Steam Bans NFT Games, But It Won't Stop The Play-To-Earn Fever

Valve will no longer allow any games featuring cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, or NFTs on Steam.

Steam’s updated policy now prohibits “applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”

However, while NFT and crypto-skeptics praised the move, does it really matter for the play-to-earn (P2E) industry?

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Where Are The NFT Games?

Steam’s crypto ban first came to light after Age of Rust, a puzzle game that would let players earn NFTs, announced it would be kicked off the platform, along with all the other blockchain games. For those opposed to NFTs, this was a cause for celebration - Steam’s policy against crypto games was a step in the right direction. There’s just one problem: Nobody plays NFT games on Steam.

Okay, there are a few P2E/NFT titles currently listed on the Steam marketplace. Many of them, such as Dragonary, Mist, and Age of Rust, were never actually released on the platform. P2E games only really took off in mid-2021, so most titles remain in development.

MIR4 is the most prominent Steam game that utilised NFTs. With over 46,000 active players, MIR4 will let its users mint characters above a certain level as NFTs, allowing them to trade their digital assets for DRACO. However, MIR4’s full NFT capabilities are not yet live, with the XDRACO marketplace scheduled for a mid-November release, ahead of the ‘NFT unsealing’ in December.

So if MIR4 doesn’t yet support NFT trading, and most of the other NFT games on Steam aren’t out yet, where are these fabled NFT games?

They’re already not on Steam.

The likes of Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, and Gods Unchained contributed significantly to NFT growth in Q3 2021. In September, an average of 754,000 unique wallets connected to NFT games every day, according to DappRadar. If we take every wallet to be a user, this would be around 1.2% of Steam's daily userbase. This number is likely higher, too, as Sky Mavis reported it has over 1.8 million daily Axie Infinity users.

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So, will Steam’s crypto ban stifle the P2E growth? Not immediately. Most of these titles rely on their own game clients and, crucially, mobile applications. While eventual listings on Steam may have opened up new markets, the existence of other storefronts and games outside the traditional PC ecosystem means P2E developers won’t be disheartened for long.

Looking to the future of NFT games, they have bigger problems than Steam de-listings, anyway. NFT rug pull scams have become prevalent in recent months, and it's likely not long before we see similar incidents arise in the P2E market. Regulation is always a looming topic in the crypto world, too.

I guess Steam won't be reinstating Bitcoin support anytime soon, either.

Read More: Best NFT Projects: What Are The Top NFT Projects And Most Expensive NFT Sales?