Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has commented on NFTs and the blockchain, saying he believes in these technologies could has substance and value. In a speech to GI.bizFils-Aime said that it is common for new technologies to be divisive as soon as they emerge, citing free play and microtransactions as examples.
“I remember GDC where Satoru Iwata commented on free games and how he saw that they were a significant danger to the industry,” he said. “And yet we are today where there are high quality free games. There are revenue generation loops in the game that fans are … maybe no one is ever happy to spend money on content but they have nothing against spending money on outfits and that sort of thing, and they enjoy it. “
For NFTs and blockchain, the underlying technology is “not fully proven or sorted yet,” Fils-Aime admitted, and “scams and bad actors” take advantage of the situation.
Once again, history repeats itself, Fils-Aime said. “I’m old enough to remember the early days of the internet, scams and problems,” he said.
Fils-Aime went on to say that he understands people’s concerns about NFTs and blockchain, but he pushed back on the idea that these technologies are not going anywhere. He also said that not all blockchain systems are bad for the environment.
“So I really understand the division, and certainly the environmental elements – that’s something that needs to be addressed. And not all blockchains are that disruptive to the environment,” he said. “Of course there is a lot to prove, and the massive loss of value of various platforms in the blockchain environment that we have seen over the last few weeks tells you that this technology is still immature. But in my mind it is no reason to just put it completely aside and say that it can never be something of substance or value. ”
Also in the interview, Fils-Aime said that there should be a use case for NFTs and blockchain that provides a “really fun and creative experience that leverages technology” that convinces people why it works. As a hypothetical example, Fils-Aime envisioned a Pokémon-style game that also blends other game genres and allows players to create value in the digital objects they “own”. It’s very similar in concept to a game that already exists, Axie Infinity, which uses NFTs and blockchain. (Axie Infinity has also had its own share of issues, including a major digital robbery recently)
“What if?” What I give you is what if there was an experience that mixed the best of Pokémon with the best of five other genres or gaming experiences, and they all had this ability that you could play and create your own character, then swap them with another and get something of value back, ”said Fils-Aime. “Now it goes beyond a unique game or experience, it touches on a range of interesting experiences, and it becomes interesting and compelling.”
This is not the first time that Fils-Aime has commented on NFTs and blockchain. At SXSW this year, Fils-Aime said he “believes in the concept of playing-to-own in video games,” according to Kotaku.
“There are games where I’ve invested 300 hours in a game. And when I’m ready to move on, would not it be great to make money on what I’ve built?” he said. As an example, Fils-Aime said the island he created in Animal Crossing: New Horizons may be of value to someone else, so he sees the appeal of blockchain technologies to help people monetize their virtual creations.
Fils-Aime’s new book, Disrupting the Game, is now available. In the book, the director talks about his life and career, including becoming a director of several companies before joining Nintendo. Fils-Aime retired from Nintendo in 2019 and sat on GameStop’s board until he resigned because of what he described as a rudderless prospect.
For more, check out GameSpot’s summary of the best things we learned from Fils-Aime’s new book.