Chroma Squad and Dungeonland designer and developer Mark Venturelli has struck out at NFTs, describing them as "a nightmare" and "not relevant" to the future of gaming. The talk in which Venturelli clarified his stance originally had a different topic, but Venturelli revealed his true target minutes into his presentation.
What did Mark Venturelli say about NFTs?
As pointed out by PC Gamer, Mark Venturelli gave a talk this past Friday at the Brazilian International Games Festival (BIG). Venturelli's talk was initially titled "The Future of Game Design", but a few minutes in, he switched tack and revealed that the true title of his presentation was "Why NFTs Are A Nightmare". Over the course of the talk, Venturelli then made his case against NFTs and Web3 tech in gaming, describing play-to-earn systems (in which studios like Square Enix have expressed a strong interest) as a "zero-sum or worse system with no benefit to society". He's not mincing his words, that's for sure.
Here's the kicker, though. This weekend, the BIG Festival was sponsored by several cryptocurrency organizations, including Argentinian firm Ripio and blockchain gaming company Lakea. As Venturelli told PC Gamer, the event's sponsors weren't exactly happy with his change of tack, saying that the sponsors "got really mad" and tried to remove him from the stage while he was talking. Rather boldly, Venturelli said that BIG Festival's sponsors needed to "buy their relevance" and that they were "not important" to the gaming space in Brazil. However, Venturelli says that the BIG Festival organizers never once tried to censor him or shut him up; he showed them the slides prior to the presentation, and they had no problem with the content of his talk. It's well worth reading Venturelli's full interview with PC Gamer, as he goes into a lot of depth regarding his feelings about NFTs and the blockchain when it comes to gaming. You can also look at Venturelli's presentation (which eventually came back to the subject of game design and to his upcoming game Relic Hunters Legend) right here.
NFTs and Web3 in gaming: why there's a backlash
Several major gaming companies have declared an interest in NFTs and Web3 concepts in gaming, including the aforementioned Square Enix as well as Korean giant Netmarble and Mega Man artist Keiji Inafune. However, there's also been a sizable backlash against NFTs in gaming from the larger community, with many opposing the concept of play-to-earn gaming as being detrimental to the idea of simply having fun when playing video games. Studios like Team17 and Stalker 2 developer GSC Game World have backtracked on plans to introduce NFTs after a strong negative response from their respective communities, although that hasn't stopped the bigger companies from chasing the almighty crypto dollar.
Venturelli's talk comes at a time when Brazil is one of the world's most vocal proponents of cryptocurrency; the country introduced a bill last month that seeks to recognize cryptocurrency as a valid means of payment. For his part, Venturelli thinks that Web3 (a catch-all term encapsulating concepts like cryptocurrency and NFTs, as well as the blockchain as a whole) doesn't "have long legs"; it'll likely enjoy short-term success, but "fall on the long term for sure". We'll have to wait and see whether he's right about that.