Publisher Ubisoft is introducing purchaseable NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, in the form of Ubisoft Quartz. Ubisoft Quartz is launching in beta form on Tuesday, with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint being the first game to receive these NFTs, which are called Digits. You can check out the announcement trailer below:
Ubisoft claims that these Digits, which are limited unique cosmetic collectibles, remember their owners names “for years to come” and each one is unique, with the entire purpose of an NFT being to pay for something so someone else can’t have it, regardless of the actual quality. NFTs utilize a blockchain, which meaning every item has a unique code that, in theory, can’t be duplicated.
Many NFTs use ludicrous amounts of power in creation or registration, though Ubisoft claims that Ubisoft Quartz is “energy-efficient.” In an interview with IGN, Ubisoft Strategic Innovation Lab VP Nicolas Pouard said that it uses Tezos, a blockchain system that reportedly “uses one million times less energy per transaction than Bitcoin.”
Pouard also added that this is all a first step, and “if it’s not sustainable, of course, we will think again of what we are doing.”
Ubisoft had previously been open about its interest in blockchain gaming and NFTs. It invested in Animoca Brands, a blockchain gaming company, and at a recent earnings call (as reported by IBTimes), Frederick Duguet, the chief financial officer, noted its potential.
“[Blockchain] will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot. We’ve been working with lots of small companies going on blockchain and we’re starting to have a good know-how on how it can impact the industry, and we want to be one of the key players here.”
Other publishers such as Electronic Arts are exploring uses of the blockchain, but Ubisoft is the first major gaming publisher to actually start selling NFTs in pre-existing games. Employees at Ubisoft are still reportedly unhappy with management in the wake of numerous sexual harassment claims and reports of abuse, which broke out in 2020. In a recent interview with Axios, chief people officer Anika Grant noted that people did lose trust in Ubisoft’s process and “that’s something right now we are 100% focused on fixing.”
On the other hand, companies like Valve have reportedly blocked blockchain and NFT games on Steam.
Ubisoft is responsible for publishing many of the biggest franchises in gaming, such as the stealth and action-role-playing series Assassin’s Creed and squad-based first-person shooter series Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. The company has pivoted to ongoing support for many of its franchises, eschewing annual releases, such as with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which is the second-biggest profit-generating game in Ubisoft history.