Last week it was discovered that would not host games using NFTs or based on other blockchain technologies on Steam. Their reasoning behind this is simple and seems to stem from the CSGO item sale scandal from a few years back, any items that have a real-world value aren’t allowed on the platform. Another reason not to support NFTs and blockchain is the recent controversy surrounding the energy consumption when it comes to crypto mining.
The change to Steam’s “What You Shouldn’t Publish in Steam” list was made in August but was
noticed by developer SpacePirate who is developing an NFT based game.
Not to be outdone though, Epic Games, embroiled in a battle with Valve for market and mindshare
in the PC marketplace has announced that while they won’t be using blockchain in any of their
games, they will host games that use the technology on the Epic Games Store. Following their
developer-friendly approach, Epic has said that while they won’t be using the technology in their
games they will work with early developers in the field. They did, however, caveat their support by
saying that there would be some limitations.
These games and their blockchain implementation must comply with all relevant financial rules and regulations, must make it clear how the technology is used in the game and be appropriately age rated by relevant authorities. Who these authorities are isn’t made clear, but likely is a reference to ESRB ratings.
In addition to the above limitations, Epic will not accept any crypto payments through their
payment service, instead, the developers would have to use their own service. This could prove a
significant hurdle given the lack of oversight and accreditation of the various exchanges and other
widely used services as it would be unlikely that Epic would approve a game that would use just any exchange.
Epic is in closed beta testing of a self-publishing program so you can’t just put your game up on EGS, but that feature is coming. Cynics may point out that Epic is creating a space to attract developers in their battle with Valve, and that is certainly part of the consideration. However, Epic has also shown that they are willing to assist developers to get their games to fans with their cuts to the share of revenue they take for hosting these games on their platform and with the lowering of licensing fees to use Unreal Engine. Epic is also happy to host other stores such as the itch.io store ensuring that smaller games gain a wider audience.
While blockchain games are still in their infancy and have yet to be proven to be anything other than a new buzzword added to a standard game design, this move opens up more options for developers to create new mechanics as well as new ways to monetise their work.