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OPINION: Ubisoft is right: P2E guilds ARE ‘the future of gamer acquisition’

Competitors play an Ubisoft game on a giant screen as a crowd watches on.
Ubisoft's Nicholas Pouard said the company’s existing fanbase didn’t understand NFTs. (Source: Getty) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There are hundreds of millions of traditional mainstream gamers out there and many don’t like the idea of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In fact, they hate them. They fear them.

As the CEO of a guild with tens of thousands of whitelisted gamers desperate to find NFTs to play with, it’s a truth that can’t help but intrigue.

Clearly Balthazar’s players aren’t the traditional gamers companies like Ubisoft, Activision, Microsoft, Sony, Take-Two and EA acquire. Yet. But it’s becoming clear these huge companies want our players.

On 27 January 2022, an explosive interview on Finder with the man leading the blockchain and NFT charge for AAA games publisher Ubisoft set the internet on fire.

The VP of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab, Nicholas Pouard, was responding to the reaction to his Quartz blockchain platform and the company’s newly minted NFTs, called Digits.

He declared that the company’s existing fanbase didn’t understand NFTs and what they could offer. Gamers and game media pushed back with vulgarity, anger and frustration.

But it was a comment later in the interview that really caught my eye. Pouard declared guilds as “the future of user acquisition” and “a new tool for user acquisition”. In a more eye-opening comment about the way AAA developers may approach their games in the future, Pouard continued:

“If you build a good play-to-earn experience, those guilds will come to your game, and they will boost up your ecosystem. The net effect is that you need to engage the whole economy and community.”

AAAs working with NFT guilds

In truth, I was not surprised to read these comments. We're in a whirlwind, which is the metaverse, play-to-earn industry, and we know what's happening.

We understand the developments in the technology and the impact it's having from a social perspective. But I am pleased that it's being recognised by a large company like Ubisoft.

And Pouard is absolutely correct. Guilds are the future of player acquisition. They are focused on building the largest gaming communities on the internet, where companies like Ubisoft will have access to these players.

Pouard indicated that Ubisoft saw guilds as a more cost-effective means of increasing their player base than traditional marketing methods.

A method whereby they’re not trying to actively seduce new gamers, but instead use guilds as the ‘middlemen’.

The key to success for a company like Ubisoft, as it moves into the NFT space with its Quartz platform and Digits, is how it leverages guilds as a new middleware solution. Where we’re the link between the players and their games because we make it easy.

It’s a launchpad for games to launch their games into a community of players.

That's what's missing.

For many players, NFTs are not straightforward. You have to be technically minded. You have to know people who have done it already and can help.

Platforms that make it easy are the ones that are going to come through as the strongest.

Pouard knows this. Ubisoft knows it. And the reaction of mainstream gamers to the Finder interview should further reinforce the company’s belief that it needs to work with guilds.

The future of acquisition

While I agree with Pouard’s sentiments around the role guilds play within the NFT gaming ecosystem, I’d like to see companies such as Ubisoft see them for more than just player acquisition.

I feel that companies have a corporate social responsibility to help facilitate guilds and scholarship models, as profits can be funneled into developing countries.

As such, current players in the NFT games and blockchain gaming space should welcome these comments from Ubisoft. As I do.

It means that we’re becoming a lot more legitimate and recognised. And recognition comes with more funding and more trust, more liquidity to fuel the tokens, more opportunities for people to earn.

It means that we have more resources, and we have the confidence to continue to develop what we’re building, knowing we’re being recognised as adding a lot of value.

John Stefanidis, is the CEO of NFT gaming platform Balthazar and one of Australia’s leading digital marketing and e-commerce experts. John has developed and scaled several businesses including digital marketing agency Covert. As a serial entrepreneur and avid video gamer, John is passionate about the NFT gaming space. Follow Balthazar on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Discord.

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