EA CEO Andrew Wilson called NFT and “play-to-earn” games the “the future of our industry,” but added that “it's still early to figure out how that's going to work,” when asked about the topic during the company's earnings call this week.
“I think that in the context of the games we create and the live services that we offer, collectible digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future,” Wilson said. “So, it's still early to tell, but I think we're in a really good position, and we should expect us to kind of think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis.”
EA has yet to officially step into the NFT and “play-to-earn,” or blockchain space that's been growing in the past few years. “Play-to-earn” games often require players pay an up-front cost through cryptocurrency to play the game and collect unique, in-game items. Those items can then increase in value and be sold to other players. It's common for players to also have input on the game's development as their monetary stake in it increases the game's overall value.
Recent EA job listings include “NFT” and “blockchain” in the descriptions, suggesting that the company is at least aware of the genre's surge in popularity. A post for a senior director of the company's competitive gaming brand reads, “We set the pace for EA's investment in gaming subscriptions, our PC storefront and platform, competitive gaming (including FIFA, Apex Legends, and Madden NFL), as well as new business opportunities, including fantasy sports, blockchain and NFTs, and more.”
Earlier this week, Ubisoft announced its plans to develop blockchain games in its own earnings call. CEO Yves Guillemot called blockchain games a “revolution” in the industry, according to IBTimes. “We want to be one of the key players there,” Guillemot said.
NFT and blockchain games have been the target of much controversy in recent months. Steam banned blockchain games from its platform; Epic embraced them. A Squid Game-inspired blockchain game, that may or may not have even existed, was canceled at the same time that its creators pocketed $3.38 million in its tie-in cryptocurrency.