain active. In the grand vision of NFTs, even if a game was closed, players would actually have ownership of the items they bought. So theoretically you could be theirs Fourteen days Skin to another game if developers allow.

All of this is hypothetical and comes with an “if” in 100-point font. In order for NFTs to develop their full potential in gaming, every game manufacturer would have to step in and allow players to take their items with them between games. It’s a utopian vision of the gaming world where everyone would have to come around the campfire and sing Kumbaya.

Reality check

Ubisoft quartz is our first indication that the reality of NFT video games is very different. With this initial implementation, players can easily claim a trio of free cosmetics to use in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint exclusively. Digital Trends reached out to Ubisoft on the matter, who confirmed that “at the moment Ubisoft Quartz is only being launched for” Ghost Recon Breakpoint Player via Ubisoft Connect on a Windows PC. “

Players can sell them, but Digits won’t meet the larger demands of NFTs in their original state. Ubisoft notes that this is “just the beginning” for the project, but it is safe to expect that the next step will be the same idea of ​​gaming as Rainbow Six extraction. Ubisoft notes that it will have more to share about the service “at a later date”.

A logo for Ubisoft Quartz with a purple background.

The project leaves more questions than answers. How is that different from buying one Fourteen days Skin? Isn’t this just a normal microtransaction, but possibly more expensive and with an artificial scarcity? In addition, if the asset is not used Breakpoint, is it an NFT at all?

This last question is the most urgent of all. If you were skeptical of the harmonious scenario I outlined earlier for NFT games, I cannot blame you. NFT die-harders have a compelling elevator pitch, but the logistics of that vision are more complex. It’s impossible to believe that Ubisoft would sell you a gun in Ghost recon and Square Enix would allow you to import it into Final Fantasy XIV. Even if the world welcomed the polarizing technology with open arms, functionality would have to be limited.

Instead, Ubisoft Quartz shows us what companies are actually interested in: A new way of making money quickly. Digits are microtransactions with a longer FAQ page. It’s exactly the same function as buying an armor color in Halo infinite, but you have to use cryptocurrency to do it and probably spend a lot more money. The uniqueness of the articles is also questionable. Players can currently get a gun skin, helmet, and pants, but they’re basically the same as everyone else’s. The only difference is that they have a little serial number to distinguish them from each other. There’s nothing stopping Ubisoft from doing the same with its normal microtransactions.

Three NFTs that players can get in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.

Ubisoft’s vague opinion is that players can “build a greater connection” with the games they love, but that is not a compelling argument. You can already use your character in. adjust Breakpoint. What’s different about adding a number to more expensive gray pants that you will likely never see in the game? If Ubisoft can’t come up with the answer to this question, it’s hard to see why most people care.

NFTs solve a problem that most gamers don’t have. The average gamer doesn’t care whether he actually owns his in-game cosmetics or not. They just want to express themselves in a game that they enjoy. You can do that without Open a crypto wallet. With no promise that assets acquired are transferable, it is just another version of a system that players are already critical of. They are microtransactions at the macro level.

Ubisoft Quartz feels like a way to take advantage of a trend while it’s hot and make money quickly without actually delving into the nuances of the technology. Don’t expect anything more: This is what mainstream gaming NFTs are likely to look like across the board. It’s not groundbreaking; It’s just another way to fish for the few whales that shiploads have cash to spend.

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