Update 3:23 pm PT: A little under an hour after posting and deleting a tweet justifying the decision to incorporate NFT technology into the upcoming STALKER 2, GSC Game World has published a follow-up statement announcing it is backing away from the use of NFTs.
"We hear you," GSC Game World writes in a new statement. "Based on the feedback we received, we've made a decision to cancel anything NFT-related in STALKER 2," the developer writes.
GSC Game World had come under intense scrutiny for announcing the use of NFT technology in its upcoming shooter. Critics say NFT in games offers nothing tangible to players while feeding a highly speculative market. There are also environmental concerns related to NFT's energy consumption.
Check out the full statement from CSC Game World below.
— S.T.A.L.K.E.R. OFFICIAL (@stalker_thegame) December 16, 2021
Original story: STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl developer GSC Game World has responded to criticism for its decision to include NFTs in its upcoming first-person shooter game.
In a now-deleted tweet from the official STALKER game account, GSC elaborated on its decision to include NFTs, and asked fans to "hear us and understand our reasons." It's unclear why GSC deleted the tweet shortly after it was posted Thursday afternoon U.S. time, but the broad community sentiment appears to be negative, or unenthused at best.
Here's a screencap of the now-deleted statement.
All funds that GSC earns from sales of NFTs will go towards game development costs, GSC said.
"Why did we choose NFT?" the statement reads. "It's a new technology and we are eager to do NFT right, give certain fans an opportunity to get into the game without interfering with other players' experience. That's why the tokens are entirely optional and have no impact on gameplay or story (no weapons, quests, locations, etc) and can be activated only before the game release [date]."
GSC has stated it's making a number of NFTs for STALKER 2, but one particular draw is a token that will let the owner become an in-game NPC, provided they can get to GSC's studio in Ukraine after successfully bidding on the NFT. An auction will take place in January 2022, with the winning bidder receiving the prize of becoming what GSC refers to as a "metahuman" in STALKER 2. The winning bidder will also be able to sell their prize token to anyone else should they choose.
Other NFTs GSC plans to include: Nicknames/names of players on in-game items or architecture, gloves, tattoos, skins and badges for multiplayer mode, and collectible cards. GSC is partnering with the NFT marketplace "DMarket" to facilitate auctions and the collectible cards.
GSC added that their decision to partner with DMarket was influenced by a desire to keep blockchain CO2 emissions and other harmful effects minimized.
So in short: GSC still appears to be implementing NFTs into STALKER 2 when it launches in April 2022.
NFTs have quickly become a divisive and frequently derided topic in the video game and tech world. Major studios and businesses like Ubisoft and Fable creator Peter Molyneux are implementing NFTs into their respective games, including simple cosmetics and more elaborate purchases.
"Hey bro – you don’t need NFT’s or blockchain to pre-sell unique customized stuff in your game," Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford tweeted. "I’m not into that sort of thing because it’s, like, kind of a shittier version of ad placement. But it’s been done for years and you don’t need NFT’s to do it. Anyway – Love your work!"
Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has had unkind words for blockchain and NFT implementation, calling it "more exploitative than about entertainment."
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN.