Steam Bans CS:GO Accounts – How Can NFTs Fix the Gaming Industry?
Recent Steam bans on CS:GO accounts spurs debate on NFTs as a solution, with Ubisoft leading in blockchain-based gaming experimentation.
Recent events have seen approximately 40 players of the highly popular video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), experiencing a ban on their accounts from the Steam platform. As a result of this ban, these players have reportedly lost access to over $2 million worth of unique in-game items, known as “skins.” In response to this, advocates for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken to social media platforms to voice their beliefs that NFTs could prevent this from happening.
CS:GO’s Popularity and the Skins Market
CS:GO is a well-known game on the Steam platform, often pulling in over one million active players. The team-based first-person shooter game boasts a significant unofficial market where players gamble with unique in-game skins. However, Valve, the creator of the game, recently put an end to such activities.
With the recent wave of bans on Steam, more than $2 million worth of these unique skins, tied to the banned accounts, have now become permanently out of reach. The skins which often take the form of special designs for items such as guns, knives, and gloves, remain lost as long as the bans are intact.
This comes on the heels of a previous wave of bans that hit CS:GO skin traders for links to gambling sites.
The Role of the “Supplier Program”
It appears that the recently banned accounts were linked to a “supplier program” for CSGORoll, a third-party platform where players can trade skins. CSGORoll, known for its CS:GO-themed gambling games, operates using a decentralized app built on the EOS blockchain.
Information about the bans came to light through Variance Warren, allegedly part of a rival gambling site team, CSGOEmpire. Warren’s claims include that the banned accounts had preferential withdrawal rates, crypto cashouts were permitted unlawfully, and that CSGORoll was functioning as an illicit casino targeting minors.
EyE, the anonymous owner of CSGORoll, has denied these allegations, implying a personal feud with Monarch, the creator of CSGOEmpire, is to blame for the controversy.
CS:GO Players’ Reactions to Bans
While Valve has the authority to shut down accounts that violate the game’s terms of service, the CS:GO community has been vocal about their grievances on Twitter. There are accounts of players lamenting the loss of rare skins and voicing hopes for the bans to be overturned.
NFTs as a Potential Solution
This incident has fueled discussions about the potential of NFTs to prevent such issues. NFT advocates believe that NFTs could ensure full control and ownership of their assets to the players.
NFTs, or blockchain tokens, could represent in-game items and be traded across different marketplaces. This means that even if a player were banned from a game, they would retain the ability to sell or trade their in-game items.
However, as it stands, players of games like CS:GO, Fortnite, and Roblox don’t really own the skins tied to these games. The skins are confined to the specific game and lack utility outside the game developer’s ecosystem.
The Case for True Ownership
The phrase “Not your keys, not your crypto” is a popular warning within the crypto community. It cautions users about the potential risks of storing cryptocurrency on centralized exchanges, or custodial wallets. In these cases, the exchange, not the user, technically owns the assets.
This situation is reminiscent of Steam users losing access to their accounts and subsequently their assets, highlighting the need for true ownership and custody of assets.
The recent bans, resulting in loss of highly valuable skins and assets worth millions, have upset the gaming community. A lack of transparency and communication from Valve has exacerbated the situation.
The Potential of NFTs in Gaming
With true ownership and custody of their assets, gaming giants like Valve wouldn’t be able to seize these assets. They could, however, limit the use of these assets in-game and affect their market value.
So, could NFTs provide a solution to this issue? The answer is a potential yes. However, the integration of NFTs into games like CS:GO seems unlikely, given Valve’s decision to ban NFT games from Steam. As a result, CS:GO players, and others alike, remain at the mercy of these centralized gaming platforms.
The Intersection of Gaming and NFTs: Ubisoft’s Venture
Ubisoft, a leading video game publisher, has recently ventured into the realm of blockchain technology and NFTs. Their latest release, Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles, signifies their entry into the burgeoning world of blockchain-based games. The game is a player-versus-player tactical engagement where players command mythical champions in combat against each other.
Ubisoft’s foray into blockchain gaming didn’t start with Champions Tactics. In 2021, the company experimented with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, incorporating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the gameplay. However, the project was eventually discontinued in April 2022 due to community backlash.
Despite the skepticism from traditional gamers, big names in the gaming industry continue to explore the integration of blockchain technology. Companies such as Square Enix, NCSOFT, and Jam City have all made notable strides in this area. Jam City launched Champions: Ascension in December 2021, and Square Enix’s Symbiogenesis is set to launch on the Polygon blockchain.
Champion Tactics – The Epitome of Ownership in Gaming?
Ubisoft’s Champions Tactics operates on the Oasys blockchain. This innovative gaming giant also functions as one of the node operators on the layer 1 blockchain network, alongside other major gaming companies like Square Enix, Sega, and Bandai Namco.
In Ubisoft’s initial attempt at NFT gaming, Ghost Recon used NFT assets from the Tezos blockchain, which powered its Quartz platform. The new game, Champions Tactics, may also incorporate NFTs, providing a layer of unique ownership and customization for players.
The teaser trailer for Champions Tactics doesn’t reveal much about the gameplay but it does showcase a world of mythical legends in a utopian world named Grimoria.
Blockchain gaming has faced some slowdown due to the bear crypto market, but it remains a highly active sector. According to a report by DappRadar, a decentralized apps analytics and research firm, the industry maintains the highest level of on-chain activity, accounting for about 38% overall.
The introduction of NFTs into mainstream gaming could revolutionize the way players interact with games. Despite initial resistance, incorporating NFTs into games like CS:GO and Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles could provide players with more control over their in-game assets, and even extend their utility beyond the confines of the game. As companies like Ubisoft continue to pioneer these efforts, we might see more games exploring this promising intersection between gaming and blockchain technology.