Ubisoft Quartz: NFT Platform Launched by Developer

The digital world has long been aware of Ubisoft’s interest in NFTs and play-to-earn games. In an almost sudden and decisive move, the prolific developer and publisher has taken action, plunging into the NFT market almost overnight. Ubisoft pushed out a press release detailing a fresh digital platform titled Ubisoft Quartz, where NFTs known as ‘Digits’ will be offered.

Firstly, it’s important to highlight that this is a landmark move by the developer. This is essentially the first example of NFTs being featured in a mainstream videogame franchise – in this case, Ghost Recon. There’s a direct link between the NFTs and the most recent release in the Ghost Recon franchise – Breakpoint. Fans will be able to purchase and trade in-game vehicles, weapons, equipment, and skins, all of which take the form of NFTs.

How has the gaming world responded?

Ubisoft: The Pioneer

While the NFT is not an entirely new concept, it is only just managing to gain traction today. In recent years, the value of the NFT has grown exponentially, to the point where some NFTs are worth millions of dollars today. To put it simply, an NFT is a ‘non-fungible token’, a digital item stored in the blockchain, given value through the proof-of-ownership mechanic. They’re unique, and they can be traded on a peer-to-peer basis.

But where does gaming come in?

Illuvium NFT Game
Illuvium is an example of an NFT game (Image credit: Illuvium)

NFT games are an up-and-coming premise, which typically offers players the ability to win NFTs while playing a game. However, Ubisoft’s idea transcends that relatively simple concept by giving inherent value to in-game items. This has long been a sticking point for gamers, who relentlessly purchase in-game skins and items, only to have no value applied to those items from the moment they’re bought.

In a statement, Nicolas Pouard, VP of the Strategic Innovation Lab at Ubisoft, said:

Ubisoft Quartz is the first building block in our ambitious vision for developing a true metaverse. It can’t come to life without overcoming blockchain’s early-form limitations for gaming.

Through Ubisoft Quartz, players will be able to acquire ‘Digits’, which are Ubisoft-backed NFTs. At the moment, these Digits are cosmetic only, which circumnavigates the troublesome ‘pay-to-win’ debate. Furthermore, the Digits released on Ubisoft Quartz will be a limited run (at present), further boosting their value. However, while the concept might seem innocent enough, the general gaming audience – particularly fans of the Ghost Recon franchise – is crying out in anger.

Ubisoft Quartz: Feedback From The Masses

Reportedly, the video containing the announcement for Ubisoft Quartz on YouTube boasts a 95% dislike rate. In one article, the announcement was described as having met ‘universal displeasure’, with fans the world over lashing out against the news.

As part of the announcement, Ubisoft revealed that free Digits would drop over the course of three days. There will be further drops coming in 2022, but that news hasn’t placated fans one bit. Firstly, it’s worth highlighting that while NFT betting, crypto games, and NFTs themselves are fairly popular topics, the average gamer doesn’t yet understand them. Furthermore, there are easier ways to accomplish what Ubisoft is attempting to do.

For example, the Steam Marketplace has given inherent value to CSGO skins for several years, and it doesn’t use the blockchain to do it. There are many who feel Ubisoft is overcomplicating things for the sake of sheer innovation in play-to-earn games. Although, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the NFT as a concept is riddled with potential. There’s a huge amount of value in the NFT space, and even if it is a bubble, it’s one that many developers are looking to get involved with.