Electronic Arts CEO says NFTs are ‘an important part of the future’ of gaming

    07 Nov 2021

    Game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has told investors that collectible NFTs are “an important part of the future of our industry.” EA’s CEO sees promise for tracking in-game collectibles and “play-to-earn” schemes.

    During an earnings call this week, EA boss Andrew Wilson referred to NFTs and blockchain gaming as an “important part about the future of our industry”, which echoes what Ubisoft CFO Frédérick Duguet said earlier this week. Duguet believes that the technology “will enable more play-to-earn that will enable more players to actually earn content, own content, and we think it’s going to grow the industry quite a lot”.

    “As a company, we have been leaders in the creation of digital content that has real collectible value in the embedding of that content as part of live services,” he continued. “What we know about collection over time is the collectibility is far more valuable to the collector where the collected item has utility. And I think that in the context of the games that we create and the live services that we offer, collectible digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future.”

    He concluded by telling those on the call that they “should expect us to kind of think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis.”

    However, EA’s Wilson added a cautionary note, stating that “it’s still early to figure out how that’s going to work”.

    Games industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls from Ampere told BBC that NFT and blockchain games “are new disruptive forces within the games sector.”

    He said all major publishers would be looking at the potential of these formats to make money – and “EA is no exception.”

    “It would be bad commercial practice not to be analyzing how these technologies could impact its existing business,” Harding-Rolls said.

    NFTs are already seeing use in the sports collectibles market, he added: “I see a strong fit between FIFA’s card-based Ultimate Team and the use of NFTs, but there are implications that need to be considered – not least the ongoing value and utility of NFTs, especially in the context of the season renewal, which drives most activity within this mode of the game.”

    Ubisoft led off this microtrend in an earnings call late last week. As reported by the International Business Times, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors and analysts that he believes the blockchain is “very attractive for the long term” and could represent a “revolution” in the industry. Ubisoft stated that it wants to be one of the key players in the world of video game-related NFTs, and now publishing rival Electronic Arts has noted that it too is looking at how to break into the “play-to-earn” market.

    EA and Ubisoft will no doubt be joined by other publishers looking to leverage this approach, which will see players earning cryptocurrency by playing a game. Sega has already said it will start selling NFTs based on its IPs.

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