For Ubisoft, monetizing tokens like CryptoKitties in its open-world games is not in the cards yet. However, that does not prevent the game publisher from experimenting with blockchain. Their latest creation is a special NFT (ERC 721) Rabbit token that allows donations to the Unicef. Non-fungible tokens are indeed very popular in the gaming and collectibles fields.
As Nathan Sexer of the Ethereum France association explains, « a non-fungible token is by definition a unique and non-dividable token. ERC 721 is an NFT standard, democratized via CryptoKitties in 2018 » with over 50,000 users.
Other publishers such as the French Sorare, Sandbox or Decentraland are also interested in monetizing these digital assets. And Ubisoft, the world’s third largest video game publisher, could also eventually exploit the potential of NFTs. However, monetization is not a reality yet.
« We don’t have any concrete marketable use cases. We have made several prototypes, » said the Blockchain Initiative Director of Ubisoft.
Initiatives around NFTs are therefore conducted to date within the publisher’s innovation lab, including a team dedicated exclusively to blockchain.
One of our focuses was obviously NFTs. Our video games are mainly open worlds in which players can collect a certain number of items, » says Nicolas Pouard. The development of a prototype was launched two years ago to evaluate the barriers to the adoption of this type of token. However, these barriers are « not technical, contrary to what we thought at the beginning » he says.
No, the difficulties are above all legal, as the regulations are not considered « very clear ».
Monetization is a very big issue in the video game industry, and blockchain still seems to be very much tied to finance. So in the minds of gamers, who are not familiar with blockchain, it’s associated with more monetization, »
Clearly, gamers would not be willing to pay even more in a gaming world where the pressure of monetization is already not always well experienced by consumers. So Ubisoft is still experimenting, while increasing its expertise in NFT.
This has resulted in the possibility for players to generate a part of the world in a game thanks to non-fungible tokens, territories or « land », like on Decentraland. In 2018, Ubisoft also created Raving Rabbids as tokens rewarding the winners of a hackathon.
It worked well, but that’s as far as we got. These tokens still exist. We could develop other elements, but we won’t do it for the moment, » announced Nicolas Pouard.
Ubisoft’s latest achievement in the field of NFT and blockchain was only on March 2, 2020. The publisher created five « Raving Rabbids Tokens » offered to the winners of a contest. This ERC 721 token is a bit special though. If it is non-fungible, its owner cannot keep it, as the token has the characteristic of always being claimable.
« It’s always for sale. Anyone can buy it, » says the Ubisoft executive. However, it is not a question of the editor making a profit. The proceeds from each sale are donated to UNICEF. Moreover, with each sale, the token, inspired by the Raving Rabbids, is transformed.
Each time you buy them, they will evolve. Similarly, at each full moon, a transformation occurs. As this token can be taken from its holder, the holder keeps a record of the possession of the token and the evolution possessed.
This proof of ownership, a temporary title deed, is also the proof of a donation to Unicef.