Indie Game Store Itch.io Calls NFTs a Scam, Asks Collectors to Re-evaluate Life Choices

Indie game marketplace Itch.io has called NFTs an embarrassing scam backed by companies that are only interested in their own profits and opportunity for wealth.
Image source: itch.io

Quick take:

  • Indie games marketplace Itch.io has called NFTs a scam.
  • The online storefront said it was replying to questions from fans about its stance on non-fungible tokens.
  • The tweet has since received several interactions (likes and retweets), most of which seem to second Itch.io’s comments judging by the number of likes.

Some of the gaming industry’s largest online stores are having an itchy moment following the emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as genuine alternatives to game monetization. 

Indie game marketplace Itch.io called NFTs a scam on Sunday, in what it said was a response to fans who have been asking about the online store’s stance on NFTs.

Writing in a Twitter thread, Itch.io said, “A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam.” 

The online gaming marketplace asked anyone who thinks they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet to re-evaluate their life choices.

Itch is one of the largest indie game marketplaces with more than 25 million users visiting their online store every month according to data by Similarweb. Although Itch’s official Twitter handle @Itchio has about 123.5k followers, their tweet calling NFTs a scam received nearly 210k likes as of this writing, nearly 42k retweets.

However, Itch blocked the commenting option, preventing users from giving their opinions.

The tweet comes following a recent update from India’s finance ministry which effectively legally recognised NFTs as taxable items. The Nation’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said virtual assets will be taxed at 30% and will have no expense deductions apart from the cost of acquisition.

Although Itch.io may have strong reasons for thinking NFTs are a scam, its claim could face strong resistance from the industry overall. Some industry experts maintain that scam in general is not specific to NFTs.

“I wouldn’t say all NFTs are scams although I tend to agree that there is no shortage of scams in this particular industry,” says Lior Yaffe a blockchain developer for the Ardor platform and a co-founder of Jelurida, a company that develops blockchain infrastructure and decentralized applications.

“NFTs [have] some legitimate use cases” adds Yaffe “for example as means to prove ownership and easily trade and monetize artifacts of digital art, gaming achievements, memorable moments, and even physical artifacts distributed online. It is fair to say that the legal and regulatory frameworks around NFTs are not ready for mainstream consumption yet but it is definitely not a reason to dismiss the whole use case.”

Several venture capital firms are betting big on the Indian GameFi and NFTs market, with the short video sharing NFT marketplace, Chingari, recently raising $15 million in a funding round to accelerate its expansion beyond non-metro cities.

Another Indie GameFi platform Colizeum raised $8.4 million in a funding round to beef up its user growth. The platform offers alternative game monetization models for mobile games, including the NFT-backed play-to-earn model.

Several traditional video game developers have already embraced NFTs and metaverse gaming with Ubisoft launching the Quartz platform in collaboration with Tezos blockchain to support in-game items.

Although some gaming franchises like Stalker 2 have been forced by their fanbase to walk back NFT-related plans, several are still teaming up with blockchain companies as they prepare for the next frontier in gaming.

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