Valve issued a silent but shocking update to its developer and publisher terms this week, outright banning any games that are based around NFTs or cryptocurrency from its platform.
According to the new guidelines, any "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs" are now banned from launching on the platform. If you're a little confused by this new technology, as I often am, NFTs are effectively a digital signature that proves the ownership of a digital item such as an image file. The signature is stored in a 'blockchain' in a similar way to cryptocurrencies, which makes these impossible to alter without also altering all the signatures that were added to the blockchain after it.
NFTs are usually traded for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins, which you can then sell for US dollars or other currencies. Valve's decision to ban these from its store was noted by the Crypto-based game Age of Rust on Twitter, who will likely now be kicked off Valve's platform as a result.
Community: A few minutes ago, we were notified that @Steam will be kicking *all blockchain games* off the platform, including Age of Rust, because NFTs have value. Behind the scenes, we've had good communication and have been upfront with Steam. #blockchaingames #NFT— Age of Rust (@SpacePirate_io) October 14, 2021
The reason for banning NFTs and cryptocurrencies isn't clear, although it's likely to be financially motivated as opposed to any kind of moral decision around the recent controversies that have centred around blockchains. NFTs have recently been used to scam people out of millions of dollars, with bad actors selling stolen art in the form of JPG files or similar. Additionally, the environmental impact of crypto and blockchain technology, in general, remains incredibly controversial.
Valve has yet to confirm the reason for banning these types of games from its platform, but we'll be sure to keep an eye on the situation and report any further news as we learn it.