Ubisoft's NFT announcement video is overwhelmingly disliked

Correction: The original version of this article claimed the video had been de-listed from YouTube. A spokesman for Ubisoft says that trailer was never publicly listed on YouTube, as it is embedded on the Quartz website.

Original story follows:

It seems like only yesterday we were reporting on Ubisoft's plans to capitalise on the NFT trend by, erm, selling helmets with little numbers on them. Oh wait, it pretty much was. And it looks like folks are just as impressed as you'd expect—using a Chrome extension to restore YouTube dislikes, we can see the video attracted an extraordinary 31,000 dislikes to just over 1,000 likes.

The Ubisoft Quartz announcement can still be viewed, and the website remains live albeit bereft of any content (as was the case when the video launched).

Ubisoft only announced this was coming in November, and it's part of a wider trend among big tech companies toying with the idea of NFTs, not all of whom are sold. EA called NFTs 'the future of our industry', but Xbox boss Phil Spencer's worried they might be 'exploitative', Discord teased their integration then swiftly u-turned after major backlash, while Steam's just decided to ban them altogether

The thing with the Ubisoft Quartz pitch is, as many have pointed out, these items don't actually seem to be doing anything that games haven't already incorporated for a long time. The 'unique' element of them, a numbering system, is hard to get excited about. And fundamentally Ubisoft couldn't have picked a worse game to showcase cosmetics with: Breakpoint is by its grim mercenary nature a game with a rather drab aesthetic. It's bonkers to have gone for this over, say, the more recent Rider's Republic. Although perhaps the whole point is that, if it's all a disaster, at least it's with an older game and can all be swept under the rug more easily.

A major publisher announcing a new foray into a tech trend is big news, whatever one thinks of NFTs, but it's pretty clear that the public doesn't think much. Ubisoft is clearly already some way up the path on this technology and so a u-turn may be out of the question.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."