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Call to Action: Blockchain in Games

12 Jul 2021

The surge in usage of blockchain-based solutions and productions within games have punctuated the game industry’s growing energy consumption and its impact on our climate. The game development industry must address how we use blockchain and crypto solutions, especially when they cause significant energy usage.

The IGDA is issuing a call to action for developers to halt the use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in singular ecosystems and to use Proof of Stake (PoS) for cross-ecosystem NFTs. NFTs should never be used when a simple and far less costly database table can be managed to provide the same information and benefits. PoS algorithms are far more energy efficient than Proof of Work (PoW) algorithms and should be preferred whenever possible. Though the game industry pushes on the cutting edge of technology and rapidly incorporates advancements in our projects, we should not be treating energy inefficient methods as solutions looking for a problem.

Another problematic approach that we as an industry need to halt immediately is background mining on user’s devices without informed consent. Any game or game-tangential system that uses cycles of a user’s devices to mine or otherwise perform non-experience-related calculations should be opt-in and transparent about electricity usage rate, total electricity usage, and wear on the computer hardware. This information should be clear and easy to digest, not hidden in a long terms statement. Game developers cater to a huge range of people with varying technological capabilities and it is unethical to take advantage of any lack of understanding about the true costs of such operations.

As a cutting edge industry, it is not only our responsibility to push forward technology innovation, but also to maintain an ethical approach that considers the impact of our work upon the greater world.

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