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Ethereum co-founder still believes NFT games can be successful

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Ethereum co-founder and crypto developer Vitalik Buterin believes NFT games can succeed if developers put fun first and monetization second.

When it comes to NFTs in video games, the subject is still very taboo, but Ethereum co-founder and crypto developer Vitalik Buterin still believes it can work. The conversation has led many companies to be hesitant or stubborn about implementing NFTs in video games, while the public largely rejects the idea. The problem, according to Buterin, is that NFT game developers simply haven’t yet prioritized fun over financialization and ownership.

Vitalik Buterin shared this take in a recent interview with Wired in which he discussed the launch of The Merge upgrade to Ethereum and cryptocurrency transactions. This was touted as a big step forward for Ethereum and cryptocurrency as a whole, but when asked about the state of NFTs and their implementation, Buterin has some thoughts on why it failed. and what he can do better.

Ubisoft's Quartz NFT program.
Vitalik Buterin thinks today’s NFT game developers are too focused on monetization and not enough on the fun factor.
Source: Ubisoft

According to Buterin, the problem with many NFTs is that they have no value beyond ownership. They do nothing. The only thing most NFT art holders can do with them is pretend they own them. For games, Buterin thinks the problem has manifested in monetization rather than enjoyment. He thinks current developers thought the idea of ​​ownership was enough to make an NFT popular and it clearly isn’t working.

“Games like Axie Infinity were very successful last year, but then Axie Infinity got hacked,” Buterin said. “Even other than that, he couldn’t really recover. In my opinion, the reason for this is that the people who designed these first-gen NFT games approached it with the idea that the financialization aspect was enough on its own to make the game fun. But that’s clearly not enough, and a successful NFT or play-to-earn game must itself be fun, even without the monetization aspect. Whoever figures out how to make a blockchain game that is a fun game first, these are the types of projects that will win.

Indeed, groups like Ubisoft have so far put ownership of in-game assets at the center of all other value in gaming NFTs. It will be interesting to see if a game captures the magic that Buterin says is possible. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the crypto and NFT space for further updates.

News editor-in-chief

TJ Denzer is a gamer and writer with a lifelong passion for games. He found his way to Shacknews’ roster in late 2019 and has been working his way to senior news editor ever since. In between news coverage, he also helps out with livestreaming projects like Indie-licious focused on indie gaming, Shacknews Stimulus Games and Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.