Steam is banning nearly all blockchain-based games that involve the transfer of crypto currency, including games that use the minting of NFTs as part of their gameplay. This week, the platform added a new rule for what you can't publish on Steam that bans "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs"
The developers of Age of Rust, a game that uses NFTs in its design, took to Twitter on Friday to announce that they are being removed from the platform due to the new rule.
"We chose to be upfront about blockchain gaming and NFTs. As a result, we finally lost the battle with Steam," Age of Rust developers explained. "While I'm disappointed for Age of Rust being removed, the point is more to the fact that Blockchain games as a whole are going to be removed. This is a setback for all [blockchain gaming companies]."
According to Age of Rust devs, from Steam's perspective, they don't allow items that have real-world value in games on their platform, which would include NFTs or cryptocurrency. Some have pointed out that the move is hypocritical on Steam's part since Valve owns both CS:GO and Team Fortress 2, games that have thriving markets in which people trade real-world cash to buy skins.
That said, NFT and Blockchain-based games are still in their infancy, and given the instability and dubious behavior of many companies and creators in those spaces, it's hard to blame Steam for being wary of such projects. But many blockchain companies fear that Steam will throw out good games along with the bad.
No matter the reason for the ban, the move is a huge setback for any developers who were planning on building blockchain or NFT mechanics into their games, since they will no longer have access to one of the largest gaming platforms in the world.
For now, Epic Games and other platforms haven't explicitly banned these games, though CEO of Epic Tim Sweeney already stated that he isn't interested in NFTs. It is unclear if his comments mean Epic will ban third-party devs from using them.
It will be interesting to see if one of the existing platforms like the Epic Game store becomes a safe haven for Blockchain and NFT games in the future.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.