NFT Video Games Could Be a Step Backwards

By November 21, 2021NFT
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Over the past year, NFTs have been growing in popularity. The non-fungible tokens have been viewed as a way to have exclusive ownership of, or access to, different media and have even given streamers like Mizkif big money sponsorship opportunities. While the premise behind NFTs might feel like the natural evolution for cybersecurity and being able to circumvent piracy when it comes to individual works of art, they aren’t necessarily the perfect answer.

The data for individual NFTs varies, as unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, each NFT can have its own value. This looks like a win for a market like video games, where individual games, bonus content, and other related digital items could be given values and tracked, but it could easily do more harm than good. NFTs are reliant on blockchain, and like other uses of the technique, are extremely resource-intensive. They draw heavily on not only natural resources, needing a lot of energy to function, but also material resources like graphics cards that are already in short supply.

Problems With NFTs in Games

Adopting NFTs on a large scale in the video game industry could be a step backward that does a lot of harm both socially and to the environment. As fun as video games are, they already require fans to use a lot of energy to run. Every format, from PC to the Nintendo Switch, requires some form of electrical power, and the addition of NFT video games could drastically increase the amount of power already used by the industry as a whole. This makes recent comments on NFT games from Xbox’s Phil Spencer a little reassuring, but not too much.

While the technology does seem to be evolving, with its current phase being very speculative, that doesn’t mean there aren’t those willing to adopt it. Even though titans of industry like Xbox or PlayStation might not have come around to them yet, there’s still a potential for NFTs and other cryptocurrencies to become a premier option. Dead by Daylight has been criticized for selling NFTs, and if more popular games follow suit, it could quickly become a situation that gets out of hand. This could result in video games being vilified, as people use an entertainment source that seems to be contributing to climate change and having a negative overall impact on the environment.

On top of this, the sporadic nature of NFTs could be harmful to how the industry itself operates. Video games generally sell at similar price points with different editions being priced differently. Even smaller games and indie titles tend to share the same $15 to $30 range, depending on the amount of content in the game. Introducing NFTs as a more prominent secondary-market option could disrupt this, and result in wild prices that feel more exploitative of people and art than they are representative of building a community around games. This is something that some may have already seen happen with the NFT game Epic Hero Battles.

Using a system that is often discussed as a way to prevent art or IP theft it appears the game may have done just that. While this is something that might not negatively affect larger titles and studios, it could hurt smaller teams that could fall victim to similar practices. So, while Neopet NFTs might not be in danger of having their art stolen, smaller creators could still find that their original characters are being used for online marketplaces they may not be associated with.

Fortunately, the somewhat silver lining to NFTs' current relationship with video games is how major names do seem to be trying to avoid them. A step further than Phil Spencer’s comments on them is the Steam ban on games featuring cryptocurrencies and NFTs. While some do view these as the future of video games, they can come with a lot of baggage: NFTs can have a negative impact on the planet’s environment and still hold their real-world value, despite the digital nature of cryptocurrencies. The steps to avoid NFTs might be seen as extreme in the future, but until the impacts of them aren’t as detrimental it looks like a step in the right direction.

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The online presence of Rainbow Six Extraction increased dramatically this month. While the game was delayed from September 2021 to January 20, 2022, it’s been able to keep the momentum it got after its summer reveal. This is partly because the Rainbow Six franchise has such a dedicated fanbase, but also because of the interesting twist Rainbow Six Extraction will be applying. While Siege has prospered as a dedicated PvP game, Rainbow Six Extraction focuses its efforts on providing fans with a challenging PvE experience.

The tactical feel fans get from Rainbow Six Siege looks like it will translate well as the franchise’s trademark gameplay style is worked into PvE environments. On top of this, Extraction isn't a full-priced game, being just $39.99 USD for the base version and $49.99 for the deluxe version. Combined with everything else that has been announced for Rainbow Six Extraction, there’s a lot for fans to consider when debating whether or not to pick up a copy.

Rainbow Six Extraction Standard and Deluxe Edition

Even after the history of delays for Rainbow Six Extraction, Ubisoft+ members will be able to get the base game for free. The two purchasable versions only seem to differ in one way: the content packs they come with. The Standard Edition of the game will feature its Buddy Pass with no extra content mentioned so far. This is the approach that most, if not all, video games have and shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The Deluxe Edition builds off the Standard’s inclusion of the Buddy Pass and comes with three different content packs: the Noxious Touch Pack, the Obscura Pack, and the React Strike Pack.

Each of the three packs included with the Deluxe Edition includes cosmetics with varying applications. The Noxious Touch Pack contains the Noxious Touch uniform and headgear for the operative Alibi, two universal weapon skin ornaments, as well as the Jawbreaker and Guardian Angel weapon charms. Similar to the Noxious Touch Pack, the Obscura Pack will contain two universal weapon skins along with the Redacted and Anagram weapon charms. The React Strike Pack breaks away from this trend and offers more than extra cosmetic items.

Alongside the Frontline Cosmetic Pack, which will include the REACT Lockjaw charm and Spectrum headgear, uniform, and weapons skin, the React Strike Pack also gives players XP Boosters for post-launch events in Rainbow Six Extraction and a 10 percent discount on the in-game store. This matches the precedent set by certain editions of Rainbow Six Siege, where players could also receive XP Boosters and an in-game store discount. The Buddy Pass system is also a strong selling point, and when it’s dissected could be a major decider for fans who are still unsure of whether to pick up Rainbow Six Extraction at launch.

The system will allow friends to play together for a limited time so long as one person owns a copy of Rainbow Six Extraction. This comes with fine print attached, but it’s still worth considering that for 14 days after a Buddy Token is activated. It also helps that whatever progress is made by players on the Buddy Pass is saved for whenever they’re able to get a full copy. This should help win some fans over who are hesitant, letting them potentially realize the game is expanding on what they already know is good from the longevity of Rainbow Six Siege.

Rainbow Six Extraction Pre-Order Bonus

Along with the different editions of Rainbow Six Extraction, pre-orders will come with the Orbital Decay bundle. While a lot of the extra content that seems to be coming with Rainbow Six Extraction is cosmetic, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone will have access to the free post-launch content that comes to Extraction, and if the cosmetics for Rainbow Six Siege are any indicator, fans should look forward to cool cosmetic bundles being released following launch - despite claims of it being cash grab by Ubisoft.

The Orbital Decay bundle is a fun way to kick things off for players who feel comfortable committing to Rainbow Six Extraction before release. While it’s a little bulky, the lack of PvP content should mean players won’t have to worry about the Orbital Decay, or any future uniforms, becoming logistical problems like Roze in Call of Duty: Warzone.

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Rainbow Six Extraction's Operators

In tandem with the game’s reduced price, accessibility for friends, and Deluxe Edition bonuses, Rainbow Six Extraction's gameplay features have built it up to be a rather attractive game at launch. Along with new lore for players to explore relating to the Rainbow Six universe, there will also be a large number of operators available with gadgets and weapons. As of this writing, 12 of the total of 18 operators have been revealed.

  • Alibi
  • Doc
  • Ela
  • Gridlock
  • Hibana
  • Lion
  • Nomad
  • Pulse
  • Sledge
  • Smoke
  • Vigil

For fans familiar with Rainbow Six Siege, these characters’ names should ring a bell. While the game has already shown how it’s taking Siege operators and molding them in new ways for Extraction’s roguelike gameplay elements, players who own both games will receive extra content. Purchasing Rainbow Six Extraction and Rainbow Six Siege makes the 18 operators from Extraction permanently unlocked in Siege. These players will also receive the United Front bundle, which has two gears sets for each game: one for both Smoke and Pulse in Siege, and one for both Lion and Ela in Extraction.

Despite these connections, the Rainbow Six Extraction gameplay trailer and its character progression should help it stand out from its predecessor. With character progression, players will be able to grow with and learn certain characters, but also have options when it comes time to tackle the 13 different missions in Extraction.

Framing these missions will be 12 maps. With Rainbow Six Extraction’s MIA feature, a player dying means having more than one main will be important. While cross-save and cross-play let people play Rainbow Six Extraction almost anywhere they want, once a character is MIA they’ll need to be rescued. This will likely be one of the most challenging aspects of Extraction, but it should also increase replay value. Given Extraction could lay the foundation for the future of the Rainbow Six franchise, keeping players engaged in both PvE and PvP activities will be major going forward, and the interconnected nature of this game is a potentially great start.

Rainbow Six Extraction releases January 20 2022 on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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