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Civilization’s Sid Meier blasts NFTs, game monetisation

“The real opportunity is keeping our focus on gameplay.”

Civilization creator Sid Meier, a veteran of games development, has spoken out about the industry’s ongoing push towards further monetisation.

Speaking to BBC News on the 30th anniversary of the original Civilization’s release, Meier issued a stark warning that progress in game development was beginning to forget about gameplay itself.

And on NFTs, Meier warned that chasing this form of monetisation risked alienating players altogether.

“The real challenge and the real opportunity is keeping our focus on gameplay,” said Meier. “That is what is unique, special and appealing about games as a form of entertainment.

“When we forget that, and decide it’s monetisation or other things that are not gameplay-focused, when we start to forget about making great games and start thinking about games as a vehicle or an opportunity for something else, that’s when we stray a little bit further from the path.”

Several games companies have floated the idea of exploring NFTs in their games – although a couple have since thought better of it. EA seemingly backtracked on its previous enthusiasm for NFT projects in a recent financial call, while Worms maker Team17 swiftly ditched its own NFT push after universal backlash. Video game voice actor Troy Baker attempted his own NFT partnership – and then U-turned.

Other games companies are persevering, however. Ubisoft is seemingly still invested in the idea, while Farmville maker Zynga revealed plans for a studio-sized group making blockchain and NFT games by year’s end.

“I think we need to be sure that our games continue to be high quality and fun to play – there are so many forms of entertainment out there now,” Meier concluded. “We’re in a good position… but we need to be sure we realise how critical gameplay is – and how that is the engine that really keeps players happy, engaged and having fun.”

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