Game developer drops script to publicly dump NFTs and Web3 games

Over the weekend, game developer and designer Mark Venturelli became the focus of Brazil’s International Games (BIG) festival after delivering a scathing critique of the continued implementation of NFTs and other Web3 technologies in the wider gaming ecosystem.

Venturelli, who is perhaps best known for his work on the 2015s Chroma Squadwas originally scheduled to present a talk under the title “The Future of Game Design”, but the content of his presentation took a quick detour, eventually being retitled “Why NFTs are a nightmare” in the first five slides.

Among the festival’s sponsors were Ripio, a bitcoin-focused payment processing service for Latin American businesses, and Animus, a gaming consultancy with a dedicated blockchain gaming arm. In addition to these two sponsors, there are numerous panels dedicated to exchanges around “web3 and the new generation of games”.

Rique Sampaio, a Brazilian journalist, was the first to bring attention to Venturelli’s Audible after his thread of tweets documenting the situation drew attention.

Go rogue? — It is true that the web3 and the other crypto-adjacent companies that were present at the festival did not know what Venturelli was going to do. In a follow-up interview with Gamer on PCafter the weekend festivities, he admitted, citing that “the sponsors got really upset… They tried to intrude on the conversation while I was talking, but the organization [BIG] wouldn’t let them.

At the same time, Venturelli warned festival organizers before changing the script with his presentation, something he delivered remotely after testing positive for COVID-19. Despite some sort of financial interest to appease their sponsors, BIG went along with Venturelli’s plan.

For anyone interested, the entire presentation is now available on YouTube (although it is in Portuguese) and an English translation of the slides used in the talk can be accessed here.

Here are some of the points that Venturelli discusses: the economic costs of crypto mining and NFT minting, the similarities of NFT projects to pyramid schemes, as well as the inherent flaw in Bitcoin’s creation philosophy.

“I don’t feel like I hurt BIG by talking shit about NFTs,” Venturelli said, “because BIG doesn’t need those guys. It’s the other way around.”

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