Minecraft, one of the most popular games of all time, has announced that it will no longer support NFTs. Because gaming has been touted as a potential use case for NFTs, the Microsoft-owned game’s stance on blockchain technology could have serious consequences for such developers.
“NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of haves and have-nots,” Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, wrote on its website. “The speculative pricing and investment mentality surrounding NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we believe is incompatible with our players’ long-term joy and success.”
Some companies have already attempted to build businesses selling Minecraft NFTs, as Mojang mentioned in its note. The most visible example is the Polygon-based NFT Worlds, which sells NFTs of virtual land that can be used in custom Minecraft servers.
“Currently using Minecraft and its sprawling open-source ecosystem, NFT Worlds builds on the backbone of a decades worth of open source development within the Minecraft community,” NFT Worlds explains on its website. The project also created play-to-earn games that reward you with their own cryptocurrency $WRLD for every 30 minutes you spend playing.
The price floor of NFT Worlds has dropped by approximately 66% in the last 24 hours.
“This announcement by Microsoft/Minecraft to outright ban all possible uses of NFTs & blockchain tech within Minecraft feels like a step backwards in innovation and may even have painful downstream effects for them in the long run,” an NFT Worlds developer wrote in a Discord announcement that was cross-posted to Twitter.
The NFT Worlds developer stated that the first step will be to contact Minecraft to understand the reasoning behind their decision and how these policies will be enforced against their existing platform. If Minecraft refuses to budge, they will look into other options. One option, as briefly stated in the Discord announcement, would be for NFT Worlds to run on a game engine similar to Minecraft. The second option is to switch to a “platform as a service” model, allowing other developers to iterate on their existing technology.
“As soon as the Minecraft news was announced, we had multiple other metaverse/gamefi projects immediately reaching out to us wanting to use this tech we’ve already proven, strongly kickingstarting possible adoption of such a platform,” according to NFT Worlds’ note.
In an increasingly volatile cryptocurrency market, some non-crypto-native gaming companies have reduced their web3 investments. Ubisoft released Quartz, a blockchain-based game, last year, and it has performed poorly thus far. Furthermore, the disastrous $625 million Axie Infinity hack is still fresh in the mind.
Minecraft appears to be bearish on the space due to the hack-prone, speculative nature of some blockchain-based projects. Nonetheless, despite the company’s stance, some language in its letter appears to be ambiguous, not completely dismissing blockchain technology.
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“We will also be watching how blockchain technology evolves over time […] to see if it will enable more secure experiences or other practical and inclusive applications in gaming,” Mojang wrote. “However, we currently have no plans to incorporate blockchain technology into Minecraft.”