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"No one is doing NFTs" at Blizzard Entertainment, says Mike Ybarra

NFTs aren't coming to Blizzard games anytime soon.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

April 18, 2022

2 Min Read
Blizzard Entertainment's Irvine office
No NFT development happening here, apparently

Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra rushed to confirm this weekend that the studio is not working on any NFT projects at the moment. His comments came after numerous outlets reported on a survey sent out to Blizzard players that asked about their feelings on metaverse and play-to-earn games.

The survey (conducted by YouGov) appears to be a legitimate Blizzard survey (users reported that on completion, they were routed to the Blizzard online store), but the text doesn't indicate if the company has any active plans to jump feet-first into cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, fans began sharing the survey and voicing complaints about the prospect of the technology.

After Video Game Chronicles' Andy Robinson tweeted out their coverage of the survey, Ybarra swooped in quickly to clarify the situation. "No one is doing NFTs," he said in a reply to Robinson. 

We're sort of left to understand that it's Blizzard Entertainment that isn't doing any NFTs, as there are definitely people "doing" NFTs. Either that or Ybarra tweeted from the wrong account and is just personally in denial about NFTs (that's a joke about his phrasing, just to be clear).

Blizzard's lack of interest in NFTs might seem obvious, because the company's target audience has been the most vocally opposed to the technology. NFT developers are quick to state that this demographic isn't who they want to appeal to either. 

The company is already working on mobile versions of Diablo and Warcraft, so it's not surprising that a survey like this might trigger some speculation.

Also, Blizzard already makes games in a space that overlap with the world of NFT games. one does shudder at the thought of a blockchain executive pitching Hearthstone NFTs, or turning World of Warcraft's pet battles into an Axie Infinity-like.

On the other hand, this company was already burned by Diablo III's real-money auction house. It has ample reason to be wary of this market.

Adding this kind of game to the company's portfolio could turn out well, but the company is already slammed by controversy thanks to the numerous lawsuits against it and parent company Activision Blizzard for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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