In a recent interview, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot spoke at length about the video game firm’s adoption of blockchain technology and “Web3 capabilities,” admitting that the company is “still in research mode.”
He said the French game studio is exploring many new technologies, including cloud computing and Web3, but is ultimately still “testing ground” to see if these new technologies “really answer the players’ needs.”
Guillemot also confessed that the company’s recent NFT offerings (to date, only Ghost Recon Breakpoint) are still in the early days: "We probably were not good at saying we are researching [...] We should have said we were working on it, and when we have something that gives you a real benefit, we'll bring it to you.”
According to the CEO, Ubisoft became an early adopter of new technologies, like VR and blockchain, because, from a tactical standpoint, there’s relatively little competition at present, and people are interested in trying new things.
"Exploring doesn't mean launching," says Guillemot. "This industry is evolving quickly, and it's very cautious about the impact it will have. Like so many things, at the beginning, it's not as good as it could be, but like other new technologies, they will find the right way."
Ubisoft, NFTs, and crypto gaming
Earlier this year, Ubisoft tapped Tezos to bring NFTs to its last Ghost Recon title. The news polarized gamers, with many tweeting the company to say they were uninstalling Ubisoft software, citing environmental concerns or fears that the company was encouraging pay-to-win business models.
The company’s NFT pivot fared little better on YouTube; the announcement video for its AAA gaming NFT platform, Ubisoft Quartz was taken down after it received over 95% dislikes.
In spite of the backlash, Guillemot is keen to stress that Ubisoft is using Tezos precisely because of its proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain, which is greener than the current technologies offered by market leaders Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The Ubisoft chief claimed that Tezos “has a lower energy consumption per transaction than sending emails: one standard email equals 4g Co² while a transaction on Tezos equals 2,5g Co²."
In March, the company invested in a blockchain-based collectible card game called Cross The Ages. Ubisoft has also acquired land in Pixowl’s Ethereum-based metaverse, The Sandbox.
The following month, Ubisoft announced it was ending NFT support for Ghost Recon Breakpoint, but confirmed the Quartz initiative would expand to future titles.