Controversial PlayStation Survey Asks Gamers About NFTs

By August 5, 2022NFT
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NFTs and the implementation of blockchain technology in video games continue to be an incredibly controversial topic in the gaming industry. Executives see NFTs as an opportunity for increased monetization with little overhead, while many gamers see little benefit to gameplay tainted by exploitative monetization and environmental concerns. PlayStation has largely remained silent on the topic, despite patents implying future NFT efforts. Now PlayStation has issued a survey on NFTs that's already creating pushback online.

Twitter user Snorlax Ownz shared a screenshot taken from the PlayStation Quest that they received, tasking them to respond to a survey question. The question they received was, "Which of the following NFT/Digital Collectibles would you most be interested in purchasing?" Responses included NFTs related to players' favorite game characters, esports players or teams, favorite music artists, and even EVO-branded NFTs. The broader heading for the question was listed as "What Do You Collect Most?"

The implication of the survey question is that PlayStation is evaluating what kind of NFTs PlayStation fans would most be interested in collecting if the platform began offering them for sale. It is, ultimately, just a survey question, but it's the first official confirmation that PlayStation is considering selling NFTs as products. That doesn't mean PlayStation will follow through, as companies survey consumers on products that never come to market all the time. Still, for PlayStation fans against NFTs, it's a concerning revelation.

There is some question about whether the survey was issued in error, however. PlayStation recently announced what it's calling PlayStation Stars, a loyalty program that can reward "digital collectibles." These PlayStation digital collectibles were described as digital representations of figurines and other art from games and other media. PlayStation also explicitly stated these rewards are not NFTs, though fans questioned if PlayStation Stars was a system designed to acclimate users to the idea of NFTs at the very least.

Some believe the survey question accidentally mentions NFTs when it intended to say solely "digital collectibles," as a reference to PlayStation Stars. Others say the survey betrays the nature of these digital collectibles as NFTs in the making. There's no way to say for sure, but these kinds of survey questions are typically very carefully worded. Otherwise, they're not particularly productive.

PlayStation isn't the only company evaluating whether NFTs make sense for its business in the video game industry. Minecraft developer Mojang made a lengthy statement on why NFTs don't make sense for its game, likely after a lengthy evaluation of the possibility. Microsoft, Mojang's parent company, has contrarily said it's "looking into" NFTs. Steam has said it will not sell blockchain-enabled games, while the Epic Games Store has affirmed its support of NFTs and related products. PlayStation could go either way, and the way its userbase reacts will likely play a major role in that decision.

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