Minecraft will not allow the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the popular gaming platform, with the company describing them as contrary to Minecraft’s “creative inclusion and play-together values”.
NFTs confer ownership of a single digital item, typically an image or video, with ownership recorded on a decentralized digital ledger called a blockchain.
Digital files can generally be copied or deleted for free, but an NFT identifies the owner of the original file for the purpose of buying, selling, or exchanging ownership – usually for cryptocurrency.
The hype surrounding NFTs led to a sales boom peaking at US$12 billion (AUD$17.4 billion) worldwide in January. However, coinciding with the cryptocurrency slowdown, sales have recently begun to slump to a 12-month low of US$1 billion (A$1.45 billion) in June.
Minecraft, which allows users to create entire virtual worlds, is highly customizable. Over the 10+ years of the game’s existence, it has built a huge community of users who design skins, mods, and maps for the game.
Minecraft represented an attractive potential market for NFTs, with a user base – estimated at over 141 million as of August 2021 – already engaged in sharing unique digital items developed for the game.
But the Microsoft-owned development studio behind Minecraft, Mojang, has shut down speculation that NFTs might be allowed in the game. In a blog post on Wednesday, the developers said blockchain technology was not allowed, stating that it was against the values of Minecraft.
“Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which is inconsistent with Minecraft’s values of creative inclusion and playing together,” the company said. .
“NFTs do not include our entire community and create a haves and have-nots scenario. The speculative pricing and investing mentality around NFTs distracts from the game and encourages profiteering, which we believe is incompatible with the joy and long-term success of our players.
Mojang said Minecraft creations have intrinsic value and there have been instances where NFTs have been sold at artificially or fraudulently inflated prices.
The studio said it’s concerned that third-party NFTs are unreliable and could end up costing gamers dearly. He also said that he fears that an implementation of Minecraft based entirely on blockchain technology could also disappear without notice, which means that players would have lost their investments.
This is referred to in the crypto community as a “rug pull,” where the developers behind a crypto project shut down the project and take off with the money. This seems to have happened before with a third-party Minecraft project called Blockverse. PC Gamer announced in January that the project had disappeared after the investment of more than one million US dollars (1.45 million Australian dollars).
Mojang has left the door open to using “more secure” blockchain technology in Minecraft in the future, but said it has no plans to allow it at this time.
A group that worked on building NFTs into Minecraft said the move was a “step backwards in innovation” and that if they were banned they would have to switch to another gaming platform.
Another hugely popular and equally customizable game, Roblox, which allows you to purchase in-game items, has yet to announce a position on NFTs. However, the company’s chief commercial officer, Craig Donato, told VentureBeat in April that he doesn’t see why the game won’t allow NFTs and instead it’s a matter of when.
Other gaming companies like Square Enix and Ubisoft also play with NFTs. This week, Square Enix announced that for Final Fantasy VII’s 25th anniversary next year, people could get physical trading cards along with digital versions as NFTs.