March 23, 2024

This week was supposed to be a huge moment for the future of NFTs in mainstream video games, but the celebration was cut short. On Wednesday, GSC Game World announced that it was partnering with popular gaming blockchain service DMarket, which sells NFT items for games like Dota 2 for upwards of $1,000 a pop, to bring NFTs to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. Players would get the chance to bid on unique items with cryptocurrency and maybe even get scanned into the game as an NPC. It was a much more ambitious pitch than the comparatively conservative Ubisoft Quartz.

One day (and a lot of angry tweets) later, the project was fully canceled. GSC Game World decided to remove any NFTs from the game on Thursday evening, just an hour after posting a statement that doubled down on the technology. It was a shocking 180 that dealt a blow to the technology’s future in gaming.

— S.T.A.L.K.E.R. OFFICIAL (@stalker_thegame) December 16, 2021

No one was more disappointed by the decision than DMarket CEO Vlad Panchenko, a champion for the tech and a fan of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. He’d been communicating with GSC Game World for years, attempting to get the studio on board with the tech. After a promising pitch, he finally got the studio to give him what he was looking for, only to have that yanked away in less than 48 hours.

“The thing I was most sad about was S.T.A.L.K.E.R. itself, because I adore the game,” Panchenko tells Digital…

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