Another popular digital platform for selling and buying games has publicly denounced NFTs, adding its voice to an increasing chorus against their implementation. DriveThruRPG made it clear that users should not expect any of its future plans to involve the blockchain-powered tech.
DriveThruRPG posted the announcement to Twitter on Feb. 7th, saying, “In regards to NFTs — We see no use for this technology in our business ever.” The short and sweet message lacked the vitriol of Itch.io’s similar statement made last weekend but used no uncertain terms about its stance.
The website focused on hosting digital tabletop RPGs, supplements and adventures is actually just one of a series of interconnected e-commerce platforms covering comics, cards and self-published fiction. Its OneBookShelf infrastructure also powers Dungeon Masters Guild, possibly the largest and most active source of third-party creations for Dungeons & Dragons using its Open Gaming Licence. Pathfinder Infinite is the equivalent site using publisher Paizo’s OGL for both Pathfinder and Starfinder.
DriveThruRPG constitutes a significant portion of the independently published tabletop scene and thus became the target of questions and speculation after Itch.io called out the embracing of NFTs and blockchain technology as inherently anti-creator. According to a reply to another tweet, so many individuals petitioned the company for a response in the past few days that it felt obligated to publish something publicly visible to its feed. Notably, no similar announcement was made to either DriveThruRPG’s Facebook page or the actual website.
While many joked that they never expected NFT adoption from the storefront that still looks as if it was built in 2005 (DriveThruRPG was quick to point out multiple times that a full redesign is imminently pending), the statement is evidence that pushback from the community can force some industry leaders to be held accountable. Non-fungible tokens and their promise of artistic empowerment via a decentralised blockchain continues to face fierce scrutiny for its naked financialisation structure, devastating ecological impact and failure to actually deliver any of that promised freedom to artists - in fact, many more have had their creations blatantly stolen and sold as NFTs without their knowledge.
It’s difficult to imagine how or where NFTs would find a niche in a hobby built upon largely physical goods and collaborative storytelling, but fantasy monolith Wizards of the Coast inched ever closer to that reality when Hasbro’s then-CEO Brian Goldner told shareholders in 2021 that the company was excited about the “multiple opportunities” NFTs afford. Goldner passed away later that year, and Hasbro hasn’t made an official peep on the subject since.