ionscifi's picture
NFT Non-Starters
Posted By:

This week has seen a few unexpected NFT (non-fungible token) stories.

Solidaires Informatique, a French trade union, has condemned Ubisoft's NFT plans as "a useless, costly, ecologically mortifying technology."

The Ubisoft Plan

Selling appearance items to players in games is common practice but Ubisoft announced plans to print numbers on them, which would be visible to all players.

The announcement video displays the following message accompanied by drums:

Ubisoft Quartz Beta allows you to collect the first playable and energy-efficient Ubisoft NFTs.

Their name is DIGITS.

[ DIGITS flashes into HUGE font ]

DIGITS are first available with

Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

01 DIGITS are playable in-game

02 DIGITS are unique digital collectibles

03 DIGITS will allow you to complete your missions in style!


They are released in limited editions

They feature an egraved serial number visible to all

They remember their owner's names

for years to come


When you feel like it,

you can simply put your DIGITS ON SALE

and look for new ones!

This is just the beginning...

UBISOFT QUARTZ - Be Unique. Control. Play.

That's hilarious on so many levels.

Energy efficient? Environmental benefits are commonly cited by NFT advocates. The production of any purely digital asset will have less environmental impact than just about any real item anyone might buy instead and will eg. never end up on a trash heap because it's just digital.

But developers like Ubisoft already sell digital items. Adding blockchain - which is necessary for the NFT moniker - can only increase their environmental impact.

Same item with a different number on it = unique. Uhuh.

Calling them DIGITs, when the number is the only unique aspect is ironically appropriate.

They remember their owner's names? They're not animals and don't "remember" anything. Owner's names are just data stored somewhere.

PC Gamer reported that the video reached 31,000 dislikes and only 1000 likes on YouTube before the dislike counter was hidden.

Being able to sell them? Sure that's the one actual benefit to players of NFTs over MTs (microtransactions).

If you purchase some cosmetic like this in a game then that cosmetic is forever tied to your account. You can't sell or give it away.

Hence the French trade union's condemnation, who weighed in on this topic on behalf of Ubisoft employees in Paris.

We'd love to know the Icelandverse perspective on Quartz.

Stalker 2

Stalker 2 announced and swiftly cancelled NFT plans after overwhelmingly negative response.

What's especially interesting in that case is that the developers explicitly claimed that it wouldn't be a blockchain-based game, but their in-games NFTs could still be bought and sold outside of the game.

This is relatively new territory but NFTs are the distinguishing feature of blockchain-based games.

Most include the ability to trade them for real world currency from inside the game but the lack of that trading function doesn't make it a regular game.

Wikipedia defines them.

A blockchain game is a video game that includes elements that use cryptography-based blockchain technologies. Blockchain elements in these games are most often based on the use of cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which players can buy, sell, or trade with other players.

Despite their claim to the contrary, Stalker 2 would have been a blockchain-based game.

[ Main Image: Ubisoft Quartz trailer. Credit: Ubisoft via YouTube. ]


Chalk, Andy (December 15, 2021). Stalker 2 jumps on the NFT bandwagon, will make 3 players 'metahuman' NPCs, whatever that is. PC Gamer.

Chalk, Andy (December 15, 2021). Ubisoft's NFT scheme criticized as 'useless, costly, ecologically mortifying' by French trade union. PC Gamer.

Stanton, Rich (December 9, 2021). Ubisoft's NFT announcement video is overwhelmingly disliked. PC Gamer.

Ubisoft North America (December 8, 2021). Ubisoft Quartz: Announce Trailer | Ubisoft [NA]. YouTube.

Wikipedia. Blockchain game. (viewed December 19, 2021)

Wilde, Tyler (December 16, 2021). Stalker 2 developer cancels NFT plans following backlash. PC Gamer.