Dracula now the lesser of evils
Konami, always up for stumblefucking around its legendary franchises and IPs, has revealed a new “Memorial” NFT line based upon its excellent Gothic horror adventure series, Castlevania. The collection is being released in line with the franchise’s 35th anniversary.
“Konami Memorial NFT is a new initiative to share content that has been loved by players all over the world, for many years,” the publisher wrote in a sentence that literally eats itself. “As the company’s first project in this area and with NFTs and blockchain technology in its infancy, Konami will continue to explore new developments and listen to player feedback following this initial collection.”
On January 12, a total of 12 pieces of classic Castlevania artwork will go up for auction on NFT trading site Opensea.
Konami is the latest in a line of publishers to take the step into the blockchain market. By the end of 2020 Sega, Epic Games, and Peter Molyneux had all stated an intent to get involved with the online trend. Ubisoft was the first publisher to take the plunge, announcing its “Ubisoft Quartz” NFT line to immediate criticism from fans and even its own employees.
Publisher GSC Game World announced NFT integration for its upcoming RPG, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, but immediately walked it back in the face of similar criticism. The new year kicked off with Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda saying that his company was interested in looking at games that allow users to “play to contribute,” raising more than a few eyebrows.
The one defining factor of all the above stories is that these companies are clearly aware they’re treading into shady territory. Each statement is accompanied by a “Fire Exit” get-out line, (see Konami’s “will continue to listen to player feedback” above). The firms know they’re entering into unpopular waters.
In my opinion, corporate NFT farming is a smash-and-grab plan: Acquire a large injection of cash from “investors” as quickly as possible, and then try and hit the bricks with a handwringing “We’re listening to our fans” after the sales, but before too much reputable damage is done. It’s a loop we’ll likely be seeing a helluva lot of in the coming months.
For more reading on NFTs, blockchain, and how they pertain to video games, check out Jonathan Holmes’ article here.