Team17, the hugely successful UK-based publisher and developer, has been facing a storm of bad publicity since revealing plans for a ‘MetaWorms’ NFT project. Many details were yet to be revealed, but the negative reaction was swift from some fans of the company and indeed employees; tellingly, major development partners had started to speak out and say they wouldn’t work with the company in future.
The reaction has been so strong that Team17 has now shut the project down, less than 48 hours after its reveal. The following message was shared on social media.
Though the initial announcement – which wasn’t widely distributed in the manner of normal game reveals and updates from the company – attempted to emphasize that the promotion would be environmentally conscious and that some proceeds would go to charity, the public response was nevertheless unsurprising. NFTs and the related issues around cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are extremely controversial at present, and in the gaming space any company moving into NFTs has faced resistance.
We’re likely to continue to see more companies explore NFTs; Ubisoft is remaining active and Square Enix has stated a resolve to explore options, while SEGA appears to have backtracked on its initial interest.
In this instance pressure from the public, staff and a number of business partners appears to have succeeded in reversing Team17’s course.