Game studios are turning games into work

in this new year On the same day, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda published an open letter. In it, he expresses his love for blockchain technology, and non-fungible token (NFT), joining Ubisoft, Peter Molyneux and Stalker 2 Developer GSC Game World is in the midst of a similar popular intervention. He said he expects these technologies to be “a major trend in future gaming.” The letter went as smoothly as you expected.

Commentators point out that Matsuda’s letter is puzzling and full of muddy technical jargon. However, he does make an instructive distinction. In Matsuda’s view, on the one hand, it’s playing for the sake of playing, or “having fun”…it’s entirely out of the individual’s desire for self-expression, the inconsistent personal feelings such as kindness and volunteerism. ”, on the other hand, “work for contribution,” a pursuit that should be nurtured by “clear incentives”—that is, money. The first, as Matsuda seems to suggest, is incomprehensible and strange. The second is smart, normal, and productive.

Matsuda equates gaming with work—especially paid labor. Building them this way, in terms of productivity and worker empowerment, is a strategy for getting you into technologies like NFTs. You’ll be more affected by this situation in the next few years, because some games are really indistinguishable from work.

Since we often describe play as work, using terms such as honing and reward, tend to farm simulator, log in to complete “daily tasks”, etc. Critics inevitably question Whether all we do in video games is play.

Of course, play and work mirror each other. Their difference is superficial and personal: killing the Silver Knight on the steps of Anor Londo all day to get the Darkmoon Blade is work because I hate it. But some lunatics might do it for fun, just as we pursue leisure activities that other people pay for, like fishing.Academics label modding an unpaid labor; It can easily be seen as a hobby, just like painting.Game designers often distinguish inner enjoyment (play Halo for 100 hours because you like headshots) and extrinsic reward (Does the same thing because you want to upgrade your battle pass to get camo weapon skins).The latter uses anthropologist David Graeber Calling humans “computational propensities,“And it’s often maligned, but social ratings aren’t inherently unfun or antagonistic. Really, I don’t think the average player cares if the game is closer to working principles.

NFTs bring this desire for extrinsic rewards to a logical conclusion: economic incentives. The idea is convincing on the surface. After all, games have economies and are notoriously lucrative. You play all day, paying for Gabe Newell’s long vacation in New Zealand, but unless you’re the lucky streamer, you’ll just get a loot box in return.scholar Often talk about unpaid “immaterial labor”“Log into Facebook and mine your preferences for ad revenue. Aren’t games alike? You can follow this logic: Developers are unionizing, why shouldn’t gamers? Developers should treat players like companies treat workers. We play contributions .’ We are productive. Like Players need a fairer progression system, they should also ask for cold hard cash payments.

axis infiniteis a blockchain-based video game in which players collect Pokémon-like pets tied to NFTs, showing how these “play as money” systems work. Players use their Axies in battles to earn cryptocurrency tokens. In 2020, someone bought a particularly rare cryptocurrency for $130,000. My colleague has pointed out Essentially, this is a simulation of capitalism, and some people do get out of poverty while playing the game.

But games differ from our day-to-day work in several extremely important ways, and these differences raise serious questions, explains Tom Bullock, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. First, gaming companies don’t have to treat you like a worker. “Work is more than just getting paid,” he said. “It also involves various forms of financial, pastoral and cultural support – being part of a union is part of that, as is having certain protections and rights.”

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