Despite a slew of embarrassments, GameStop’s Sclerotic NFT dealer continues its ill-advised NFT marketplace pivot.
Ars Technica’s latest investigation into the GameStop NFT marketplace features yet another instance of controversy, as an NFT minter on the platform has been discovered selling NFT-ified versions of HTML 5 games that he himself did not create and had no right to sell.
Now that these games are on the blockchain, they’ll certainly be there forever.
GameStop has had a number of difficulties in recent years as it has attempted to stay competitive and relevant.
Its most recent diversion has been to attempt and break into the NFT market, which it has done by establishing a marketplace for digital assets while still being awful.
The NiFTy Arcade collection was released by Nathan Ello on GameStop’s marketplace, where he earned approximately 8.4 ETH (about $14,000) in initial sales.
Elo unquestionably did not have permission to utilize at least two of these games in his project, and it appears, but is not absolutely certain, that he was not authorized to use a third three additional games from the NiFTy Arcade.
Meanwhile, Ello was not authorized to utilize the PICO-8 engine that powered all five of those games.
For some time, NFTs have been a target for theft and questionable ownership.
If it’s not an NFT previously owned by a celebrity that’s been stolen, it’s someone creating NFTs with art that isn’t theirs.
Finally, the NiFTy Arcade was deleted from GameStop’s website and Ello’s account was disabled, but because NFTs are so dispersed, users may still access their unlicensed games and creators may have no legal remedy.
The developers who were hurt by the NFTy Arcade were offered compensation by Elo, which subsequently revived the project on another marketplace with a promise that future games will be “in full compliance with all service terms of the NFT marketplace.”
In the wake of today’s news that Ello is closing, Ars Technica first reported that the “NiFTy Arcade” NFTs on the platform were intended to be “fully playable from an owner’s crypto wallet” or on GameStop’s market.
At the very least, it appears to make more sense than a JPEG. You don’t just get a “link” to an image that you apparently “own” part of; at least you have fun playing an HTML 5 game while destroying the planet.
However, with the bonus that the NiFTy Arcade included games were entirely created by other individuals who never granted permission for their work to be used in this manner or monetized off of. Worm Nom Nom, for example, may be found on Itch.io with a clearly defined Creative Commons license that forbids commercial usage.
The backlash was severe, with several developers claiming that NiFTy Arcade had stolen their work. In a statement to Ars Technica, Krystian Majewski, the creator of Breakout Hero, noted that his efforts were “sold for profit without my consent.”
This is yet another example of NFT marketplaces encouraging unethical conduct. The summer 2021 promises that NFTs will quickly give way to a reality where artists’ works are frequently stolen against their wishes.
This is all while the NFTs themselves continue to deliver no practical value or use cases beyond profit generation.