Epic Games 'Definitely Won't' Follow Minecraft's Lead and Ban NFTs, Says CEO - Decrypt

Epic Games ‘Definitely Won’t’ Follow Minecraft’s Lead and Ban NFTs, Says CEO – Decrypt

Briefly

  • Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that the Epic Games Store will not ban NFTs in games, following the announcement that Microsoft will ban NFT use in Minecraft.
  • The Epic Games Store had over 194 million users by the end of 2021, and several NFT-powered games are coming to it later this year.

Microsoft’s Mojang Studios announced on Wednesday which it will soon ban the use of NFTs on community-driven Minecraft game servers. But the Epic Games Store doesn’t plan to take a similarly unilateral approach to in-game NFTs, according to new comments from the company’s CEO.

Yesterday, a Twitter user asked Epic Games co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney to follow Minecraft’s lead. “It would be really nice to see the same opinion from the Epic Games Store,” wrote user DicklessRichard, tags Sweeney. “Please get rid of every single one of these games in the store.”

It is a position taken by the largest PC gaming marketplace, Steam, which announced its own ban on NFTs and blockchain technology last October. But the Epic Games Store pushed back and said it would allow NFT games, and a couple of such games have been announced since then. Sweeney stuck to that stance in his response last night.

“Developers should be free to decide how to build their games, and you should be free to decide whether you want to play them,” Sweeney wrote. “I think stores and operating system manufacturers should not interfere by forcing their views on others. We certainly won’t.”

An NFT is a blockchain sign which acts as an ownership right to a unique item. Along with video game items like avatars, weapons, and digital land, NFTs are often used for things like artwork, collectibles, and profile pictures.

The Epic Games Store is a PC and Mac marketplace that claimed over 194 million users in late 2021. Since then, Gala Games has announced plans to launch its upcoming NFT-powered online shooter Grit via the storefront, along with future games, while Mythical Games is coming bring their create-and-play online game Blancos Block Party to the platform as well.

Epic Games is a much bigger force than its storefront alone suggests. It is also the company behind the hit game Fortnite and other titles, plus the maker of the Unreal Engine software widely used in the gaming and other entertainment industries.

The company also has significant metaverse ambitions, recently raise another $2 billion at a valuation of $31.5 billion with intentions to “build the metaverse.” However, Epic Games has so far not used cryptocurrency or blockchain networks within its own games and tools, despite allowing other developers to launch NFT-focused games on its marketplace.

Epic’s aversion to interference from gatekeepers applies to its as well legal challenges for both Apple and Google. These disputes arose from the publisher’s desire to sell in-game currency (V-Bucks) in the mobile versions of Fortnite without giving either of the tech giants a cut of the sales. Ultimately, Fortnite was removed from both the iOS and Android stores and Epic filed suit.

Sweeney has shared other previous comments which echoes that sort of ethos of centralized parties and so-called “walled garden” digital ecosystems. Speaking at a conference in November, he again talked about Epic’s goals for metaversewhich is envisioned as the next generation 3D Internet spread across open, interoperable platforms.

“The metaverse is a term like the internet,” he said. “No company can own it.”

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