Despite a series of embarrassments, Sclerotic Funko Pop retailer GameStop has continued its ill-advised NFT market pivot. Less than two weeks after news broke, its service did an NFT “adaptation” of famous images of 9/11 victims (opens in new tab) fall to death, Ars Technica report (opens in new tab) It was revealed that the GameStop NFT marketplace facilitated the sale of unauthorized NFT copies of indie games.
A guy named Nathan Ello released the NiFTy Arcade series on GameStop’s marketplace with initial sales of 8.4 ETH (~$14,000). Ello is expressly not authorized to use at least two of these games in his project, and it seems, but not entirely certain, that he is not authorized to use the other three games included in NiFTy Arcade. Ello is not yet licensed to use the PICO-8 engine used in all five of these games.
Ultimately, NiFTy Arcade was pulled from the GameStop marketplace and Ello’s account was suspended, but the decentralized nature of NFTs means that users can still access copies of these unlicensed games with potentially no recourse to their creators. Ello offered to compensate developers hurt by NiFTy Arcade while reviving the project on another marketplace, promising future games would “correctly abide by all terms of service for the NFT marketplace.”
This story is yet another example of the shady behavior fueled by the NFT market. The summer 2021 promise of NFTs ensures that artists’ “ownership” of their work quickly gives way to the reality that their work is often being used against their will. As Brazilian developer Mark Venturelli eloquently said in his presentation at the Brazil International Games Festival, NFTs by themselves do not offer any tangible benefits or use cases to generate profits, and that is all. (opens in new tab) last month. This isn’t even the first instance of an NFT creator turning an existing game into a blockchain token, MetaGravity’s Retro Arcade Collection (opens in new tab) Offer this treatment to a range of older, bigger-budget games.
It’s especially hateful to see this mentally depressing NFT crap from GameStop festering when you remember that the company fired a ton of employees recently (opens in new tab)including some of our peers at the long-running video game magazine Game Informer.