NFTs, otherwise known as An Enormous Fucking Scam, are taking root everywhere that someone smells a fast buck and someone else is dumb enough to join them. Which in 2021 is, sadly, a lot of places! So it’s a slight relief, even if it’s only temporary, to see Xbox boss Phil Spencer speak publicly on how wary he is of them.
In an interview with Axios, Spencer says “What I’d say today on NFT, all up, is I think there’s a lot of speculation and experimentation that’s happening, and that some of the creative that I see today feels more exploitive than about entertainment”, which is 100% correct.
NFTs are about driving a wedge between morons and money, and nothing else. Everything they claim to do for art can already done by paying artists to make you actual art. Everything they claim to do for video games can already be done by video games, and grossly misunderstands how games are made and supported.
Yet exactly because they are primarily about making money out of nothing, a disheartening array of major video game publishers have jumped onboard. From Sega to EA, Ubisoft to Capcom to Epic, more and more companies are exploring or simply straight-up releasing NFTs in a rush to make a buck or two from the craze, objections from fans and industry peers be damned.
Indeed one of the only companies to publicly come out in opposition to NFTs is Valve, who have blocked the sale of any games making use of the technology on Steam (with some very funny results). So the head of Xbox, and by extension the boss of the industry-upending Xbox Game Pass saying this in November 2021 is certainly encouraging.
Of course he doesn’t come right out and denounce the whole thing, leaving the door open for some mythical future where they don’t suck. “I don’t think it necessitates that every NFT game is exploitive”, he says, “I just think we’re kind of in that journey of people figuring it out”.
But as it stands, with the type of games and experiences NFT hucksters are trying to sell in this moment, that’s not the kind of thing Spencer thinks should be available on Xbox. “I can understand that early on you see a lot of things that probably are not things you want to have in your store”, he says. “I think anything that we looked at in our storefront that we said is exploitive would be something that we would, you know, take action on. We don’t want that kind of content.”