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EA Backs Away Slowly From NFTs

It’s starting to sound like gaming’s biggest companies are finally getting the message when it comes to NFTs. Which, to be clear, is that they suck.

During EA's Q3 2022 earnings call, CEO Andrew Wilson had a very different tone when discussing NFTs than he had just a few short months ago. Last November, Wilson called NFTs "the future of our industry," but yesterday he seemed to back away from the contentious crypto-backed collectible technology.

"I believe that collectibility will continue to be an important part of our industry in the games and experiences that we offer our players. Whether that's as part of NFTs and the blockchain, that remains to be seen,” Wilson said (via PC Gamer). “And I think, the way we think about it is, we want to deliver the best possible player experience we can, and so we'll evaluate that over time. But right now it's not something that we're driving hard on."

Elsewhere in the call, Wilson described NFTs the same as any new gaming technology, comparing it to VR or 3D. NFTs were supposed to provide a boost to some of EA's key metrics for "collectibility," which are quality, scarcity, authenticity, and perceived value. However, it seems like NFTs have only improved scarcity without adding authenticity or perceived value.

In fact, one could argue that NFTs have hurt more than they've helped. All NFTs are backed by a crypto blockchain which requires constant power to maintain, and until we swap to a fully green energy network, that power often comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

Besides the environmental argument, there's also little reason for gamers to care about NFTs. They don't make in-game items any more collectible than they already are, and because NFTs can't be transferred between games Ready Player One-style, there's no real use case for them in the gaming space.

NFTs would be bad enough if only those two points were true, but NFTs are so full of scams, theft, and wild speculation that it's all just a giant mess. Most developers hate them for these reasons, and the blowback against anyone who announces an NFT project has been swift and severe.

EA is probably making the right move by backing away from NFTs. They've got enough on their plate just handling Battlefield 2042.

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