Last week a blockchain game developer, Space Pirate, revealed on Twitter that the Steam gaming platform operated by Valve had banned games that use blockchain, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Space Pirate asserted that Steam doesn’t allow items that have real-world value on its platform.
However, one could speculate about several other reasons for the ban. These include that blockchain games could sidestep Steam for payments. The NFT sector has suffered from a few scams. And some NFTs are considered not environmentally friendly.
Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Fortnite creator Epic Games, responded to the news with a tweet:
“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.”
If there’s one games company with an issue about others taking a cut of its revenues, it’s Epic Games. Hence if it were to restrict how other game publishers accept payments, it would raise a few eyebrows.
Last year Epic added a direct payment link to its IOS game which circumvented Apple’s payment mechanism and 30% cut. Because it contravened Apple’s terms, the game was kicked off the platform. And Epic sued Apple, arguably unsuccessfully – the judge found for Apple on nine out ten counts. However, since then, Apple has made a number of payment concessions, although not for gaming.
So Epic’s response should be seen in the context of its fight with Apple, which continues to dominate Sweeney’s Twitter feed.
As he stated, Epic has no plans to use blockchain in its own games. And in a previous Tweet, he revealed that he is no fan of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
If there’s one incumbent games company that NFTs could heavily impact, it’s Electronic Arts. It makes a significant proportion of its revenues from enabling players to collect sports stars for in-game play. It recently started recruiting blockchain staff.
Meanwhile, blockchain game Axie Infinity recently raised $152 million in funding led by A16z. Its blockchain token has a market capitalization of $7.4 billion.