Bloomberg Wealth has a major feature up today called “Into the Metaverse: Where Crypto, Gaming and Capitalism Collide.” It is as critical and as informative as you’d guess something coming from a finance site would be, but there’s one section especially that will haunt me, and now you, for the rest of the week.
The story evangelises the people quitting their jobs and risking it all on video games that use NFTs, and speaks glowingly about the potential of NFTs and crypto, while almost entirely failing to mention stuff like how environmentally destructive the blockchain is, or how the entire thing is a huge fucking scam (aside from the single, dismissive line: “in the crypto world, it’s also seen as a rite of passage to be scammed at one point or another”).
To help set up why NFTs are just going to be so awesome for video games, authors Charlie Wells and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou need to sell you on the potential future, using Mario Kart as an example:
Imagine being able to earn money by playing Mario Kart, that indefatigable Nintendo spinoff series from the pre-internet Super Mario. You wouldn’t have to be all that good at it. You wouldn’t have to play it 24/7. Because, in this mind experiment, you get to be Mario for as long as you like. You get to be him because you own him.
Because your Mario is an NFT, he’s impossible to duplicate. You and you alone own him. And because you own Mario, your go-kart is always better and faster than the ones piloted by other familiar faces in the Mushroom Kingdom like Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach. So off you go, earning the kingdom’s digital money – Mariocoins, let’s call them.
Given market economics, you might have to pay more for NFT Mario than for, say, NFT Peach. But then you’d also earn more, because here in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario is the fastest player. When you step out of the game and back into your day job, you still own Mario. When you start playing again, Mario is there, waiting for you. Waiting to earn you Mariocoins.
You can sell Mario to another player if you like. If you’ve played Mario right, he might be worth more now than when you bought him. Maybe you’ve demonstrated how lucrative Mario can be. Maybe more people want to play Mario Kart. Maybe Mariocoin has soared in value because everybody is talking about it on social media.
This, in a large nutshell, is what GameFi evangelists are trying to build.
I want to turn to dust and blow away on the wind.