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GDC Survey Reveals 28% of Game Developers Are Interested in NFTs

NFTs and cryptocurrency have seen a massive wave of attention in the tech space in the last year, and continue to be controversial subjects. In games, at least, over a quarter of game developers have said they are interested in using cryptocurrency or NFTs in their games -- but only 1% are actively using them now.

This comes from the GDC's annual State of the Industry survey, which polls 2,700 games industry professionals on various industry topics. The survey concluded that 27% of developers in 2021 were interested in using cryptocurrency as a payment tool, and 28% were interested in implementing NFTs.

But even among those interested, some indicated that they may hesitate to implement either due to their reputation. Comments included:

“How this hasn’t been identified as a pyramid scheme is beyond me.”

“Blockchain is a foundational technology that will transform organizations and accountability, but NFTs and cryptocurrencies in general are a scam.”

“I’d rather not endorse burning a rainforest down to confirm someone ‘owns’ a jpeg.”

“I personally am quite interested in NFTs and cryptocurrency, but many people in my studio and friend circle do not like them and won’t develop for them. I think NFTs need to get a better reputation when it comes to [the] environment and art theft first, then it might be an interesting way to give digital content unique value.”

“I’d be lying if I said that I don’t think NFTs are, at best, stupid, and at worst, predatory and ecologically dangerous. Cryptocurrency, I think, can also be a sensitive thing to deal with. Both have had an immense amount of scams pop up in a very, very short while, and it makes me wonder if that trend will stay.”

Even so, a number of major gaming companies have publicly announced interest in NFTs in recent months, including Square Enix, EA, Sega, Epic Games, and Konami. Others, like Microsoft and Valve, have pushed back, and Stalker 2 actively retracted its announcement of in-game NFTs after fans criticized the move.

Blockchain and NFTs weren't the only topics GDC polled developers on. Another big, recent issue that came up was workplace toxicity, specifically in the wake of the California lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard. GDC asked respondents if their companies had proactively reached out to combat toxicity in their own studios following the news. Only 38% said yes, with outreach initiatives including group discussions on misconduct or simply reminders of how to report inappropriate behavior.

The survey also broke down interest in developing for different platforms. 31% of respondents said they were working on a game for PS5, while 29% said they were working on a game for Xbox Series X and S. 20% were working on a Nintendo Switch game. Most popular was PC (as it has been in prior years), with 63% of developers working on a PC game. Only 3% of developers were making a game for Google Stadia, and only 1% for Amazon Luna.

You can see the full results of the survey here.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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