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Xbox boss Phil Spencer says some NFT games feel "more exploitive than about entertainment"

Phil Spencer
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox boss Phil Spencer thinks the rising interest in NFTs across the games industry is also coming with some risk for exploitation.

The executive spoke about the relatively new technology in an interview with Axios. Fully named "non-fungible tokens," proponents say they could give players the chance to generate value for the items they own in games and take them from title to title, using the same decentralized technology "blockchain" technology which has powered the recent cryptocurrency boom.

"What I'd say today on NFT, all up, is I think there's a lot of speculation and experimentation that's happening, and that some of the creative that I see today feels more exploitive than about entertainment," Spencer told Axios. 

At least one high-profile NFT project brought in millions from investors only for the creators to seemingly disappear overnight, and Valve has banned games that use NFTs from its platform (which already features the built-in Steam Marketplace for buying and selling game items). Meanwhile, Ubisoft has publicly announced plans to develop games based around the concept. Beyond their potential to move money around, NFTs also contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere due to the substantial processing power and electricity required to create them.

Spencer said he doesn't think every NFT game is inherently exploitative, but "we're kind of in that journey" of people figuring out how to use them. For the time being, Microsoft will keep an eye on any potential Xbox games that may use them.

"I think anything that we looked at in our storefront that we said is exploitive would be something that we would, you know, take action on," he said. "We don't want that kind of content."

The Xbox November update brings new color filtering options and other accessibility features to Microsoft's latest consoles. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.