Video game companies are looking into non-fungible tokens, or NFTs for short, to see if this recent trendy blockchain technology could lead to a new source of revenue. Some companies are optimistic, while others are skeptical, but Bethesda has decided to go all-in.
Unlike other companies who are using this technology for items within a game, Bethesda has decided to make the entirety of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a non-fungible token. With a new program called the ‘Skyrim Computerized Adventure Mechanism,’ it can create unique copies of Skyrim on the blockchain.
“The team at Bethesda is proud to announce our new Skyrim Computerized Adventure Mechanism program that looks into the future of how we re-release Skyrim,” said Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard in a video posted on the Bethesda website. “Not only will this free up more of the studio to work on new projects, but it also gives the company a stable revenue stream while still being able to develop on the same game engine.”
How this program works is that every week, it spits out a new copy of Skyrim that exists on the blockchain. Every version of this game is the same with one exception. This could be a unique mechanic, item, character, quest, or even a unique name in the credits.
As for what exactly these items are, Todd Howard explained in an interview by Polygon that “while we would like to show what is unique in each version of Skyrim on the blockchain, we cannot divulge that information as we don’t want our extensive modding community to recreate these differences and devalue each version of Skyrim by allowing everyone else to have it. We hope that the threat of devaluation is enough for players to keep their copy’s unique difference a secret…if they find it that is.”
Bethesda guarantees something unique in every blockchain copy and hopes to make a large part of their sales on customers who keep buying re-releases of the game. “Once players realize that the one difference in their copy isn’t enough to make their version of Skyrim any different than a normal copy they’ve already tried playing multiple times, they’ll likely want to sell it. Because of that, we hope this program will gain traction with those who do enjoy playing this game over and over again in the hopes that once they’re done, they’ll trade copies with other likeminded blockchain players so they can keep searching for those differences,” said Todd in the interview.
As a precaution, Bethesda set up the price and release schedule to fully capitalize on the scalping market, as they believe people will buy into anything even if they don’t know what it is so long as it looks valuable. “Even if people don’t believe in the game,” said Todd to Polygon, “people still believe in NFTs and scalping, and this program is great for both.”
When asked about if this new program will speed up the development progress of Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6, Todd said “What? Oh, right, those games. Uh, no it won’t, but this new program allows us to go from developing Skyrim for the present to thinking about Skyrim for the future.”
S.C.A.M. will start releasing blockchain Skyrim in early 2022 and can only be played on PC.
(For legal reasons, this is a joke)