[Update – February 1 @ 4:15 PM ET]: That didn’t last long. Following yesterday’s report on Team17 preparing a MetaWorms NFT project, the company backed out on its plans. Fans and developers alike responded negatively to Team17’s initial announcement, and will no longer pursue the project. It writes: “Team17 is today announcing an end to the MetaWorms NFT project. We have listened to our teamsters, development partners, and our games’ communities, and the concerns they’ve expressed, and have therefore taken the decision to step back from the NFT space.”
The original story, published on January 31, is as follows.
Despite the endless protests made by both developers and the gaming community at large, major gaming companies remain eager to have a sweet piece of that NFT pie. Multiple people have already pointed out the flaws with NFTs and why they do not make for a sustainable long-term marketplace, but it appears that publishers mainly care about their short-term profitability at the moment. Team17, the publisher behind a number of successful indie games, has unfortunately fully jumped into the NFT market. Today, it announced its own collection of NFTs based on its long-running franchise Worms. Notably, this decision has already met resistance from indie studio Aggro Crab Games, which stated that it will not work with Team17 unless the publisher reverses course.
According to a press release, these new NFTs, which Team17 refers to as the “MetaWorms NFTs,” will provide “documented ownership indefinitely,” a claim that seems fallacious considering NFTs tend to come in the form of links that could become permanently lost if their servers went down. The press release also suggests that people are unable to copy these NFTs, a bold and frankly amusing statement considering I just copied the example NFT that Team17 provided onto a Word document. Additionally, the press release advertises these NFTs as environmentally sustainable, which is an issue frequently brought up with NFTs.
A damaged partnership
As for Aggro Crab Games, the studio announced its plans to cease working with Team17 on its official Twitter account. According to its statement, the team at Aggro Crab Games does not believe that NFTs could ever function as an environmentally friendly product or a useful product, for that matter. The studio proceeds to refer to NFTs as “an overall fucking grift.” Afterward, it implored its followers not to harass any of Team17’s employees, as it suspects that the decision to pursue NFTs likely came from the higher-ups in the company.
The statement proceeds to encourage other developers who have worked with Team17 in the past to follow suit and quit collaborating with the company for as long as it continues its current trajectory. Aggro Grab Games concluded its statement with the words: “I fucking hate it here.”
— AGGRO CRAB (@AggroCrabGames) January 31, 2022
How do the employees feel about this?
A recently published report by Eurogamer suggests that Aggro Crab Games’ suspicions regarding who decided to put out those Worms NFTs were not too far off. According to the report, many of the teams operating within Team17 did not know anything about the company’s NFT plans before it suddenly announced them today. Employees that did know about the plans were vocal in their opposition to them, but Team17 ultimately went ahead with the announcement. At the very least, it does seem like Team17 knows about the gaming community’s disdain toward NFTs, as it reassured Eurogamer that it currently does not plan on incorporating NFTs into its published indie games.
Ultimately, it is incredibly disappointing that Team17 chose to announce its line of Worms NFTs, as it feels like it is neglecting to prioritize the concerns of its playerbase in favor of short-term monetary gains. It remains possible that Team17 will ultimately scrap its NFT plans, if more indie developers decide to jump ship.