The Team17 NFTs are no more. The British video game publisher and developer has shut down the project following backlash from its own developers and others.
Yesterday, Team17 announced the MetaWorms NFT project. This would have created a series of "environmentally-friendly" NFTs based on the Worms franchise. However, a poor response to this announcement has caused the company to reverse course and cancel the project.
Team17 is today announcing an end to the MetaWorms NFT project.— Team17 (@Team17) February 1, 2022
We have listened to our Teamsters, development partners, and our games’ communities, and the concerns they’ve expressed, and have therefore taken the decision to step back from the NFT space.
Why the Worms-branded Team17 NFTs Are No More
The Worms-branded Team17 NFTs will not be coming out due to criticism received from its development partners and the wider gaming community as highlighted in a tweet from the company.
"Team17 is today announcing an end to the MetaWorms NFT project," read a tweet from Team17. "We have listened to our Teamsters, development partners, and our games’ communities, and the concerns they’ve expressed, and have therefore taken the decision to step back from the NFT space."
The first shot of public criticism came from Going Under and Subway Midnight developer Aggro Crab who tweeted that it would be severing its relationship with the company in a statement featuring its characteristically rogueish tone.
sigh pic.twitter.com/I4PIQB6o1H— AGGRO CRAB (@AggroCrabGames) January 31, 2022
Among environmental concerns, the statement categorized NFTs as "an overall f**cking grift," -- a statement that is not entirely without merit given the fact that one of Twitch's co-founders was the victim of an NFT scam late last year. More recently, the Blockverse MC NFT project suddenly closed down and is alleged to be a "rugpull" -- that is, a situation where the project runners proverbially take the money and run.
While Aggro Crab was the first to publicly criticize the Team17 NFTs, it was far from the only company. Several other developers under Team17's umbrella publicly posted statements criticizing the practice. These included tweets from the following developers:
- Greak: Memories of Azur developer Navegante Games
- Before We Leave developer Balancing Monkey Games
- Overcooked developer Ghost Town Games
- Yooka-Laylee developed Playtonic Games
Aside from these public comments, I reached out to dozens of developers who had games published by Team17. Those that responded had mixed opinions on the Team17 NFTs, to say the least.
"At first glance, I can let you know that learning this doesn't affect my opinion on Team17 or my will to work with them again in the future," read a response from Automachef developer Hermes Interactive's Federico Casares. "They saw an opportunity and decided to try things out, so I cannot really blame them for that."
"I still haven't made up my mind regarding NFTs and what kind of purpose they serve or the utility they provide humankind (if any). I see they could be a useful mechanism for some specific use cases thanks to their cryptographic characteristics, but I also believe there is an unreasonable amount of 'hype' around them. In a way, it's a [21st-century] gold rush, with all the development, hope[,] and opportunity such a thing can bring... But very much like the gold rush towards the 'wild west[,'] it also brings uncertainty and a certain overall lawlessness that's starting to manifest itself. It will eventually settle in its rightful place if it finds one, I suppose. For now, it's something I am not interested in being a part of, so I cannot see myself including NFT or blockchain tech in my future projects."
The reply we received from one of the developers of Moving Out -- which he categorized as a "spontaneous response" -- was somewhat briefer. Jan Rigerl of DevM games quickly got to the point in comparatively few words:
"I really wish they hadn’t done this, and I still hope they will realize this is a bad idea and cancel it," he said in an e-mail to TechRaptor.
"10 years ago I found Bitcoin really interesting, but as it grew the environmental impact of it is just not acceptable."
Finally, we loop back around to Aggro Crab, the first developer to publicly criticize the Team17 NFTs. With Team17's announcement of the cancellation, Aggro Crab's simply responded "thank you."
Although several gaming companies have leaned into NFTs, some have decided to cancel planned projects due to backlash from employees, its fans, and social media at large; most notably, Stalker 2's developers announced an NFT project and calced it less than two days later.
What do you think of the situation surrounding the Team17 NFTs? Was Team17 right to cancel the project? Let us know in the comments below!