Valve Bans NFTs and Crypto in Steam Titles, Age of Rust First to Go
When it comes to online games there are all forms of ways to unlock items. Consider something like Call of Duty, where players will earn Cod Points through the battle pass, but players are also able to buy them to purchase items in-game. While these forms of lootboxes and online bundles are one thing, there’s a new type of premium currency that’s attempting to make it known in the gaming world: NFTs.
For those who don’t know what an NFT is, an NFT is a Non-Fungible Token. These online items can come in the form of GIFs or images, and the token part of the Non-Fungible Token is due to the fact that only one person owns the image. It makes the NFTs one of a kind, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, this is how they sell.
All Manner of companies are trying to jump into the NFT market, a while back Esports teams like 100 Thieves, T1, Virtus.Pro, and even companies like Magic the Gathering have been jumping in on the NFT Craze. To someone who’s not in the know about NFTs, the concept of “Owning” an image or a meme sounds silly. To the people who purchase these for upwards of $2000, they’re a status symbol and a piece of the internet that only one person has.
Now, these are trying to make their way into gaming. Valve, however, isn’t putting up with it, and they’ve since banned the use of blockchain-based gaming inside of the Steam storefront. The reason? Games like Age of Rust. However, What exactly was Age of Rust planning, and why did Valve shut their game down from the Steam storefront?
Age of Rust & Their Plans for Blockchain-Based Gaming
Age of Rust is a dark sci-fi title that’s been making its rounds on the internet for its interest in making a game that’s focused inside of the blockchain, the network that connects crypto and NFTs.
The game markets itself as a story-based first-person shooter. However, what the game also does is provides players with the ability to use NFTs. The game must be linked to the player’s Enjin wallet to begin. Enjin is the platform Age of Rust is using for their game.
The game is able to be played without the use of NFTs, but some of the game’s content is locked behind players owning them. According to the game’s website, there are eight Core Mission Cards, which unlock the missions for the game, and will only allow players to play them if they have the NFT in their wallet.
Being that NFTs are a fixed amount, only 1,000 players will be able to play the first mission when the game launches according to the Enjin site for the first card. Player’s can reserve the card for $16.30. However, if they’re too late and can’t get a reservation for the mission, they’ll have to pay around $171.15 to purchase the card from another player.
This is the way that the game works, and everything from missions, to weapons, and buffs for those missions are locked behind NFTs. Players will be able to attempt certain missions without spending any money on the tokens, but they’re not going to do well, as some of the missions will require that the player has a certain buff. Some content aside from the missions such as rewards is completely blocked off from being played if the player doesn’t have any tokens. According to the website for Age of Rust, “game has multiple reward levels for solving puzzles. To get access to the higher level reward puzzles and potential to unlock a reward, you need tokens.”
Treasure hunts are also something that will take place in the game, though they also require gold cards, which are NFTs. There’s also free treasure hunts in the game every week, but the prizes and rewards are only available to the first 10 players who make it to the end. This means that players who try the treasure hunt but don’t succeed won’t be able to reap the rewards because they were too slow.
Even the guns in the game are NFTs. The “KV Auto Pulse Rifle” is an NFT that goes for 82 cents when reserved, which is modest for the price, but it still falls in line with having an NFT to play the game.
Needless to say, Age of Rust’s goal is to combine gaming with blockchain technology, where every item the player owns is some form of NFT. If the game does successful, the NFTs will skyrocket, as a player who just purchased the game isn’t going to be able to play due to the cards for the mission being extremely high in price.
Valve’s Issue with Age of Rust
Valve’s issue with Age of Rust lies with the focus of the game, the blockchain. The game’s focus on making every aspect of the game a token that needs to be owned to gain access to parts of the title isn’t the reason that the game is being removed from the storefront. The reason is that each NFT for the game has to be purchased with real money. Valve’s insistence that players are spending real hard-earned cash on NFTs for titles on Steam is the reason they’ve not only kicked off Age of Rust but every other blockchain-based game on the platform.
Age of Rust posted on their Twitter account yesterday talking about the removal from the storefront. “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.”
They also posted an image from the partner program site for Steam, which shows that a new rule has been added, banning games that are “built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”
This lines up with Steam’s previous decisions to shut down CSGO gambling operations where skins are used as tokens for the player to use. While it’s true that Steam has a community marketplace where players can trade items and sell items for Steam credit, that credit cannot be turned into real money, like NFTs or Crypto.
Needless to say, while the developers of Age of Rust may think that their game is the future of gaming, what remains is what players are going to think of the game when it launches. If the game costs money, it’ll feel like a scam because the content is being blocked by not owning a hundred dollar token, which if the game is being sold for 40, 50, or even 60 dollars, is going to increase that feeling since the game is full price. However, if the game is free, it’ll also feel like a scam since the focus of the game is to find a way for players to get their hands on tokens just to play it. With price tags of over 150 for missions, and with only 1000 in circulation, nothing about the game seems like it’s done for gamers, at least on paper. The game isn’t out yet, and with the title off of Steam, with all of the other blockchain-based titles, it’s up to the audience of Age of Rust to make their decision about the game when it launches. Perhaps there will be another publisher that is willing to put the blockchain-based title on their platform.