Enthusiasm for the blockchain isn’t as spirited as it was before someone kidnapped Robot Chicken co-creator Seth Green’s embarrassing, allegedly non-fungible token, or before the last year of high-profile scams and monumental crashes. But Fortnite developer Epic says people like the crypto-based games living in its store enough. Sometimes, they even play those games, Epic Store group General Manager Steve Allison tells Axios.
All right, that’s not the highest praise, but it could be worse for cryptocurrency-based games , Epic’s ugly duckling. There are currently five of them, including the free-to-download role-playing game Chainmonsters and Roblox-style Blankos Block Party, which I accurately noted in September looks “awful.” The latter, which was the first crypto game to land in the Epic Games Store, is “pretty well-played,” Allison said, seeming to channel the same amount of lukewarm passion you’d have when talking about how cold it’s been lately. It has been kind of cold lately, though.
Core, which is described opaquely on Epic’s store as “a metaverse of free games to play and worlds to explore designed by a global community of creators,” is the one that does “pretty well” in terms of traffic, Allison said, and it’s also free-to-download. All of these games make their money by integrating NFT elements into gameplay, often in the form of cosmetics or in-game currency. They operate similarly to traditional “pay-to-win” games, except those rooted in crypto tend to be less attractive and fun or interesting and satisfying, etc.
It’s easy to lower your standards when you’re already in too deep. Valve banned NFT games on Steam in 2021, and Epic decided to make it official with crypto in 2022. The developer is now set on staying faithful, planning on distributing almost 20 additional crypto-backed games through the start of 2024. Elsewhere in gaming, The Pokémon Company is also plotting its crypto ventures, posting a job listing requiring “deep knowledge and understanding of Web 3” just last week.
And, you know, there’s another side to this. “Let’s just be honest about what was really happening there,” Epic founder Tim Sweeney told Axios about other online marketplaces’ crypto bans. “The other stores aren’t blocking crypto games because they think ‘crypto’ equals ‘bad,’” proven by the fact that those stores “distribute all kinds of bad stuff” anyway.
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“They just want to collect their 30% fees and they’re blocking everybody who doesn’t go along with it,” he said. Fair enough.