Gabe Newell Explains Why Steam Banned NFTs: “Super Sketchy,” “Illegal Sh*t”

The FPS Review may receive a commission if you purchase something after clicking a link in this article.

Image: GameSpot

Despite the increasing amount of game companies out there that have dropped their pants to furiously wank at the prospect of NFTs, Valve has remained committed to its policy of banning any blockchain title that issues or allows exchange of the technology on Steam, something that the company decided to implement last year following the growing popularity of titles such as Age of Rust, a puzzle game that gifted players non-fungible tokens as an achievement.

The big guy himself, Gabe Newell, has now taken the opportunity to shed a little more light on that decision months later, telling Eurogamer in a new interview about why Valve is so opposed to the trending blockchain technology that has entranced some of the biggest publishers in the world, including Ubisoft. As indicated by his thoughts below, Newell’s problem with NFTs seems to have less to do about the actual technology and more about the crowd behind it, who, according to the Valve CEO, is exploiting it in “sketchy” ways, implying that there is lots of criminal activity going around.

Newell also explained that Valve has distanced itself from cryptocurrencies due to their incredible volatility, whereby the value of a coin or token could easily pump or dump by huge percentages between hours, or even minutes. Fraudulent transactions is also another issue that suggests gamers won’t be able to pay for Steam games using their crypto investments any time soon.

“The things that were being done were super sketchy,” Newell told Eurogamer. “And there was some illegal shit that was going on behind the scenes, and you’re just like, yeah, this is bad. Blockchains as a technology are a great technology, that the ways in which has been utilised are currently are all pretty sketchy. And you sort of want to stay away from that.”

“We have the same problem when we’re accepting cryptocurrencies, 50 percent of the cryptocurrency paid for transactions were fraudulent, right? You look at that and you’re like, well, that’s bad. And then cryptocurrency volatility meant that people had no idea what price that they were actually paying. Yes, they were anchored to a cryptocurrency, but most people’s wages are not in cryptocurrencies.”

“So they’re like, how come I just paid $498 US dollars for this product? And if the answer is, you know, that’s what happens when you have a highly volatile currency that you’re paying for. That’s like, today, you paid 99 cents for it tomorrow, you’re going to pay $498 for and people that make people super cranky. So it just wasn’t a good method. The people who are currently active in that space are not usually good actors.”

Gabe Newell explains why Steam banned NFTs (Eurogamer)

  • Back in October, Valve made a stand by banning all blockchain games from its Steam platform, updating its policy documents to reflect the change.
  • The move was well-received by the wider community, though the developer of Age of Rust – one of the games impacted by the new policy – went into a bit more detail, claiming that Steam didn’t want to allow items of real-world value on its store.
  • It was an interesting point, especially in context of the success Valve has seen off the sale of the likes of Team Fortress 2 hats and CS: GO skins, so given the chance to speak to Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell I thought it’d be worth asking for a bit more clarity on the stance.
Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

Recent News