Valve Corporation , the company behind one the biggest video game distribution platforms – Steam – has chosen to go the route of excessive caution when approaching the burgeoning field of crypto gaming. Valve took the decision to ban all crypto games from their platform. However, with the industry has grown so much already, one wonders how bad the fallout could be.
The decision from Valve – which was taken sometime in October – came as a surprise to many, especially when one considers the massive growth that’s been happening on the back of a sharp rise in the popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). These NFTs, coupled with an in-game cryptocurrency, play a central role in the economics of the vast majority of blockchain built games.
Valve’s decision to ban crypto games as a whole was brought to the public’s attention by SpacePirate, a game developer directly affected by the new rules. Using Twitter as a voice, the developer behind the blockchain game, Age of Rust, reiterated Valve’s new publishing guidelines which do not want blockchain built games that “that issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs’ ‘.
With Steam being one the biggest distribution points for the gaming industry, SpacePirate’s views the new rules as having the potential to create significant disruptions for crypto gaming.
“While I’m disappointed for Age of Rust being removed, the point is more to the fact that Blockchain games as a whole are going to be removed. This is a setback for all.” As SpacePirate explained on Twitter, “While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future. It’s why I started this journey with all of you.”
Though Valve themselves have avoided giving the public any kind of rationale regarding the changes, there have been a few speculative ideas that have done the rounds. One of those being that the company would like to avoid the possibility of getting pulled into some of the bad press that’s been associated with the NFT market, with the evolved apes debacle being thrown around as an example.
However, according to Space Pirate Games, Valve’s reasoning is as simple as “items [NFTs and in-game cryptocurrencies] have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform,”.
It’s not game over yet
Though the decision to ban crypto games on one of the most popular game distribution platforms made ripples, the blockchain built games and in-game cryptocurrencies is a concept that’s been gaining momentum for a few years now, and riding the wave of an all-round bull was an added bonus for this segment blockchain technology.
Beyond the general resilience and willingness to adapt that is seen in legitimate blockchain projects and the cryptocurrency market – which have been called scams a countless number of times, one should also consider the fact that Steam has competition, it has competition that is always looking to get an upper hand.
One of those competitors is Epic Games, also a bug name in the gaming industry, Epic believes that NFTs and crypto gaming pose no real threat to their business and are open to having them hosted on their distribution platform. However, the company had previously stated that they currently have no desire to incorporate crypto or NFTs in their own games.
What to take home
Steam’s ban on crypto and NFT infused games was never really going to cripple the new segment, however, it does point to a problem that has been with the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector since the heyday of ICOs – something needs to be done about the scams.
On one hand, decentralization has always been one of the most attractive attributes of blockchain and crypto, however, this leaves the sector quite exposed to the potential threats that look to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. This is not to say that the more centralized approach is flawless, scams have been around before cryptocurrency – in an endless game of cat and mouse with authorities.
Realistically, this is probably the fate of crypto gaming as well. The developers and the public will have to constantly adapt to threats that will consistently do the same and a failure to do so means losses. This is especially true for the public as they are the scammer’s main targets.