Crypto Enthusiasts Meet Their Match: Angry Gamers

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So far, 10,000 digital wallets — tools that allow people to store their crypto assets — have been connected to the Quartz platform, even though Ubisoft minted just 3,000 NFTs in its first batch, Mr. Pouard said. That suggested an appetite for more NFTs in the future, he said.

Ubisoft eventually plans to take a cut of sales of future NFTs, Mr. Pouard added. “We’re moving from a business model focused on just a game to a business model focused on an ecosystem in which every player can be a stakeholder,” he said.

Zynga, which is set to be acquired by Take-Two, hired Mr. Wolf, a games industry veteran, to lead a crypto effort in November. The goal was to create new games on the blockchain, making it easy for players to acquire, own and sell NFTs, Mr. Wolf said. He provided few details about how the effort would work, including whether the NFTs could be transferred between Zynga games.

“We’re still developing all that,” he said.

Other game companies have waded into NFTs, echoing how crypto can generate new wealth for users. This month, Yosuke Matsuda, Square Enix’s president, wrote in an open letter that creating blockchain games would allow players to make money. That would become “a major strategic theme” for the company, he said.

But as the number of NFT announcements from game studios piled up, players became increasingly annoyed. After users rebelled against Sega Sammy’s crypto plans, one of its executives said in a management meeting last month, “If it is perceived as simple moneymaking, I would like to make a decision not to proceed.” (The effort is continuing.)

Other game companies have come out against crypto. Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox, told Axios in November that some games centered on earning money through NFTs appeared “exploitative” and he would avoid putting them in the Xbox store. Microsoft declined to comment.

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