On Wednesday, Stalker 2 developer GSC Game World announced that it would be auctioning off NFTs—also known as ‘expensive receipts’—that granted owners a presence in the game, which really just meant that their faces would be pasted onto the heads of NPCs. Now the studio has announced that it has cancelled all plans to sell NFTs.
The NFT promo material posted yesterday was full of gibberish about becoming “the first metahumans” in the “Stalker metaverse” which was going to be achieved by way of a “metaversial bridge,” a term which sounds like something from a Kojima game. It’s just face scanning.
GSC clearly expected some blowback when it made the announcement, saying right away that Stalker 2 wasn’t becoming a “blockchain-based game,” that the NFT auction wouldn’t affect gameplay (except in the sense that you’d see the faces of NFT owners while playing), and that purchasing NFTs was optional.
Today, the studio posted another message to Twitter intended to further soothe irritation caused by the announcement, saying that the in-game representations of NFT owners wouldn’t be disruptive to players who wanted to ignore the whole thing. GSC quickly deleted that tweet, and then about an hour later tweeted a new message:
We hear you.
Based on the feedback we received, we’ve made a decision to cancel anything NFT-related in Stalker 2. The interest of our fans and players are the top priority for the team. We’re making this game for you to enjoy—whatever the cost is. If you care, we care too.
GSC Game World Team
Although the initial reaction skewed negative, some fans welcomed the NFT auction, and over 107,000 people signed up for a chance to buy a Stalker NFT, according to the DMmaket page, which at the time of writing is still live.
Some objections to the Stalker NFT auction cited environmental concerns, but at the heart of it, I think skeptical onlookers see the whole blockchain marketplace as a way to extract cash from suckers, and no one wants to be thought of as a mark.
NFTs are also seen as pernicious. In reference to Ubisoft’s NFT endeavors, a French trade union recently said: “You like dividends, subprimes, financial derivatives, crises, speculation, fast trading, money laundering, etc? This is the assured and unspoken promise of NFT. We are far from the enjoyment of videogames.”
As Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford pointed out on Twitter in response to GSC’s now deleted clarification tweet, the studio doesn’t actually need to use blockchain technology to run the same promotion. Representing certain fans in the game for a price has for years been a staple of Kickstarter backer rewards.
It’s all over now, anyhow. Unless the studio changes its mind again, the Stalker NFT auction has been abandoned. The metaversial bridge won’t be crossed today.
Hey bro – you don’t need NFT’s or blockchain to pre-sell unique customized stuff in your game. I’m not into that sort of thing because it’s, like, kind of a shittier version of ad placement. But it’s been done for years and you don’t need NFT’s to do it. Anyway – Love your work! https://t.co/QyKrsGE4ohDecember 16, 2021