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Phil Spencer seems wary of "exploitative" NFT projects

That's not a "no" on NFTs, but it seems like Spencer doesn't want people treating games as work.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

November 17, 2021

1 Min Read
A photo of an Xbox Series X|S controller
Photo by Kamil S via Unsplash

Phil Spencer's media tour continued this week with comments to Axios indicating how team Xbox is thinking about non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And in his comments, it seems that branch of Microsoft is trying to avoid putting any projects on its video game platform that might seem "exploitative."

That doesn't mean the company's shying away from the emissions-burning, somewhat scam-affiliated technology, but there is something notable about the company not wanting to boast that it's all-in on the technology. 

Spencer told Axios that while he sees a lot of experimentation and creativity at play in the space, he added that "some of the creative that I see today feels more exploitive than about entertainment."

The head of Xbox didn't specify which projects fit that bill, but it's worth noting that some of the more successful blockchain game projects on the market right now that let players earn cryptocurrency do have issues where players are sometimes clocking in because it's one of most reliable ways to earn money at the moment (or it was).

So will we see NFT projects on Xbox in the future? Probably. Spencer said that he doesn't see every NFT game as "exploitative," but that he thinks "we're kind of in that journey of people figuring it out." (Microsoft has already dipped its toes into the NFT waters, offering some weird Windows 11 collectibles to celebrate the launch of its new operating system).

But when several other game industry CEOs and executives are offering up positive comments about the technology in earnings calls, it's notable that an executive at one of the industry's major platform owners is willing to voice some skepticism about the technology.

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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