At this point, we’re all just holding out hope that our favourite video game franchises aren’t getting into weird crypto shit. Sometimes, it’s a vain hope. In today’s second quarterly earnings report, Ubisoft said it is exploring blockchain for games.
The blockchain is a system where a bunch of computers do some complicated maths to record transactions, to put it simply. The technology is most known for producing cryptocurrency, digital currencies that are infamously terrible for the environment. According to economists, the entirety of Bitcoin,the most popular and valuable cryptocurrency, produces enough electricity annually to power the entire city of London. It’s a recipe for environmental disaster that seems extremely at odds with Ubisoft’s pledge to reduce its carbon emissions significantly by 2023.
According to Ubisoft’s report, the company recently invested in Animoca Brands. Animoca is a video game studio that develops games utilising blockchain technology. Several of its games contain items such as non-fungible tokens (which are more commonly known as NFTs and have been in the news for their energy footprint as well), with one game allowing players to create their own NFTs. It also produces fungible tokens as in-game currency.
Ubisoft also supports blockchain initiatives through its Entrepreneur Lab in France, and its website lists multiple cryptocurrency startups it has supported, including Horizon Blockchain Games, NonFungible, and Crucible. The earnings report also mentions that Ubisoft is a founding member of the Blockchain Games Alliance.
Ubisoft claims it’s investing in blockchain so players can be “true stakeholders of its [game] worlds,”.
“[Blockchain investment] also gives Ubisoft the perspective to reflect on the best ways to overcome blockchain’s initial limitations for gaming around sustainability and scalability,” the earnings report read.
However, reflection by itself isn’t very meaningful without action as crypto mining is accelerates the heat death of our planet. If Ubisoft handles environmental concerns the same way it’s handled sexual harassment reports, I’m not holding my breath for the company to take the climate consequences seriously.