The developers of the massively popular open world sandbox game recently posted on the official website, talking about NFTs, the blockchain, and their position on both of them. Most importantly, they wanted to clarify that integrations of NFTs with Minecraft are generally not something [the developers] will support or allow.
For those unfamiliar, the concept is that certain digital items are associated with a unique code, which is tracked on a large digital ledger commonly referred to as the blockchain. The same technology is the force behind cryptocurrency. But instead of simply being a number value, each coin is associated with an image graphic, audio sample, video, or whatever the creator wants. As such, ownership of these items can be traded, sold, and purchased, with the new owner being updated in the ledger.
NFTs have been a controversial topic, both in and outside of the games industry. Many folks consider NFTs to be more of a marketing gimmick or scam than anything, using social excitement or conflated values to generate profits with minimal effort. This sentiment was particularly expressed in December of last year, when Ubisoft announced plans to produce their own NFT line, called Quartz, to sell digital in-game items for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
The Minecraft staff dont agree with the methodology behind NFTs, which they detail in the post. More than just promising not to make their own NFTs, they also have issued rules against implementing the technology into their game, servers, or software.
We have these rules to ensure that Minecraft remains a community where everyone has access to the same content. NFTs, however, can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft.
To ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside 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.
This is followed by calling out that some companies have already been producing NFTs of Minecraft concepts like world files and skin packs. They also highlight how some traditional image NFTs of Minecraft concepts exist and can be untrustworthy.
The world of gaming is so deeply entrenched with marketing schemes, experimental monetization methods, and generally greedy executive decisions. Its always refreshing to hear a major player in the industry take a stance against such practices. Much appreciated, Mojang.