Since NFTs first entered the public spotlight in early 2021, one group has rallied against letting this technology into their lives: gamers.
Despite their growing valuations and popularity, blockchain games are still struggling to compete with their mainstream gaming counterparts. For example, Decentraland and The Sandbox are two games that’ve tried popularizing the concept of buying, building on, and exploring virtual real estate — kinda like the Sims but with NFTs. Both are among the world’s best-known NFT-based games, and both have struggled to hit even 1,000 active monthly users as of writing.
Compare that with DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which live at the top of Steam’s leaderboards with half a million and 800K active monthly players, respectively. It’s clear that NFT games have a long road ahead before they enter the average gamer’s lexicon.
And one of the world’s most popular games just made the divide between NFT and non-NFT games even larger. Minecraft leadership recently clarified their position on blockchain and NFT compatibility in a blog post. And sadly, it seems that “integrations of NFTs with Minecraft are generally not something [Minecraft] will support or allow.”
The gold standard of virtual worlds
Minecraft is one of, if not the most popular game in the world. The voxel-based survival game has fans across practically every demographic, with most of its appeal stemming from how it gives all players a solid set of tools with which they can unleash their creativity upon their digital worlds.
It makes sense then that, given Minecraft’s dual function as both a game and creative tool, some members of the NFT community have sought ways to immortalize their in-game creations and assets onto the blockchain — as NFTs. Unfortunately for that subset of Minecraft’s player base, that possibility has all been snuffed out of existence.
Building a hole
In Minecraft’s lengthy post, the firm’s developer, Mojang Games, finally put their foot down on NFTs. With Minecraft making its stance on NFTs clear as day, gaming and NFT communities alike have had a field day on social media reacting to this huge piece of news.
Given gamers’ disdain for NFTs, some have taken to social media to celebrate this news. However, some were also quick to point out that this news would pose a significant hurdle for NFT projects reliant on Minecraft to function — namely NFT Worlds — if not signal their imminent demise.
Although this may be terrible news for anyone who invested in such NFT projects, it could also encourage further innovation in the NFT gaming space. Taken at face value, the above reply to NFT Worlds’ announcement might seem like a snide remark at first. But there’s a nugget of truth lying underneath. We’re still quite a ways away from the truly decentralized Web3 internet that blockchain technology has rallied for.
Although Minecraft’s ban on NFTs might please the NFT-haters in the gaming community, Minecraft’s decision has left fans of both NFTs and the game itself — particularly creators — in the lurch. Here’s hoping we’ll see Web3’s promise of decentralization realized more fully sooner, rather than later. Until then, scores of creators and investors will remain vulnerable to having the metaphorical rug pulled from under them, and it won’t be a cute voxel game doing the pulling.