Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Calls NFTs “Interesting,” is Cautious about the “Play-to-Earn” Model

Phil Spencer Xbox

The subject of NFTs and blockchain tech in games continues to be a hot topic, with many publishers continuing to explore the concept despite it largely being rejected by players. Thus far, it’s seemed like Microsoft was largely anti-NFT, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer calling the tech “exploitative” and Mojang banning blockchain from Minecraft.

That said, Spencer was asked about NFTs again during a recent Bloomberg interview, and it seems his stance may be softening, as he admits there could be some “interesting things” done with the tech.

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"We made some comments in Minecraft about how we view NFTs in this space, because we saw people doing things that we thought were exploitative in our product – we said we don’t want that. I think sometimes it’s a hammer looking for a nail when these technologies come up. But the actual human use – or player use, in our case – of these technologies, I think there could be some interesting things."

That said, Spencer continues to be cautious about the “play-to-earn” mode and its potential for turning players into workers…

"Play-to-earn specifically is something I am cautious about. It creates a worker force out of players for certain players to monetize. To be fair for us, in the games industry, this has existed for years and years. There have been gold farmers--people who literally just spend their time doing some menial task in a game to accrue some currency that they can then sell to some other rich player for real money, so that person doesn't have to spend their time. But now you find games that are starting to build that into the economy of the game itself."

The reality is, as much as consumers resist, the idea of the metaverse and selling digital goods like NFTs is a bone tech and gaming companies aren’t going to give up easily, and if there eventually comes a tipping point where people actually start to embrace this stuff, you can bet Microsoft will be there to take advantage.

What do you think? Will NFTs and the like ever take off or is this concept a dead end?

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