In collaboration with IGDA’s Climate Special Interest Group, we have prepared a framework to help game studios and publishers assess NFTs. This framework is intended to assist anyone at a game company who is investigating whether NFTs make sense for their game.
When exploring the possibility of adding NFTs to a game or IP, consider the following questions:
What value does this bring to players?
- Study existing community sentiment and learn how NFTs in other games have been received by their communities.
- Assess the community – how do they feel about NFTs? If you believe NFTs will be a value add for players, ask them if they agree. It is not safe to assume that just because something makes sense in theory that players will agree – NFTs are an especially contentious topic.
- Does requiring players to create / have a crypto wallet bring value to them as players, not just as consumers?
Are NFTs the right technology to accomplish what you want to do?
- What other technologies can accomplish the intended goals?
- How might NFT / crypto integration affect the player experience, especially for multiplayer games and younger players?
- How does cryptocurrency fluctuation and vulnerabilities affect the project?
- Are you ready to accept additional dependency on third parties in volatile markets?
- Do you have the infrastructure in place to handle an increase in demand for support of accounts with attached value?
How do members of your studio feel about NFTs?
- Have the individuals who work directly on games been asked about their viewpoint?
- Is the studio being transparent with their staff about NFT research and development?
- Are valid concerns from staff being taken seriously?
How do NFTs / Cryptocurrency align with your company values?
- From a climate perspective, any emissions from transactions of your NFTs should be counted as Scope 3 emissions for your studio. How does this affect your company’s climate targets?
- Have you studied the effects of Play-to-Earn on a game’s community? Have you considered the various risks associated with Play-to-Earn?
- Would integrating these technologies affect any accessibility standards your studio has?
What is the real value for your game(s) and players in the long-term?
- What value do NFTs bring to dedicated players of your game?
- Have your players expressed interest in NFTs?
- Due to their speculative nature, what real value would a potentially devalued NFT bring to dedicated players of your game(s)?
- Do you have a plan for if you decide to transition away from NFTs?
- How would that feel for players who already invested?
- As government regulations become defined, it may change the way NFTs are allowed to operate in games in different countries, similar to what happened with microtransactions. In an unfavorable scenario, how does it affect a game with built-in NFTs?
What is the long-term impact on your studio and the industry?
- What impact will integration and potential dependency on speculative cryptocurrencies have on long-term stability?
- Will adoption of NFTs shift the creative motivations of studio members?
- Does building a reliance on NFTs risk alienating and eventually pushing away members of your studio who oppose NFTs?
- If members who oppose NFTs eventually leave, how will this affect company culture?
If your studio wishes to integrate NFT portability between games, what are the associated costs?
- Technologically, what are the current and projected costs to implement and maintain this across your game portfolio? What about in partnership with other NFT games?
- Holistically, are there strong signals in the market that other games will adopt this tech, and the work your studio puts in, to enable true portability?
- Is your current player base asking for NFT portability between games?
- What are the legal ramifications of including your IP’s assets in another IP?
We recommend the following steps to guide you in your decision-making process:
Learn from others
- What can be learned from other studios that have integrated NFTs already?
- Several studios have integrated NFTs into their existing games, and many have built new games around NFTs. How have their players received NFTs?
- You can use our Where does the Industry Stand? page as a starting point.
- What risks have been uncovered from existing Play-to-Earn games?
- You can use the Play-to-Earn section of our NFT x Games page as a jumping off point.
- Many studios have spoken out in favor of and opposing the use of NFTs, in games and in general. What can be learned from their statements and the responses from their communities and staff?
Weigh the risks
- We prepared an entire section on the risks of NFTs. You can use this as a starting point to create a risk assessment of NFTs for your studio.
Learn from the past
- NFTs have been around since 2016, with game applications since 2017. What can be learned from the history of this technology and its use in games for the past years?
- NFTs are an extension of cryptocurrency, which has been around since 2008. Research important events in cryptocurrency history. Study the underlying technology.
- What can be learned from the technology that originated NFTs?
- Are there any risks to be learned?
Focus your efforts
- Are NFTs the best area to focus research and development efforts in the next few years?
- What other areas are being neglected or being put in the backseat as the focus shifts to NFTs?
- Are there any important initiatives that could bring more value to games and to the industry that would be a better application of resources and effort in the upcoming years?