Ethereum cofounder still believes NFT games can succeed

Ethereum cofounder and crypto developer Vitalik Buterin believes NFT games can succeed if developers put fun first and monetization second.

When it comes to NFTs in video games, the subject is still very much taboo, but Ethereum cofounder and crypto developer Vitalik Buterin still holds out faith that it can work. The conversation has led many companies to either shy away or dig in their heels on implementing NFTs in video games while the audience largely rejects the idea. According to Buterin, the issue is that NFT game developers simply haven’t prioritized fun over financialization and ownership yet.

Vitalik Buterin shared this take in a recent interview with Wired in which he discussed the launch of The Merge upgrade to Ethereum and cryptocurrency transactions. It’s been toted as a big move for Ethereum and cryptocurrency as a whole, but when asked about the state of NFTs and their implementation, Buterin has some thoughts on why it has failed and what it can do better.

Ubisoft's Quartz NFT program.
Vitalik Buterin believes current NFT game developers are too focused on the monetization and not enough on the fun factor.
Source: Ubisoft

According to Buterin, the issue with many NFTs is that they have no value beyond ownership. They don’t do anything. The only thing most NFT art holders can do with them is claim that they own them. For games, Buterin believes the issue has manifested in monetization over fun. He believes that current developers believed the idea of ownership was enough to make an NFT popular and that’s clearly not working.

“Games like Axie Infinity were really successful last year, but then Axie Infinity got hacked,” Buterin said. “Even aside from that, it hasn't really been able to recover. The reason for that in my view is that the people who designed these first-generation NFT games approached it with the attitude that the financialization aspect by itself was enough to make the game fun. But that’s clearly not enough, and a successful NFT or play-to-earn game itself needs to be fun even without the monetization aspect. Whoever figures out how to make a blockchain game that is a fun game first, those are the kinds of projects that are going to win.”

Indeed, groups like Ubisoft have put ownership of in-game assets front and center over any other value in gaming NFTs so far. It will be interesting to see if any game captures the magic that Buterin feels is possible. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the crypto and NFT space for further updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 26, 2022 11:20 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Ethereum cofounder still believes NFT games can succeed

    • reply
      September 26, 2022 11:41 AM

      Too bad they add nothing of value to games.

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        September 26, 2022 12:28 PM

        yup. without question, they don't give a fuck. it's about integration of their scam engine. underlying functionality to the users/gamers is not their concern at all.

        they are desperate to intertwine their scam engine with actual products and services to try and say "SEE, WE'RE INVOLVED WITH GAMES WE'RE TRUSTWORTHY now give us your real money "

        every business from top to bottom should reject crypto involvement of any kind. like you said, it adds nothing, and actually inserts risk and negative aspects of phishing and account theft and everything else associated with crypto.

        none of this crypto shit was thought through at all. it should stay in its own bubble until the world at large sees any use for it, not them continually probing to integrate and fuck everything up. especially our precious games!

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      September 26, 2022 11:56 AM

      I was listening to Marc Andreessen on JRE podcast and he made a point that even the internet was made fun of when it started, nerds doing weird stuff that's never gonna take off, and IBM's president saying "I think there is a world market for about five computers"

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      September 26, 2022 12:08 PM

      Yes, because people love adding unneeded complexity to owning their games and items.

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      September 26, 2022 12:10 PM

      Still not clear on exactly what an NFT game would be or look like. How is it different from any game with microtransactions?

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        September 26, 2022 12:22 PM

        Just think of how microtransactions and loot boxes ruined gaming, except you own them and have to link a wallet to own them and if you get hacked you lose all your shit like a real wallet. Fun!!

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          September 26, 2022 12:23 PM

          The same exact thing can happen to you with current microtransactions. Game gets hacked, someone deletes your stuff.

          Not even the getting scammed part is novel with NFTs.

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            September 26, 2022 12:25 PM

            The getting scammed part is more likely to be permanent and irrevocable with NFTs?

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              September 26, 2022 12:27 PM

              Correct, the same with any crypto scam.

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            September 26, 2022 12:34 PM

            That is entirely true, but lets say NFT games are a big thing and you have hundreds of games tied to your wallet. 10K+ of items you have accumulated. Poof, you're hacked and thats the end of that. No rollbacks by the publisher, sorry not possible.

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              September 26, 2022 12:38 PM

              It's more like it'd be tied to your username, right? Just like it is now? The wallet would just be used to purchase it, if I understand this correctly. What you'd really be purchasing there is the ability for the game server to acknowledge that you bought a product. Maybe I'm missing something but once you buy something with your crypto, how is your wallet and all that still involved? Wouldn't it be on the game/publisher to handle the licensing at that point? Or is that the whole "magic" part of this system that is supposed to make blockhain a useful technology?

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                September 26, 2022 12:43 PM

                No, but dont worry, that's more thought than most NFT investors put into it.

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      September 26, 2022 12:16 PM

      These are the same group that thinks people will play games as NPCs for Crypto.

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      September 26, 2022 12:22 PM

      of course they do. they have to reboot the pyramid scheme / scam. they have to BELIEVE lots of things to start the "investment" talk up again

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      September 26, 2022 12:22 PM

      I mean rubes still exist.

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      September 26, 2022 12:33 PM

      just a little airborne, its still good, it's still good

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