GameStop’s NFT Marketplace Sold Stolen Indie Games
Sclerotic retailer Funko Pop GameStop is continuing its ill-advised pivoting of the NFT market despite a series of embarrassments. Less than two weeks after news broke that his service has hosted an NFT “adaptation” of a famous image of a 9/11 victim (opens in a new tab) falling to death, a report from Ars Technica (opens in a new tab) revealed that the GameStop NFT Marketplace facilitated the sale of unauthorized NFT copies of indie games.
An individual named Nathan Ello released the NiFTy Arcade Collection on GameStop’s marketplace, earning 8.4 ETH (about $14,000) in initial sales. Ello definitely didn’t have permission to use at least two of those games in his project, and it also appears, but isn’t entirely certain, that he wasn’t permitted to use three more additional games included in NiFTy Arcade. Ello also did not have a license to use the PICO-8 engine used in these five games.
Ultimately, NiFTy Arcade was removed from the GameStop marketplace and Ello’s account was suspended, but the diffuse nature of NFTs means that users can still access their copies of these unlicensed games, and their creators can n have no recourse. Ello has offered to compensate developers harmed by NiFTy Arcade and has meanwhile relaunched the project in another marketplace with the promise that future games will be “in full compliance with all NFT marketplace terms of service.”
This story is another example of the shady behavior facilitated by NFT markets. The summer of 2021 promises that NFTs securing artists’ “ownership” of their work have quickly given way to a reality where their work is often exploited against their will. All this while NFTs themselves continue to offer no tangible benefit or use case beyond generating profits, as Brazilian developer Mark Venturelli so aptly put it in his keynote at the International Games Festival. from Brazil. (opens in a new tab) last month. It’s not even the first time NFT creators have turned existing games into blockchain tokens, with MetaGravity’s Retro Arcade Collection (opens in a new tab) offering this treatment to a selection of older, bigger budget games.
It’s especially heinous to see this spiritually deadly NFT nonsense from GameStop fester when you remember that the company recently laid off a significant number of employees. (opens in a new tab)including some of our peers from longtime gaming magazine Game Informer.