Team17’s move into the NFT space hasn’t gone down particularly well on social media.
The indie publisher has partnered with Reality Gaming Group in order to create Worm NFTs that it promises are “low energy consuming.”
Reality Gaming Group uses their own “side-chain” of the Ethereum mainnet, which they claim means that the NFTs will be “environmentally friendly.” According to the press release, the cost of minting 100,000 NFTs uses the same amount of energy as eleven household’s yearly kettle usage.
The limited edition ‘MetaWorms’ collection will feature content from the franchise’s 26-year history, though there are very few examples available. The MetaWorms website does feature a rotating rainbow worm, however. So there’s that.
Reality Gaming Group and Team17 have also partnered with sustainability platform Coin 4 Planet, and a portion of every NFT sale will go directly to Refeed Farms, an organisation which uses vertical worm beds to replace synthetic fertilisers and replenish soil.
The announcement has faced near-universal criticism on social media, from journalists, developers and other industry professionals, as well as influencers and consumers. Furthermore, according to a report from Eurogamer, many Team17 employees were not informed about the plans until they were announced publicly this morning. Others at the company who were aware had voiced their disapproval, but evidently their concerns weren’t enough to prevent the deal from going forward.
In a statement to Eurogamer, Team17 said that it does not intend to introduce NFTs into the games it publishes.
“Team17 is licencing the Worms brand to our newest third-party partner so they can produce collectible digital artwork based on one of the most beloved IPs in indie games, in a similar way to already available physical merchandise,” a Team17 spokesperson told Eurogamer today.
“Team17 has no plans to introduce NFTs or play-to-earn NFT mechanics into any of its indie games label titles.”
Critics of the scheme have pointed out that even a “low energy” NFT still popularises a wider practice that is anything but environmentally friendly. Additionally, NFTs remain remarkably unpopular in gaming spaces, with many regarding them as dubious practice even without the environmental concerns.
It remains to be seen if the intense pushback will change Team17’s minds here – though it wouldn’t be the first time if it does. Voice actor Troy Baker has backtracked on his initial support of NFTs, after he faced backlash on social media – demonstrating that consumers seem to have little desire to engage with NFTs at all.