Minecraft NFT Ban is “Wrong” and about “Power”

Mojang Studios, on July 20th, released a blog post aimed at excluding non-fungible tokens and blockchain technology as a whole from its popular game Minecraft. While the new rules don’t affect most of the gaming platform’s audience, its consequences are being felt by a small group of gamers and platforms that are profiting from in-game assets like NFT Worlds.


Many web3 founders and developers have criticized the decision, including Filip Martinsson (Web3 influencer and COO of MoralisWeb, a leading dApp development, and deployment platform), who mentioned that the ban was "wrong and misinformed."


#1 - WTF is Minecraft?


#2 - Minecraft Not a Fan of Non-Fungible Tokens


#3 - The NFT Community Feels Minecraft is After Power


#4 - Is Minecraft Setting a Good Example?

 

WTF is Minecraft?

Minecraft is an open-world video game developed by Swedish indie studio Mojang Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios.


The game allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes that can be placed on top of each other or even rotated around. Players can also create their own worlds with custom content using the game’s editor. With an active community of over 140 million players worldwide, Minecraft remains an important stakeholder in the gaming industry.

 

Minecraft Not a Fan of Non-Fungible Tokens

The designers of Minecraft, Mojang Studios, have said that they do not favor the inclusion of non-fungible tokens (NFT) in the game.


The Microsoft-owned game developer noted in a blog post that NFTs and blockchain technology do not fit with its goal of developing Minecraft into a safe and accessible environment. Because of this, the technology is prohibited from being integrated.


“To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe, inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated into our client and server applications, nor may Minecraft in-game content such as worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods be utilized by blockchain technology to create a scarce digital asset."


Mojang's concern about NFTs and blockchains is that it supports the development and growth of ownership models based on scarcity and exclusion. NFTs purchased from third-party vendors "may not be trustworthy and may cost gamers who acquire them," the company said in the post.


"NFTs create a situation of the haves and the have-nots since they do not include everyone in our community. We believe that the speculative pricing and investing attitude around NFTs are contradictory with the long-term success and satisfaction of our players," Mojang noted.

 

The NFT Community Feels Minecraft is After Power

In response to Mojang’s announcement, many members of the NFT community expressed disappointment and frustration over the decision. Some pointed out that the move could hurt the game’s player base and negatively impact the industry.


Filip Martinsson, COO of MoralisWeb, tweeted that the ban was wrong and misinformed, citing several reasons for his opinion. He wrote:


"Mojangs main argument is that NFTs create digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which is incompatible with Minecraft's mission of building a "safe and inclusive" game environment."


He mentioned that scarcity is already a feature of gaming platforms even without incorporating NFTs, as it's what makes in-game assets valuable to players.

Any valuable & desirable in-game item is valuable in the eyes of the player BECAUSE of its scarcity... If everyone had a particular skin, it would not be desirable. Scarcity is already a feature in games today, and it's the main reason why players pay up BIG for special items and skins.

Filip further argued that Minecraft is trying to paint scarcity as a bad thing even when it isn't. He explained:

There are plenty of things in the physical world that are scarce or finite, like art, gold, NYC real estate. All these things exist in a limited capacity, which is why they are valuable. That does not make them a negative, exclusionary force. It's simply a part of nature.

Martinsson concluded that the ban was more about "about POWER, not about some philosophical idea about scarcity and inclusion," and he hopes the players will speak up against this decision.

 

Is Minecraft Setting a Good Example?

Minecraft's recent action is in many ways against what they stand for. Being a community that promotes inclusive participation, excluding the minority group that rely on non-fungible tokens in their gameplay doesn't speak well of the platform. Like Martinsson states, games thrive on scarcity.


For instance, Call of Duty and other MMMORG games release rare skins with each new season. This is quite similar to what platforms like NFT Worlds are exploring using the Minecraft API. The only difference is that these platforms leverage the scarcity of NFTs to offer unique gameplay to users.


The decision by Minecraft to ban NFTs and blockchain from its platform is most likely because they don't know how to monetize the technology. Because excluding a minority group from using their platform clearly doesn't align with their policy of inclusivity.

 

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