Crypto exchange FTX's U.S. affiliate has announced the launch of a gaming unit called FTX Gaming.
“We are launching FTX Gaming because we see games as an exciting use case for crypto. There are two billion plus gamers in the world who have played with and collected digital items, and can now also own them,” an FTX spokesperson told Bloomberg.
FTX Gaming will launch gaming tokens, offer NFT support, and is already set to hire software engineers as early as this month.
Just three months ago, FTX announced it would be co-investing—alongside Lightspeed Venture Partners and Solana Ventures—$100 million into crypto gaming projects.
Amy Wu, previously a partner at Lightspeed, also recently joined the crypto exchange to lead FTX’s new $2 billion Web3 venture fund. At that time, Wu hinted at a white-label solution for games' publishers to integrate various crypto components.
“We can provide all of that white-labeled for the largest gaming companies in the world, and new indie studios that are looking for a turnkey solution,” she said. “We're super excited to be a major player in providing and being a technology vendor for the gaming industry.” The launch of FTX Gaming and its "crypto-as-a-service" platform appears to be precisely what Wu was referring to.
This news comes at a time when big players in the world of gaming continue to hunt down the best way to enter the crypto space.
NFTs, crypto, and gaming
Major gaming publishers around the world have already jumped on the NFT bandwagon.
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson recently suggested that NFTs “will be an important part of the future of our industry.”
In turn, Square Enix recently announced plans to incorporate crypto and gaming, and CEO Yosuke Matsuda said blockchain games should become an area the Final Fantasy publisher should focus its investments on in the future.
Still, Ubisoft—another triple-A game publisher—received immense criticism from its fan base when it announced it would be incorporating NFTs into its Ghost Recon Breakpoint title. The company stuck to its guns, however, calling NFTs a “major change” that will take time.
And despite the crypto scene being immensely excited about NFTs, many gamers disagree, viewing the technology as nothing more than an opportunity for publishers to make money.
“There are few fan bases more passionate than a gamer is about their game. They’re super protective of sticking to the integrity of the content, that the studio is doing the right thing, that their voice is being respected,” Wu said recently on Decrypt’s gm podcast.
“Game studios should be a lot more thoughtful and careful about how to communicate with their player base, especially if you’re taking a beloved game and adding blockchain components to it,” she added.