Despite weathering historic bankruptcies and scandals, the gaming and Web3 industries never stopped evolving. To continue this trajectory, attendees at his SEG3 conference in Los Angeles agreed that ownership and the revenue it generates is important. However, it was less clear whether blockchain technology had a role to play.
SEG3, which comes to California after two years in Europe, is being pitched as a “global meeting place for the sports, entertainment and gaming industries to connect and learn how to build better digital products and experiences.”
Craig Laliberte, director of business development at Epic Games, took to the stage to showcase the many uses of Unreal Engine, including using the powerful tool to create animations for NFL teams and Fortnite. Laliberte also discussed the developer’s new digital asset marketplace, his FAB, but clarified that the images available for purchase are not NFTs.
“[FAB] We’re not going to host anything NFT or blockchain-based,” Laliberte said. “I’ll stick to regular purchases.”
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are championing blockchain technology in everything from gaming to healthcare, but entertainment studios don’t seem to be as bullish. And for many in the gaming industry, NFT has become a dirty word associated with money extortion and fraud.
Gamers have been vocal about their distaste for crypto-based JPEGs. In 2022, Epic Games raised $2 billion to “build the metaverse,” but NFTs were not included in that list of ambitions.
Despite steering the new digital asset market away from the dreaded NFTs, Epic Games has allowed blockchain-based games on the Epic Game Store. The Solana ecosystem, which includes the developers of the highly anticipated Star Atlas, has entered the store as a viable alternative to platforms like Steam.
When asked how gamers can own assets without using blockchain, Laliberte said gamers’ purchases are not limited to Epic Games’ technology.
“So the most important thing is, we’re not locking you into Unreal Engine or UEFI when you can move data in and out as needed,” he said. Decryption. “These assets are your assets and you are free to take them anywhere.”
In another panel discussion, Álvaro Verilla, Universal Music Group’s senior vice president of new business, said there is no need to adopt blockchain technology.
“No matter how well-crafted your strategy is, there’s no reason to adopt these technologies if they don’t address your specific needs or aren’t useful,” Verilla said. “The NFT protocol was perfected in 2020 from a technology perspective.”
However, when we asked participants why they still don’t want to get involved in blockchain, the answer came down to risk.
“Listed companies are avoiding blockchain risks because of the volatility of the cryptocurrency market, as well as fraud and regulation,” said a Sony Interactive executive. “Also, you don’t really need that technology.”
“To be worth the investment, blockchain needs to be able to do things that current technology already does,” they said.
However, believers in cryptocurrencies remain steadfast in their belief that proving who created and owns an asset through the blockchain is necessary to obtain true ownership.
“We always talk about right-click and save,” said Kyler Frisbee, Pogs Digital CEO and co-founder. Decryption. “Unless you have something to establish your ownership, it’s not real, real ownership. Blockchain is a decentralized fundamental ledger that allows all of us to know who owns what. It is not stored by a central organization that communicates information to the public.”
Frisby emphasized that the only way to truly own an asset is to actually manage it. His comments come after the film Oppenheim was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, encouraging movie lovers to purchase and own physical media rather than relying on the streaming benefits of his service. One director, Christopher, echoed his Nolan comments.
“Whether it’s a physical wallet or a digital wallet, you don’t know if there’s real ownership until you put it in your wallet,” Frisbie said. “Regardless of whether your name is on the deed or not, there needs to be some real way to prove ownership that we all recognize, but without blockchain, how could that ever be done? I don’t know what happened.”
Edited by Ryan Ozawa.