After a bullish exploratory period that saw it drop NFTs into Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it seems Ubisoft has now shelved its web3 ambitions.
As noted by TheGamer, from a longer interview by Gamesindustry.biz, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says the company is now moving away from NFT and blockchain technologies. Indeed, per TheGamer, Guillemot now says the company’s early interest in web3 was little more than ‘research’ and that perhaps it didn’t communicate that properly.
“We probably were not good at saying we are researching,” Guillemot told GamesIndustry.biz. “We should have said we were working on it and when we have something that gives you a real benefit, we’ll bring it to you.
“As a company, we went into VR early, into the Wii early. We always try new things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work, but it’s always to make sure we can bring a new experience to players that will be innovative and interesting. The goal of the company is always to create the best experience and new technologies are always good for that because there’s less competition and people are more interested to try new things on new technology.”
“Exploring doesn’t mean launching,” Guillemot continued. “This industry is evolving quickly and it’s very cautious about the impact it will have. Like so many things, at the beginning, it’s not as good as it could be, but like other new technologies, they will find the right way.”
Of course, it’s all well and good for Guillemot to say this now, considering the forcefulness with which Ubisoft was pushing NFTs and blockchain tech only a year ago. The company launched a platform called Ubisoft Quartz that it hoped would drive its web3 offerings across games. It’s still live, and Breakpoint is still the only game on the platform. Nicholas Pouard, Vice President at Ubisoft Strategic Innovations Laboratory, found himself in hot water after stating he felt “gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them.” He would later add “… 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’re seeing first is the end game.”
Guillemot himself held a company-wide meeting to discuss the company’s push into web3, telling staff that “NFTs are just the beginning.” Staff responded by telling management that they thought NFTs sucked.
Now, after all the bad publicity, social media pushback, and a brutal, sustained downturn in NFT and blockchain markets, it seems Ubi has decided it’s no longer worth the hassle.
One wonders how Square Enix is getting on after selling all that western IP for blockchain money.