Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell has given his two cents on the gaming world’s interest in NFTs and the metaverse.
Gaben’s been making the media rounds in support of Valve’s new Steam Deck hardware. This has granted him multiple opportunities to drop his hot takes on the state of the industry. His comments come after the banning of NFTs and all blockchain games from the Steam platform. The move was well-received by the community but criticised by developers creating blockchain games. This bled into the broader conversation that developers and publishers are having around the concept of the ‘metaverse’.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Newell explained that Valve reached its decision after it found the NFT and blockchain activity in some of these games to be ‘super sketchy’. While he says that blockchains as a form of technology are great, the ways in which they’re currently being used are not.
He further elaborates that the same problem has been raised with the use of cryptocurrencies. Newell points out that ’50 per cent of the cryptocurrency paid for transactions were fraudulent,” and the volatility of the currency meant that people were unaware of just how much they were paying for things on Steam. “Today, you paid 99 cents ($1.37) for it,” Newell explains, “Tomorrow, you’re going to pay $US498 ($691) for it, and that makes people super cranky. So it just wasn’t a good method. The people who are currently active in that space are not usually good actors.”
In another interview, this time with PC Gamer, Newell talks about his feelings on the ‘metaverse’. He remarked that there’s a whole lot of ‘get rich quick schemes’ around the topic. He says what we’ve basically all been thinking: that what a lot of people are doing with the metaverse is nothing new. “They’ve apparently never played an MMO. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’ll have this customisable avatar.’ And it’s like, well… go into La Noscea in Final Fantasy XIV and tell me that this isn’t a solved problem from a decade ago, not some fabulous thing that you’re, you know, inventing.”
So basically, Gaben is echoing what the gaming community has been screaming for the past while. Sure, it’s nothing new, but it’s comforting to know that even some of the biggest names in the industry think that the current approaches to this technology are mostly financially predatory malarkey.