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Valve quietly says no to NFTs on Steam

Matthew Fleischman
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Valve the company behind popular gaming platform Steam recently updated its guidelines to quietly ban NFT and cryptocurrency games.

Games that use blockchain technology or allow users to mint or trade cryptocurrency or NFTs are no longer allowed on Steam.  This is according to a new rule Valve Software, the company behind the Steam gaming platform added to its guidelines.  The rule, found in the list titled “what you shouldn’t publish on Steam”, specifically blocks games “built on blockchain technology that issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”

Steam

Steam is a video game digital distribution platform from Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Software.  Originally released in 2003 as an easy way for Valve to update their games, the platform expanded over the years.  Steam is now one of the most popular and largest gaming digital distribution platforms.  With games from but big publishers and smaller independent publishers alike.  With over 10,000 games and 120 million users, Valve’s recent decision on cryptocurrency and NFT games is sure to have some repercussions.

Rust and Pirates 

While Steam did not make this recent change of policy with a public announcement, game developer @SpacePirate_io posted the change on Twitter.

@SpacePirate_io is a developer for a game titled Age of Rust.  This new change to Steam’s policy seems to affect them greatly.  In short, Age of Rust gives NFTs for unique in-game gear, items, and even missions.  The game’s description found on its official website, Age of Rust is a game with “detailed puzzles, a new storyline, new destinations, and in-game treasure hunts for blockchain assets and currency.”  It seems one such treasure hunt rewards the player with 20 bitcoin or about $1.22 million.  

READ  Banksy’s artwork ‘Spike’ is now an NFT available on Valuart.

In a series of tweets, SpacePirate_io stated that as developers they were very upfront about how blockchains technology integrated into their games.  They went on to say they believe that NFTs are the future of games, and will continue to develop NFT games.  

No NFTs on Steam?

While steam has yet to announce why the change in policy, it does not seem that it is due to any recent scandals.  Additionally, Valve has also not released any comment clarifying the change.

It seems that the new rules around cryptocurrencies and NFTs are an extension of the platform’s ban on in-game items with real-world monetary value. This rule, though only seems to apply to items that keep their value after its purchase by the player.  As already many items, add-ons and DLC are already told on Steams platform.  Additionally, for years Steam has included a digital card collection system in the platform.  This allows players to earn digital items by completing certain challenges through various games.  Players can then sell these items to other users for Steam funds.

READ  OpenSea NFT marketplace shoots past $10-billion all-time sales

Although according to the terms listed on the guidelines, games built on blockchain technology can still be on Steam.  Just so long as these games do not involve crypto or NFT trading or selling.  Unique game items that are attached to a specific player, in theory, would still be allowable on the platform.  Moreover, other blockchain games not involving NFTs or crypto, such as Project Genisis from 8 Circut Studios, is still available.  

NFT Controversy soils Valve?

One reason for the change in policy though could come from a number of recent NFT scams and scandals. 

Recently NFT’s reputation has taken a few hits as a number of scams come to light.  Earlier this month, a former executive for the largest NFT Marketplace, OpenSea, resigned over an insider trading scandal.  Additionally, there is a story around the Evolved Apes project.  A developer sold NFTs under the premise the NFTs would be in a fighting game, but then ran with the money.  

While there seems to be an abundance of potential for NFT use in games, with one of the largest digital PC games distribution out of the NFT Game, it might be some time before gamers get a chance to see them.  But all hope is not lost though.

Epic NFT 

Steam’s biggest rival Epic Games has a slightly different view on NFT Games.  While last month Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted his discomfort with NFT games, his tune not seems a little different.  

Shortly after the news of Steams guidelines changes, Sweeny tweeted a welcome mat to the displaced developers.  

While this does not mean that seam’s wayward developers can now rush over to the Epic platform, it does give them some hope.  By allowing games that Steam bans, Epic might have just come up with another strategy to take on their biggest rival.  With games being chosen on a “case-by-case-basis” gamers might not get the big NFT games they hope for on Epic Games too soon, but there is still hope for the future.

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