The games developer Ubisoft has declared its first ever NFT sale to be a roaring success, with all 2,000 limited edition items listed for sale on its Ubisoft Quartz platform selling out within just half an hour.
The company is hawking bundles of limited edition, in-game items as "Digits", which come with a one-of-a-kind serial number that makes it possible for them to be resold on the blockchain.
NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are a kind of digital certificate of ownership. The owner of each Digit is forever recorded on the Tezos blockchain, which is an alternative to chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Ubisoft is famous for titles such as Assassin's Creed, Far Cry and Rainbow Six, and is by far the best-known video games developer to embrace NFTs.
The company said the first Digits it sold were for in-game items that can be used in its new Ghost Recon Breakpoint title, including equipment such as helmets, weapons and vehicles. The items are entirely cosmetic, so players don't get an added advantage during gameplay.
The Ubisoft Quartz platform is the company's marketplace for Digits, and it's currently only available in the USA, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Brazil. Gamers can purchase Digits using several popular cryptocurrencies.
Ubisoft said it saw big demand for its first batch of NFTs partly because it has been able to address the environmental criticisms that are often associated with blockchain tech. The Digits are all based on the Tezos blockchain which is able to significantly reduce energy usage through what's known as a "proof-of-stake" protocol that performs transactions. That's different to a blockchain such as the Bitcoin network, which relies on proof-of-work hashing that uses massive amounts of energy.
The contrast is stark - Ubisoft says a single transaction on Tezos uses the equivalent amount of power necessary to stream a Netflix video for 30 seconds. On the other hand, a transaction on most proof of work blockchains uses the same amount of energy required to stream a video constantly for one year.
Games developers are known to generate huge revenues through the sale of in-game items to players. The difference with Ubisoft's Digits is that each item is entirely unique, with its own serial number, enabling them to be resold on third-party NFT marketplaces such as Rarible and Objkt.com. Any item that is later sold on will continue to list the name of its previous owners.
To date, Ubisoft has launched three Digits sales and is planning more in the new year. For now, it says the Digits are part of an "experiment" as it continues to explore the potential of blockchain technology in video games.
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