A consortium of blockchain companies, NFT gaming firms and the nonprofit Fight for the Future are calling on Valve to reverse its blockchain ban in an open letter published Tuesday.
Valve quietly instituted its Steam ban on blockchain-based games earlier this month with a change to its terms, adding to list of content that shouldn't be published on Steam "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs." It created a bit of an uproar, and led Epic Games to say it was open to such games so long as they follow the "follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group."
While many PC games in the past have spawned both legitimate and underground in-game economies, including Valve-made titles like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress, it appears the company is not interested in dealing with all the potential headaches that might arise from dealing with the crypto market, such as scams, fraud and volatile currency valuations.
However, Fight for the Future, a nonprofit focused on digital rights and privacy, and its partners are arguing against the ban, saying technologies like NFTs can "create new economic opportunities for users and creators":
Games that utilize blockchain technology and web3 token-based technologies like DAOs and NFTs can positively enhance the user experience of games, and create new economic opportunities for users and creators. Tokens, in particular, open up vast possibilities for users to interact, collaborate, and create tangible digital worlds and items that were previously impossible. These enhancements make games more decentralized, democratic, interactive, player focused systems. They also present an opportunity to streamline and modernize intellectual property rights in ways that would greatly benefit both independent creators and established corporations. These innovations would bring with them enhancements to music distribution, book publishing, collectables, and more.
Valve is recognized for their willingness to experiment and innovate, not only with their games, but with the Steam platform itself. Considered as pioneers for changing how gamers sell and trade digital game items over a decade ago, Valve likely understands the impact that a more concrete medium would facilitate. In the spirit of that pioneering vision, we ask that you take a chance on this rapidly growing technology: remember your roots, let the industry prove itself as a positive contributor to the overall gaming ecosystem, and reverse your decision to prohibit an entire category of software from the Steam platform.
Valve did not immediately respond to a request for comment.