The President of Blizzard Entertainment Mike Ybarra was quick to shoot down suggestions that the World of Warcraft and Diablo publishing studio is looking to capitalize on the nascent NFT industry anytime soon.
“No one is doing NFTs,” he tweeted over the weekend, replying to video game journalist Andy Robinson who said that “Blizzard is polling interest in NFTs and ‘play to earn’ games.”
No one is doing NFTs.
— Mike Ybarra (@Qwik) April 17, 2022
The poll Robinson mentions was designed by British market research company YouGov, and it asked Blizzard fans what they think of several emerging technologies, including virtual reality, video game subscription services, cross-platform play, and the metaverse.
While Ybarra’s comments appear to close the door on NFTs in Blizzard games, the broader picture still leaves some wiggle room for a different interpretation.
Blizzard Entertainment’s parent company Activision Blizzard is currently in the process of getting acquired by Microsoft in a $68.7 billion deal expected to be finalized next year.
The purpose of the acquisition? To “provide building blocks for the metaverse,” according to Microsoft’s announcement.
Gaming and NFTs
Gamers are deeply ambivalent about NFTs since in-game monetization often evokes unfair pay-to-win systems and annoying micro-transactions.
The environmental impact of crypto will also be a high concern among gamers until perhaps when Ethereum—the network that hosts the most NFTs—upgrades to a more eco-friendly proof-of-stake (PoS) system later this year.
Still, some gaming studios are testing the waters.
Ubisoft tapped the Tezos blockchain to bring NFTs to its last Ghost Recon title. Last month, the French 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, and so has Final Fantasy creator Square Enix.
Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two is cautiously optimistic about the promise of NFTs in video games.