Ubisoft’s first experiment with non-fungible tokens (called “Quartz Digits) in Ghost Recon Breakpoint is already winding down just four months after it started. The short saga serves as a prime example of the problems that can arise when a company just throws “the blockchain” into their plans without thinking about why they’re doing so.
Ubisoft announced on Twitter on Tuesday that the company has released “our final piece of content” for Ghost Recon Breakpoint after rolling out 11 updates since the game’s 2019 launch. While Ubisoft says it will “continue to maintain our servers” for Breakpoint and 2017’s Ghost Recon Wildlands for the time being, Breakpoint‘s relatively limited player base means that online multiplayer support probably won’t last that much longer. (Ubisoft will shut down the gameplay servers for battle royale shooter Hyper Scape later this month).
On the Ubisoft Quartz website, the company confirmed that “the last Digit for Ghost Recon Breakpoint was released on 3/17/2022.”
“Thank you to all Ghost Recon Breakpoint players who claimed their first Digits! You own a piece of the game and have left your mark [on] its history.” Never mind that the Quartz website claimed that being listed on the “owner history” for a Digits NFT would “bring you fame for years to come!”
At the same time, Ubisoft said this is not the end of its NFT plans. “Stay tuned for more updates with features to the platform and future drops coming with other games!”
“At Ubisoft, we continuously learn by trying new things and encourage this attitude in our teams,” the company said in a statement provided to Ars. “Being first to take advantage of emerging trends and technology is more than core to Ubisoft’s strategy; it is part of our DNA. Ubisoft Quartz reflects this ambition and represents an incredible opportunity to learn with our community about what decentralization can bring to gaming. As the last Ghost Recon Breakpoint Digit was released on March 17, we will now look to continue our exploration by improving the value proposition of the platform with new projects and features.”
A sluggish market
After a big, splashy rollout of Quartz Digits in December, Ubisoft issued four further NFT “drops” for Breakpoint over the past three months. Each was offered in limited quantities and was initially available for free to players who met specific in-game level requirements.
Players who managed to snag a free Digits NFT could then sell the “unique” in-game item on two specific partner NFT marketplaces: Objkt and Rarible. But the secondhand market for the in-game items wasn’t exactly robust; in the nearly 120 days since Ubisoft first rolled out Digits, an Ars analysis shows just 96 successful sales from among the thousands of Digits minted by Ubisoft.
Interestingly, Objkt seems to have quietly halted trading on all Ubisoft Digits months ago without much notice from the outside world. The last of the 26 total Digit sales on Objkt—a pair of Wolf Enhanced Pants that sold for 10TZ (then the equivalent of roughly $39)—was recorded on February 5.
There are no current sales listings for Ubisoft Digits on Objkt. And when you look at a listing for a Digit on the Objkt website, you’ll see a message reading, “You can’t trade this Digit at the moment, please visit quartz.ubisoft.com for more information.” (No relevant additional information can be found on that website). Ubisoft and Objkt representatives have not responded to a request for comment on the matter.
On Rarible, though, the slow drip of Ghost Recon Breakpoint Digit sales continues to this day. As recently as Wednesday morning, someone bought a P320 in-game weapon for 19 XTZ (about $64). We hope the new owner enjoys the purchase while the Breakpoint servers are still up.