Thursday, January 27

Ubisoft’s plan to introduce NFTs in the most popular video games is called ‘Quartz’, and at the moment they are not afraid of controversy

It was about time. After a few months seeing how games (free or not) multiplied that jump on the NFTs bandwagon, at a time when these controversial assets are on the lips of the entire industry, and with games like ‘Axion Infinity’ promising income to their players through simple Pokémon-like mechanics, it is the moment in which the big video game companies have decided to take a step forward.

Both Ubisoft and Electronic Arts announced weeks ago that they were going to dive into the world of non-expendable goods., and today the French company announces its first step in that direction. The timing has been carefully chosen: Ubisoft’s entry into the world of NFTs comes after five years in which the company has been researching the potential forms that world can take. For this, it has had an incubator of companies dedicated to the subject, some of them as successful as Sorare, which started in this Ubisoft program and got 680 million dollars for a sports game with NFTs.

The project that Ubisoft has made public is called ‘Quartz’, and is a platform that will allow players to acquire NFTs for the first time in a Triple A game, specifically for ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint’, a game in which these NFTs, called Digits, will be released in beta mode. Players will be able to purchase through Ubisoft Connect for PC a number of assets of the game in limited editions and for purely cosmetic purposes. The Digits will be available from 7:00 p.m. on December 9 in countries around the world, including Spain. It will start with three free Digits drops on December 9, 12 and 15, with others to follow in 2022.

That is, these Digits would be a kind of evolution of skins and assets lifelong (from vehicles to weapons, through visual additions for avatars), only with the exclusive peculiarities of NFTs. Each of these objects has a unique serial number that not only allows other players to see it, but also maintains a history of the owners that has had that object, making the players, according to Ubi, “an integral part of the history of the game.”

We have attended a Quartz presentation with Nicolas Pouard (Vice President of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab), Didier Genevois (Blockchain Technical Director) and Baptiste Chardon (Blockchain Product Director), and they have told us about some of the possibilities that open up for the company with this step.

Risks and guarantees

Above all, it was reassuring that Ubisoft were aware of the controversial moment that NFTs are going through. On the one hand, there are doubts about the legitimacy and security of these investments: Ubisoft says that Each Digit is accompanied by a certificate of ownership stored in the blockchain. Thanks to this decentralized and independent technology from Ubisoft, players will be able to put items for sale outside of the Ubisoft ecosystem with guarantees that the NFT maintains its exclusivity.

Ubisoftquartz Twitter Tezos

The second aspect that Ubisoft stresses is energy efficiency. NFTs have earned a deserved reputation for being anti-ecological, and it’s practically the first thing they tell us: Digits take advantage of the possibilities offered by Tezos, a blockchain technology that works with a distribution protocol proof-of-stake which emits less energy than the protocol proof-of-work from other blockchain technologies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. “Tezos’s leadership in clean NFTs” enables transactions on its network to use “the same amount of power as online streaming of 30 seconds of video,” says Genevois.

The third point of controversy of the NFTs is asked by us: What measures will be taken to prevent minors from accessing these buying and selling possibilities? They tell us that to access the Digits you will have to have a minimum XP level of 5 in ‘Ghost Recon’, play it on PC and be at least 18 years old. In addition, to prevent speculation, each player may have a maximum of one Digit of each edition. From Ubisoft they tell us that both access to Ubisoft Connect and the purchase of Digits requires confirming the identity on numerous occasions to guarantee that the user is of legal age.

Isn’t some of the original playful spirit of video games lost by injecting these commercial transactions into them?

Our other question was more related to the ultimate spirit of videogames: Isn’t some of the original playful spirit of video games lost by injecting them with these commercial transactions? Ubisoft states that “as we see it, this is a proposal that we propose as an extra to video games, but it is not necessary for players to buy Digits to play.” They confirm to us in this way that these NFTs have a “purely cosmetic value: they do not provide any advantage to their users”. Therefore, for the moment, the pay-to-win or any of its variants is discarded.

Finally, we have asked Pouard where do you think the video game industry is heading in a few years, taking into account all these changes. He tells us that “the landscape is evolving rapidly: the decentralized organization gives rise to the emergence of new players in the sector and it is still too early to say how the players will reach out and adopt them.”

How much energy cost does it really cost to publish and trade an NFT: let's talk about Ethereum 2.0 and cotton t-shirts

“However,” he adds, “we believe that NFTs can bring the possibilities of our real world closer to digital, which means that the value generated in those worlds and by our communities has to be redefined and redistributed. This will transform the relationship between game creators and gamers, or even our relationship with games. overall. “Revolution or bubble? ‘Quartz’ may be a great way to start to find out.