Games which include crypto currencies and NFTs will be removed from Steam, as the company moves to crack down on blockchain products.
Steam has made the decision to remove all games based on blockchain. Valve, Steam’s parent company, hasn’t explained why. The change could be due to the recent scandals around NFT games, the environmental damage or a desire to avoid trading in items which hold value outside of the game.
What even is blockchain?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will probably have heard of crypto currencies (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin). The Securities and Exchange Commission is set to allow Bitcoin futures to be traded on the futures exchange. This means that investors can both buy Bitcoin and essentially gamble on the future demand for Bitcoin.
You may have also heard of NFTs – or non fungible tokens. Fungible means an item that can be traded for something of an equal value with the same qualities. An easy example is gold. If you have 100 grams of gold, you could trade it for another lump of gold which weighs 100 grams and have something of the same value. Non-fungible goods are unique and can’t be easily interchanged. Artwork, events, land or houses are all non fungible items. So an ‘NFT’ is a token which cannot be exchanged for something which has a similar value and the same properties.
whats the problem with NFTs and crypto?
When you think of an NFT you may picture a cartoon JPEG image. However, when you ‘purchase’ one of these images, you aren’t actually buying the image. Instead you are purchasing an entry into a digital ledger stating your ownership of the NFT. Confused? That may be the point.
NFTs and crypto are both based on blockchain technology. This is the digital ledger which tracks every movement and exchange of the tokens. It is exceptionally energy hungry – and what value does it contribute to the world? MSNBC did a great breakdown of the damage it does to the environment. Bitcoin alone has the potential to raise the temperature of the world by 2 degrees. One trade of an NFT has 14 times the environmental impact of shipping a real painting. NFTs get traded frequently – rising and falling hugely in value. Many economists believe that NFTs are being used to launder money.
Games and blockchain
A recent scandal involving ‘Evolved Apes’ NFTs revealed the huge amount of money involved in the trading of NFTs – and the loose regulation of them. In this example, the developer of Evolved Apes absconded with millions in crypto currencies. Like many NFTs, the products were being ‘sold’ on the premise of a videogame being in development called ‘Fighting Apes’. You can see the trailer for it here:
Now Steam has stepped in to do what the financial regulators around the world have been unable, or unwilling, to do themselves. Steam have now updated their terms of service to ban games based on blockchain, the production of NFTs or the use of crypto currency.
NME reported that Steam made the change late last week. One early casualty of the new rule was Age of Rust, which allowed you to exchange in-game NFTs. Going forward, any new games being added to Steam will need to follow these rules. We can expect more games to be taken down. It’s also a bit of a blow to Grimes. The singer shared a vague idea about combining crypto and gaming to save the world’s economy. It seems Steam wasn’t convinced.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Epic Games has responded by welcoming blockchain games. It seems like every choice Epic makes these days is whatever the opposite of Steam is doing. So perhaps Grimes and Age of Rust will head over there.
What do you think about Steam removing blockchain games? Do you trade in NFTs or crypto? Let us know via our social media channels.
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Featured Image Credit: Valve