Is Minecraft’s NFT Ban A Crushing Blow For Web3 Gaming?
Mojang’s blockchain snub has sent shockwaves throughout the gaming world, but does it have wider repercussions for the future of this young industry?
Mojang, the Microsoft-owned company behind Minecraft, has made waves after deciding to ban the use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in its best-selling sandbox game. The decision was made, according to a blog post on the Minecraft website, to “ensure a safe and inclusive experience” for all players.
Since its inception, Minecraft has been a game about creativity, collaboration, and having fun with friends. However, with the recent influx of blockchain projects integrating Minecraft utility into their NFTs, Mojang are concerned that the game is losing its original charm.
On July 20th, 2022, Mojang decided to, without warning, outright ban all integrations of blockchain technology and NFTs within the game.
In explaining their decision, Mojang wrote:
“Like any digital file, NFTs can be copied, moved, or even deleted. Additionally, NFTs and blockchain have also been associated with price speculation. These uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies create digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which does not align with Minecraft’s values of creative inclusion and playing together.
To ensure that players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset.”
“To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our Minecraft client and server applications nor may they be utilized to create NFTs associated with any in-game content…”
— Minecraft (@Minecraft) July 20, 2022
Whilst their decision to stand by the game’s core values could be applauded, many in the NFT community believe this ultimately hurts content creators and the businesses built around Minecraft.
NFT Worlds, an ETH-based project built on Minecraft, saw its 3 ETH floor price plummet by 70%, whilst the price of their native $WRLD token dropped from $0.038 to $0.0147 according to CoinMarketCap. The company has hit back at Mojang by vowing to make its own Minecraft-like game and calling their decision “a step backward in innovation.”
ArkDev (@iamarkdev) and Temptranquil (@temptranquil), creators of NFT Worlds, declared that “Microsoft, Mojang and Minecraft have signaled they have no regard for creators, builders and players”, and are now preparing to develop “a new game and platform based on many of the core mechanics of Minecraft, but with the modernization and active development Minecraft has been missing for years.”
In their recent Twitter announcement and published statement, NFT Worlds added that game access would be “100% free for players, and there will never be any credit card pay barriers for content”. Furthermore, whilst this game is being built, the team has made a commitment that the existing launcher and play pages for NFT Worlds will remain online and accessible.
Game access will be 100% free for players and there will never be any credit card pay barriers for content. NFT Worlds was built on the idea that all players should have access to earning, purchasing and owning items and content through in-game play mechanics and currency rewards
— NFT Worlds (@nftworldsNFT) July 22, 2022
This ban has seen reactions by notoriously NFT-friendly Epic Games, as well as major fund giant Animoca Brands.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, stated that he has no plans to interfere with developers who choose to utilize NFTs or the blockchain on their platform.
Posting to Twitter, Sweeney said:
“Developers should be free to decide how to build their games, and you are free to decide whether to play them. I believe stores and operating system makers shouldn’t interfere by forcing their views onto others. We definitely won’t.”
Yat Siu, the co-founder of Animoca Brands, labeled the recent ban as “hypocritical” and emphasized that NFTs can be inclusive, despite arguments to the contrary.
One day after the Minecraft statement, Animoca Brands, The Sandbox and several more of the biggest names in the metaverse space announced the launch a new decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) titled the “Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3” (OMA3).
This DAO aims to “build the infrastructure to ensure that the metaverse operates as a unified system”, working as a voice for metaverse enthusiasts and the developers behind them.
Projects that have joined the alliance alongside Animoca Brands and The Sandbox include Alien Worlds, Dapper Labs, Decentraland, Star Atlas, Wivity, Space, Upland, Cryptovoxels, Meta Metaverse, Splinterlands and Superworld.
Whilst many tech giants are skeptical of blockchain and NFT technology, Minecraft’s dismissal will not impact the inevitable.
If anything, it will only move blockchain gaming further forwards.