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Dev surprises blockchain-sponsored game festival with talk branding NFTs a "nightmare"

Mark Venturelli at Brazil's International Games Festival

A game developer set to speak on the “Future of Game Design” at Brazils International Games Festival instead surprised attendees with a talk on “Why NFTs are a nightmare”.

Sponsors of the festival included a number of NFT and blockchain companies, such as Lakea and Ripio, as well as panels from sponsors like “Web3 and the New Generation of Games”.

However, Mark Venturelli – best known for developing the game Chroma Squad – surprised attendees and sponsors alike with his statement against crypto gaming.

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“These people are outsiders here, theyre not important,” Venturelli told PCGamer after the event. “Theyre just trying to buy their relevance, because they have no actual influence over the future of our industry. If you just give them this space uncontested, youre just giving them exactly what they want, and buying their narrative that theyre relevant.”

The title change was a gimmick, with the developer beginning his talk about new trends in gaming before scratching out the title and changing the topic, which was met with applause by the audience.

And although the topic change was controversial, it was cleared with the festivals organisers beforehand and wasnt censored – despite the sponsorship.

“Ive heard that the sponsors got really mad,” Venturelli says. “They tried to break into the talk while I was talking, but the organisation would not let them. That doesnt surprise me, because the organisation, not at a single point did they censor me, did they stop me from putting what I wanted on the slides. I gave them access to the slides before the talk. There was never any kind of intention on their side to shut me up or anything like that.”

Venturellis presentation has been posted to YouTube, with his slides translated into English. It notes how “everything Play to Earn can do…has already existed for over a decade in other games (but more efficient)”.

Much of his argument, though, comes down to trust.

“Computationally, like in real life, if you dont trust the people that youre working with, you have to spend a lot more energy to achieve the same things,” Venturelli told PCGamer. “If Im living with you in the same house and we dont trust each other, I have to, every time before I leave my house, hide my valuables. I have to make inventory of the things that I own, and maybe put cameras or locks inside of things. When I come back home I need to check everything and see if you messed with any of my stuff, and make sure that you dont get into my room when Im sleeping and all that shit.

“Its so much energy that I have to use just to exist in a room with you, because I dont trust you. That, I feel, is a very good metaphor about how computationally blockchain works, and what is the underlying philosophical idea behind it, which is, We want a world without any sort of centralised authority because we cannot trust any of them ever. And that is the opposite of what we want as a society, in my opinion.”

Elsewhere in the games industry, Ubisoft launched an NFT platform claiming players “dont get it”, while EA has backtracked from its initial enthusiasm on the topic and Square Enix is researching the technology.

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