Tim Sweeney has made his position clear on the subject of banning NFTs on his Epic Games Store: “definitely not”.
His response came in the wake of a dramatic 24 hours in the world of gaming, where Mojang Studios banned all NFT integrations on its Minecraft platform.
Tim Sweeney subsequently came under pressure from a section of the gaming community, who were baying for NFT blood.
In response, 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.”
Tim Sweeney is the man who masterminded Epic Games, the legendary game ‘Fortnite’ and the Unreal Engine upon which it, and many other games, have been built.
Following the Minecraft NFT ban, a portion of gamers switched their focus to Sweeney, hoping that he would follow Mojang’s lead.
Mojang, the makers of the global sensation Minecraft, banned all forms of NFT activity on their platform, citing its “pricing and investment mentality.”
Furthermore, Mojang claimed that the mentality of NFTs “takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering.”
Minecraft’s Twitter statement on July 21st, 2022 read:
“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…”
Indeed, to put all this in context – Minecraft has open-source servers which allow developers to use its infrastructure to build gaming experiences of their own.
One such developer has been NFT Worlds, who built a highly successful platform on Minecraft, which integrated NFTs and crypto into its ecosystems.
The NFT Worlds project has garnered $80 million in NFT trading volume and claims to have 100,000 players.
Now, according to Mojang’s new policy, the game will be rendered null and void.
A wounded NFT Worlds responded vigilantly to their community and released a long statement, where it outlined their future options.
Option one, they said, would hopefully see a resolution made with Minecraft and a return to business as usual.
For option two, they said they could create a game of their own, which used a Minecraft-like game engine.
Finally, for option three, they said that they could “pivot to a GameFi platform” with their own, proven formula for success.
You can read the full statement here:
Mojang Studios’ ban was a highly controversial and sudden position to take, which essentially banned a minority section of the Minecraft community.
As for Sweeney, a man of fiercely strong principles as exemplified in his court battle with Apple, he continued to make his stance clear.
In response to a post, which suggested that Epic Games’ policy on prohibiting “hateful/discriminatory content may be akin to banning NFTs, he said:
“A store could choose to make no such judgments and host anything that’s legal, or choose to draw the line at mainstream acceptable norms as we do, or accept only games that conform to the owner’s personal beliefs.”
Sweeney’s voice of reason will be a wet blanket to the fires raging in some sections of the traditional gaming community.
NFTs have become a highly divisive topic in gaming, with some gamers looking to explore this new technology and others vehemently against it.
Detractors use the recent rug pulls and heists as an example of what they don’t want brought to the gaming world.
Yet, the allure of NFTs remains for some gamers, who perhaps like the idea of having ownership of their in-game items and the ability to trade them on an open marketplace.
NFT Worlds ended their statement on a poignant note, declaring: “We’re fighting for a future with a player-owned and operated economy, where all participants benefit from their contributions to the ecosystem. We recognize this is a monumental task.”
The debate rages on and likely will for some time.