Recently, NFTs have exploded in popularity, with some collectors willing to pay millions of dollars for the rarest of the rare tokens in the industry. As these digital tokens have evolved, their utility has been hard to ignore, with gaming being one of the first places they have been used.
In the gaming space, a company known as Valve was one of the first companies to pioneer the sale and trading of digital items in games. For example, Counter-Strike gun skins and Steam trading cards were some of the first NFTs available in the space. However, last week, Steam, a Valve platform announced that it updated its rules to ban games that were built on blockchain technology.
Now, developers are pushing back in a public letter asking Valve to reconsider its ban.
Developers Ask Valve to Reverse Blockchain Ban
29 NFT developers got together to write a letter to Valve, titled “Open Letter to Valve: Don’t Ban Web3 Games.” In the letter, the authors point to the fact that, since inception, Valve has been a leader in experimentation and innovation through their games and their Steam Platform. Here’s a key quote from the letter:
Valve is recognized for their willingness to experiment and innovate, not only with their games, but with the Steam platform itself. Considered as pioneers for changing how gamers sell and trade digital game items over a decade ago, Valve likely understands the impact that a more concrete medium would facilitate. In the spirit of that pioneering vision, we ask that you take a chance on this rapidly growing technology: remember your roots, let the industry prove itself as a positive contributor to the overall gaming ecosystem, and reverse your decision to prohibit an entire category of software from the Steam platform.
The 29-member group closed the letter with the following:
Valve, Web3 game are a fast-moving and exciting category of games that have a place within the Steam ecosystem. Please consider changing your stance on this issue and permit tokens, and, more broadly, the use of blockchain tech on the Steam platform. Don’t ban blockchain-based games on Steam.
The letter was a response to updated rules that explained the platform would prohibit applications that “issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs”. Unfortunately however, Valve has declined to publicly explain why it decided to ban blockchain-related games.
On the other hand, a tweet from SpacePirate, the developer of Age of Rust, speculated that Valve simply didn’t want items that can have real world value on their platform. Here’s the tweet:
Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform. While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future. It’s why I started this journey with all of you.
— Age of Rust (@SpacePirate_io) October 14, 2021
While others have speculated as well, the above tweet seems to be the most relevant and thought out answer as to why Web3 games were banned. Nonetheless, the blockchain world is awaiting Valve’s response.
Will the Letter Work?
It’s not currently clear whether or not the letter to Valve will actually sway the company’s opinion in terms of blockchain-related games. However, the letter was thought out and will likely appeal to the company for multiple reasons:
- Pioneer. The authors of the letter recognized Valve, and its Steam platform, as pioneers in the gaming industry that laid the groundwork for the new age of games as we know it.
- Consumer Demand. The letter will also likely push the company to consider consumer demand. As NFTs continue to grow in popularity, consumers will ultimately choose other platforms if the company doesn’t decide to cater to the desires of gamers.
- A Fundamental Shift. The letter points to the fact that a fundamental shift is taking place in gaming, and as the gaming ecosystem evolves, old-school games will become less and less relevant. As a pioneer, Valve should want to stay ahead of the curve in the gaming industry and with the belief that Web3 games are the next big hit, and the letter pointing to the fundamental shift towards them, Valve may decide to reconsider.
All told, Valve is its own company, with its own leadership, and able to make its own decisions. However, the well-thought out letter presented by Web3 developer has the potential to be a eye opener to the audience, potential profits, and position as a pioneer that Valve stands to lose if it doesn’t reconsider its decision.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that, at least for now, Web3-related games are banned from the Steam platform. However, as the gaming industry experiences a fundamental shift toward the blockchain, Valve may have no choice but to change its stance as the gaming community often demands the latest and greatest in technology. Nonetheless, the saga continues and we’ll be following it every step of the way.