Ubisoft Executive Says Users ‘Don’t Get It’ In Extraordinary NFT Interview

Ubisoft Executive Says Users ‘Don’t Get It’ In Extraordinary NFT Interview
Image: The Simpsons

Ubisoft’s official foray into the world of Non-Fungible Tokens has not had the best start; the announcement was trashed by fans, and the company’s “garbage” NFTs were largely ignored upon release. In a new interview with Australian site Finder, though, Ubisoft say the blame for this lies with us, not them.

It’s an extraordinary interview to behold, from top to bottom. It begins, for example, with:

On 7 December 2021, Ubisoft become the first big name game developer to publicly enter the NFT space. The launch of the Ubisoft Digits, an NFT, and the Quartz platform did not go down well. Gamer feedback was negative to the point of being aggressive. As gamers are want to do. The big names in game press were also tepid in their analysis. One way or the other, this was a landmark moment in gaming, but the media clearly didn’t want to gain the ire of their readers.

OK. And by the time we’re onto “In fact, I was excited by the launch of Quartz and Digits” you can probably see where this is going. The whole thing is a softball chance for Nicolas Pouard, VP at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab and Didier Genevois, Ubisoft’s Blockchain Technical Director to clear the air and make a sales pitch for the much-derided Quartz campaign.

Instead of appealing to users, though, Pouard decides to tell us we’re all wrong, and that actually, this stuff is great:

I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them. For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it’s first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items once they’re finished with them or they’re finished playing the game itself.

So, it’s really, for them. It’s really beneficial. But they don’t get it for now.

Also, this is part of a paradigm shift in gaming. Moving from one economic system to another is not easy to handle. There is a lot of habits you need to go against and a lot of your ingrained mindset you have to shift. It takes time. We know that.

We absolutely get it, Nicolas, and we want nothing to do with it. It’s telling that this is a sales pitch coming from someone in the crypto space, since it has the same dangerous and soulless hallmarks, of condescending hucksters who want to turn everything into a market, to transform even your leisure time into something that can and by divine right should be commoditised.

Of course he wants Ubisoft to push ahead with this, and “giving players the opportunity to resell their items” is the key sentence here. The primary driver of money for them in this space won’t just be sales of NFT items, but the cut they get every time an item is sold and resold again. Endless money for doing literally nothing. Living the dream.

A lot of companies, big video game publishers included, have been dipping their toes into this market over the last 12 months for just this reason. As stupid as it is, it’s also usually explained away by it being a fad that involves making a quick buck out of suckers, and really, what public company wouldn’t want in on that action.

Ubisoft’s efforts are on a whole other level, though. There’s a degree of deluded commitment to the cause we simply haven’t seen from other publishers, and whenever I hear about developers predicting NFTs will drive “a wedge right in the heart of this industry”, it’s places like Ubisoft, where management and workers are so far apart on the issue, I think of first.


  • This cloth can only seen by intelligent people, your majesty.

    On a series note, wouldn’t be the first time an Ubisoft idiot blamed customers for their crap.

  • And yet here we all still are, still waiting for an explanation as to what extra functionality it is that NFTs offer that isn’t already available through CS:GO skin auction houses.

  • Well in fairness to the guy, gamers at the best of times don’t get companies make games for profit not fun. So of course we aren’t getting any of this because there is zero advantage to us gamers for the NFT opportunities. Lol. Most of us have no interest in schemes this unethical.

    • We are well aware companies need money to survive.

      Their profit should however not come at the expense of our enjoyment. You want us to give you money, You have to placate us.

  • Ummm. So I think being able to sell my digital products is a good thing?

    Sorry to go against the gamer group think. But I believe in 10 years time this could be a really good moment. How many games do we all have licenses for that we never play? Wouldn’t we like to sell in game items that we don’t need to buy things we do need?

    • Steam has had a marketplace for in game items* for years without needing block chain tech though. And it just doesn’t make sense for traditional games, decentralizing the system that tracks ownership of a digital good is completely pointless when that good can only be used on a single platform under a single corporations control anyway. They haven’t done anything they couldn’t just do with a regular server.

      *Fat chance they let people resell game licences, because that actually would be good for gamers.

    • Games are not required to be a speculative investment.

      Remember how bad Diablo 3 RMAH or CSGO skin gambling was? You really want that in every game?

      As soon as you allow people to sell in-game items for real-world money that becomes the focus. You also encourage a flood of Botters and farmers ruining both the economy and playability of the game.

    • Yeah, being able to resell digital games would be nice.

      There is absolutely zero need for NFTs to accomplish it. These digital licenses are linked to accounts. There is no reason the platform owners couldn’t transfer the licenses between accounts. They could facilitate the resale through the platform and take a small cut.

      They won’t do this, because they have no interest in actually allowing gamers to be able to resell things. What they have an interest in is jumping on the crypto boom while it’s popular.

      Very few people would be complaining if UbiSoft had added a marketplace for in-game items like the Steam marketplace, or say, a more open one that had official support for trading directly with real money instead of Steambux. The problem is that they’re latching onto the NFT grift which is unnecessarily contributing to global warming, exacerbating chip shortages, causing GPU prices to skyrocket etc. all to accomplish something which we could already do just fine in a much less destructive way.

    • Sure it is, but NFTs are just one of many ways digital goods could be sold, and one that incurs an incredible environmental cost and a whole host of problems that more traditional methods of proving ownership are better for anyway. See this ridiculously long (but really good and thorough) video about NFTs, why they actually exist, who’s actually praising them and the real problems with them even outside of environmental concerns – https://youtu.be/YQ_xWvX1n9g

    • I think you will be very lucky if there’s still a platform and support for any speculative gun skin (or whatever) NFT in ten years. There’s a lot of things to go right for this to work in the first place right now, and the idea that developers are going to keep bringing out games in 2032 that somehow function with a gun skin made in 2022 seems beyond unlikely.
      Unless it looks like a profile avatar quality item, and I’ll pass on that.

    • That’s the candy they use to bait you into their van lmao.
      They don’t give a shit about us. They want to endlessly profit off doing nothing, drive prices ridiculously high because they can enforce scarcity, by artificially limiting the number of something and you still don’t even own it.

      Also the selling thing is almost useless after a certain time because 5 years after a game, it’s likely dead and you’ve paid $200 to get a skin that you can sell to nobody for 10c

  • A device is yet to be invented, that can measure human stupidity (or my interest in NFTs). Just look at the mobile gaming market. I rest my case yer honour!

  • Sadly, they’ll still make a tonne of money out of it. And they know it. Because there’s no shortage of idiots.

    • From a purely commercial perspective there’s plenty of evidence to suggest you’re wrong about how successful it’s likely to be.

      At the moment all we have is a lot of wealthy idiots making speculative investments in NFT “assets” they think are going to last them a lifetime. Here, on the other hand, we’re talking about in-game items that will never exist longer than the life of the game’s servers, and can be made redundant or patched away well before that completely at the whim of the game’s developers.

      Indeed, we have several actual examples of failure, such as Valve’s Artifact which was premised on essentially the same idea and turned out to be a disaster, as did the Diablo Auction House.

      The minute any pay to win elements enter a free to play game, free to play players (normally 95% of your player base) are turned off in droves. On the other hand, if you leave mainly cosmetics to trade then last year’s flaming lava suit of death is never going to be quite as sexy as this year’s flaming lava suit of death, or electric blue weapon stock, or whatever.

      And also take into account the blowback from GS:GO skin trading scams. One game alone was enough to start politicians legislating and Valve backing off. Several games running over-inflated speculative NFT markets for real cash is going to attract a hell of a lot of unwanted attention.

  • Imagine thinking a sales pitch insulting your target audience is a good thing.

    Also, I think Valve might like a word about the existence of a ‘secondary digital marketplace’ that we mere peasant gamers have apparently never seen before.

  • My favourite gaming NFT argument I’ve heard is “Oh you will be able to take say a totally unique helmet from one game and use it in a totally different game”

    So either you have a case of it happening and not needing Blockchain to do it and can be done now or the item truly is unique to a single player then you are left with a developer making assets to cater to an customer base of exactly one person.

    If you think this is a great idea then I have a NFT of the Brooklyn bridge I would like to sell you

  • I can already re-sell items on the Steam marketplace with nary an NFT in sight.

    When it comes to NFTs, Ubisoft gas NFI.

  • No, Mr. NFT Director… we KNOW EXACTLY what a digital market in our video game will bring us. Greed, cheaters, hackers, scammers, spammers, and thieves.

    I think for a game developement director your out of touch with the market your suppose to be catering for… STOP catering for the crypto-whales and start catering for your average gamer.

    We don’t want to spend $160 on an Ubisoft game (season pass and all) to be served a spoonful of you telling us to STFU as you jam NFTs down our throats. No Fing Thanks!!!

    • He has no choice to be grand standing, he is getting heat from both gamers, social media, game news and internally from game devs… and he has to spin a reason to justify why his big project only earned $400 revenue (5 ubisoft games worth) from what I assume was a lot of expenses for legal, website and marketing outlay costs.

  • This is the same company that had a family of sex offenders occupying key positions to cover up for those said sex offenders. This degree of stupidity is par for the course.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!