Hey, there’s a new Ni No Kuni game out! And it looks beautiful! This should be cause for celebration, but we don’t deserve nice things. So instead, we have got a mobile/PC gacha game that is built on a foundation of crypto nonsense.
As we’ve covered, the supposed ‘value’ of the these markets is in freefall, but while that’s bad news for ‘owners’ of cartoon jpgs and made-up currencies, many video game studios and publishers are pushing on regardless. Among them is Korean developer Netmarble, the team behind Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, which despite an Asian release in 2021 was only made available in the West last week.
Look at this trailer, and you’ll see why fans of the series—and of Studio Ghibli—might have got excited!
Sadly, this is now the part of the story where I tell you this is actually a gacha game that also has cryptocurrency bullshit baked into it. Netmarble have their own cryptocurrency wallet called Marblex, and as this website helpfully points out, players are able to take in-game items, trade them for Netmarble’s Asterite or Territe Tokens (which are currencies you can trade on Marblex), then trade those for other cryptocurrencies.
The game’s website proudly boasts on its front page, emphasising just how central this is to the game’s entire existence:
Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds employs a gameplay-based blockchain system, giving players who enjoy Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds the opportunity to play to earn tokens through gameplay.
Players can acquire two types of tokens in the Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds blockchain system, and our team will do our best to preserve the token values.
Oh, and they’re also planning to bring in NFTs later in the year as well.
Players are reporting that, less than a week after launch, the game’s economy is already heavily slanted in favour of those purchasing the company’s crypto. As Tezoze says in this post, “Crypto was said to be ‘minimal’ in the game but it seems like you can literally buy the best in slot sets and pets in the game right off the store. No gacha, no gimmicks, just straight purchase. This is extremely cringe, and causes massive imbalance in PVP.”
I know gacha games have their fans, but I’m not one of them because it’s a form of gambling, and however harmless individual instances may appear, the mechanic itself helps normalise the practice among young people. So I think gacha games marketed at kids are bad enough. A gacha game that’s also got crypto speculation, and a marketed emphasis on ‘play to earn’ mechanics? Get the fuck outta here.
UPDATE: Despite the company’s mention in the game’s launch trailer Studio Ghibli’s exact role with this release is unclear, so the post has been edited to reflect this.