Valve has already taken a stance on NFTs and cryptocurrency being allowed on Steam, blocking games that feature blockchain technology. President and co-founder Gabe Newell has now explained the reasoning behind the decision, saying that the biggest issues were the volatility of cryptocurrency and the bad actors behind NFTs.
In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Newell noted that it’s important to separate NFT technology from nefarious users. The concepts of digital ownership and shared universes are fine by themselves, he said, but he thinks that the bad actors in the NFT community outweigh any of the potential positives.
“The people in the space, though, tend to be involved in a lot of criminal activity and a lot of sketchy behaviors,” he said. “So it’s much more about the actors than it is about the underlying technology.”
He further explains that these people aren’t the kind Valve wants to do business with. To him, the space is filled with people who use NFTs as an opportunity to rip customers off or engage in money laundering.
Additionally, when Steam was accepting cryptocurrency as payment for games, the huge volatility that came with it was problematic for users. When it comes to purchasing everyday items, customers don’t want the price to fluctuate so much. “Like, why did I spend $497 one day to buy a game, and the next day I spent 47 cents, what’s going on here? Volatility is a bad thing in a medium of exchange,” he explained.
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He also said that a vast majority of crypto transactions on Steam were fraudulent. While fraud isn’t something that can be completely eliminated, ideally, fraud cases should only contribute a couple of percent of overall transactions. However, to have fraud constitute half of all crypto transactions, he said, “that’s just out of control, right?”
As for the concept of digital ownership and the metaverse, Newell brought up Final Fantasy 14 in a separate interview with PCGamer. “Most of the people who are talking about metaverse have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. And they’ve apparently never played an MMO,” he explained. “They’re like, ‘Oh, you’ll have this customizable avatar.’ And it’s like, well… go into La Noscea in Final Fantasy 14 and tell me that this isn’t a solved problem from a decade ago, not some fabulous thing that you’re, you know, inventing.”
Thankfully, Final Fantasy 14 won’t be having NFTs either.
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey