Posted 7 months ago | by Catoshi Nakamoto
Computer game developer and publisher Valve has banned all “applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs (non-fungible tokens)” on its game marketplace Steam. Meanwhile, Epic Games a competitor of the number one online game marketplace is embracing blockchain gaming and NFTs.
Steam Bans Blockchain and NFT-Based Games
Steam’s onboarding page for Steamworks users and partners now states that developers shouldn’t publish “applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs” on Steam.
Space Pirate, the Age of Rust developer studio, was one of the first to highlight the new clause within Steam’s developer’s term of service agreement.
“Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform,” SpacePirate Games, the developer of Age of Rust, said.
“While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future. It’s why I started this journey with all of you.”
They also noted that their game, Age of Rust had been removed from the platform, tweeting the following:
We chose to be upfront about blockchain gaming & NFTs. As a result, we finally lost the battle with Steam. While I'm disappointed for Age of Rust being removed, the point is more to the fact that Blockchain games as whole are going to be removed. This is setback for all.
— Age of Rust (@SpacePirate_io) October 14, 2021
That’s not entirely true though, as Steam allows its customers to exchange virtual goods for Steam Wallet funds through its community market, so SpacePirate’s belief that Steam doesn’t permit items with real-world value is wrong. This is entirely speculation but it might be more about who gets that value from trading i.e. not Valve. That is of course unless they decided to open up an NFT marketplace and then take fees to use it. As it stands, however, Valve would be unable to prevent customers from trading on any other marketplace due to the nature of decentralized NFTs. Unless Valve chose to use a private blockchain that it personally created for NFTs.
So it seems that Valve decided instead to ban NFTs and blockchain games for the time being.
EPIC Games Enters The Fray Seeing An Opportunity
Following the news that Steam is banning crypto and NFT-related games, Epic Games made a statement expressing that blockchain games can be found in their store. Epic Games remarked that there would be still certain restrictions that game developers would have to follow. However, Epic stated they wouldn’t ban crypto and nfts games outright. Adding that they were ready to work with developers to find innovate and find new solutions.
Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group. Though Epic's not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance. https://t.co/6W7hb8zJBw
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 15, 2021
Although Epic Games founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney said that the company would not use crypto in their games, he expressed that they “welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”
Sweeney doubled down on that statement telling The Verge that it would be “open to games that support cryptocurrency or blockchain-based assets.”
Ironically Epic’s boss had previously indicated that the Fortnite creator wouldn’t allow NFT games on its store, stating in a tweet published last month:
“We aren’t touching NFTs as the whole field is currently tangled up with an intractable mix of scams, interesting decentralised tech foundations, and scams.”
However, given Steam’s choice to ban blockchain and NFT-based games, the game studio may see this as an opportunity to host those types of games on its own marketplace platform.
Thus far only Age Of Rust has been reported as the only title removed from Valve’s store. It’s entirely unknown how many games already published on Steam will be affected by this change. While searching keywords for “NFT” and “crypto” the results turns up 14 and 64 different titles. Despite this though, Steam may have already removed numerous other titles like Age of Rust from its store.
Developers who wish to publish any blockchain-based games via Epic will be forced to wait: as the developer’s self-publishing feature is still only in its infancy stages in beta.
It’s worth mentioning that Steam previously had to remove a scam game from its store which was being used to fraudulently mine cryptocurrency with its customers’ computers.
Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT:$61,058.37] UP +0.2% in the last 24 hours according to Coingecko at the time of this report.