Chaosium Suspends NFT Plans

After widespread backlash across social media, Chaosium has announced that it has suspended its plans for future NFT releases.

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All of us at Chaosium are deeply concerned by the issues raised around the VeVe digital collectable releases from last July. We take these concerns very seriously—our fans and the communities built around Chaosium are our lifeblood. We go back a long way, and that means a lot to us. We want to make sure you are comfortable with the way we do business.

While we address the concerns of the tabletop gaming community we have halted our plans for future NFT releases.

Let’s go through what’s happened to date:

  • In early 2019 we began discussions with VeVe. At the time NFTs and digital collectables were relatively unknown tech (at least in the TTRPG sphere).
  • VeVe is managed by long-time fans and collectors, and we completed multiple rounds of due diligence before deciding to move forward and granting VeVe a license to sell digital collectables based on our IP. It is notable that VeVe’s other NFT licensors include Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Bros., Star Trek, Star Wars, Cartoon Network, Adventure Time, James Bond, GhostBusters, and many other leading popular culture brands. VeVe even has a license from the United States Postal Service.
  • The environmental impact of VeVe's NFTs was crucial in our decision making. VeVe operates on a blockchain platform, (Immutable X), that is carbon neutral. The creation of VeVe NFTs, and their trading takes place “off-chain,” reducing the environmental footprint of VeVe NFTs by 99.9% when compared to those minted on Ethereum.
  • Chaosium publicized VeVe’s initial offering (July 2021) across all of our social channels. Our announcements didn’t receive much attention from the gaming press or TTRPG community, but the release was successful and well received, demonstrating an enthusiastic and sizable community of Cthulhu fans on VeVe.
  • With our licensee TYPE40, we built an NFT creation model that is protective and respectful of the artists involved—the digital collectables created for VeVe are all entirely new and original. The artists involved share fully in the proceeds of their sale.
However, we understand that a lot has changed since we started down this road in 2019. The issues relating to NFTs are increasingly complex and controversial. In recent months, the debate has become prominent and contentious. Bad actors in this sphere have received widespread coverage. Many people are justifiably baffled, incredulous, and deeply skeptical.

Based on both our research and experience with them, we believe that VeVe is an ethical company, pioneering a new digital community for collectors which uses this distributed ledger technology in a legitimate, meaningful, and environmentally responsible way.

We appreciate that many of our fans are angry and disappointed. We hear you. Your concerns must be listened to and addressed. That is why, in cooperation with TYPE40 and VeVe, we have made the decision outlined above. We do not have another scheduled release on VeVe or any other NFT marketplace. We will never require anyone to own an NFT/digital collectible to enjoy any Chaosium product or game.

Thank you for sharing your feedback. Thank you for patiently waiting for our reply. So much passion for what we do is a good thing. It’s been that way since 1975, and in this digital age we remain The Chaosium.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Jer

Legend
Supporter
The impression I got (from a very brief scan through some google results) was that they were using their own blockchain, that only they were entitled to append to. In this case there is no need of proof of work, they can manage their own credentials.
Now i am not saying that they are not using proof of work, but they would be a bit mad to do so. Not saying that they are not mad though. Some of this has Cargo Cult attributes.

"All hail the holy blockchain"
:D
Oh grod - I missed that part. Using blockchain tech as a centrally managed database almost levels up this up as a scam. They can be technically correct when they say it's an NFT on a blockchain and yet it's utterly meaningless since the only reason to use a blockchain is to avoid centralizing credentials.

Shadiness all around. Scams within scams...
 

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Crusadius

Adventurer
Not unexpected from a guy whose income is from a platform that sells NFTs and has to sell a reason why one partner might have suspended planned drops (and perhaps implied they may exit permanently). Anything not positive might put Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt in customers and make them question the value their own purchases. After all, The Line Must Go Up.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
“Here's the actual VeVe AMA, time-stamped to start of the discussion of the situation with Chaosium. At 12:30 they state directly that their association with Chaosium is only suspended, not terminated, and they're expecting more Chaosium NFT's once the audience has been placated. Oh, and according to them tabletop gamers are twitchy geriatrics easily chased off by "misinformation" who have to be gently coaxed into accepting spooky new non-organic technology. Nice guys, I hope they get nothing less than their karma has earned.” —E.T.Smith on RPG.net

 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Okay, so a company trying to sell you things is going to be very motivated to tell you that an ordered halt by a supplier is no big deal -- that it's temporary and meaningless and please keep buying. This doesn't say anything at all about what Chaosium plans to do. And the first step to breaking up is quite often to go on a break. If there's a contract, it's quite possible that Chaosium cannot back out until the time has elapsed without penalties, but can pump the breaks and just do nothing with it.
 

“Here's the actual VeVe AMA, time-stamped to start of the discussion of the situation with Chaosium. At 12:30 they state directly that their association with Chaosium is only suspended, not terminated, and they're expecting more Chaosium NFT's once the audience has been placated. Oh, and according to them tabletop gamers are twitchy geriatrics easily chased off by "misinformation" who have to be gently coaxed into accepting spooky new non-organic technology. Nice guys, I hope they get nothing less than their karma has earned.” —E.T.Smith on RPG.net


I'm as weirded out by this community as the next non-crypto bro, but I listened to the Chaosium-related portion of that AMA, and it wasn't anywhere near as dismissive or aggressive as that RPG.net user framed it. Plus, in Chaosium's announcement they never said they were cutting ties with Veve, just holding off. So, let's maybe pump the brakes here, until Chaosium finalizes their plans.
 


Dire Bare

Legend
“Oh, and according to them tabletop gamers are twitchy geriatrics easily chased off by "misinformation" who have to be gently coaxed into accepting spooky new non-organic technology."
I'm inclined to agree that there is a loud part of the TTRPG fanbase that reacts pretty negatively to new things. The Chaosium/VeVe partnership, the new Doctor WHO game based on D&D 5E, the old classic edition wars . . . .

Although I don't think it's completely an age thing, and I don't think it's truly a fear of technology. It's simply an (unreasonable) fear of change, a fear that this hobby many of us have built our identities around might not be just for us anymore . . . .
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
I'm inclined to agree that there is a loud part of the TTRPG fanbase that reacts pretty negatively to new things. The Chaosium/VeVe partnership, the new Doctor WHO game based on D&D 5E, the old classic edition wars . . . .

Although I don't think it's completely an age thing, and I don't think it's truly a fear of technology. It's simply an (unreasonable) fear of change, a fear that this hobby many of us have built our identities around might not be just for us anymore . . . .
It's pretty wild to me that you lump being against a planet killing greater fool scam in with some kind of nerd gatekeeping. Tomato, tomatoe, I guess.
 

MGibster

Legend
Although I don't think it's completely an age thing, and I don't think it's truly a fear of technology. It's simply an (unreasonable) fear of change, a fear that this hobby many of us have built our identities around might not be just for us anymore . . . .
I don't think I've heard a single argument for or against NFTs from a gaming point of view. The connection between NFTs and gaming is tenuous at best and is present only because Chaosium is a gaming company. A gaming company with a long and well deserved reputation as a pillar of our community. I don't think you've got the motivation behind the opposition to NFTs correct. It's not really about gaming.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I'm inclined to agree that there is a loud part of the TTRPG fanbase that reacts pretty negatively to new things. The Chaosium/VeVe partnership, the new Doctor WHO game based on D&D 5E, the old classic edition wars . . . .

Although I don't think it's completely an age thing, and I don't think it's truly a fear of technology. It's simply an (unreasonable) fear of change, a fear that this hobby many of us have built our identities around might not be just for us anymore . . . .
To be sure, not every fear is an "unreasonable" one. Disgust for NFTs comes of very diverse, very real, and very reasonable concerns. It's nothing like a subjective distaste for some hobby opinion like "story first" or "videogamey".
 

Hex08

Adventurer
I'm inclined to agree that there is a loud part of the TTRPG fanbase that reacts pretty negatively to new things. The Chaosium/VeVe partnership, the new Doctor WHO game based on D&D 5E, the old classic edition wars . . . .

Although I don't think it's completely an age thing, and I don't think it's truly a fear of technology. It's simply an (unreasonable) fear of change, a fear that this hobby many of us have built our identities around might not be just for us anymore . . . .
I can only speak for myself, but I am old enough to have played Basic & Expert D&D, AD&D 1e & 2e and 3.x/Pathfinder before I stopped playing D&D as my primary game and I did so because I craved change, I needed to try other systems and settings to ensure I didn't lose interest in the hobby. Also, I love that the hobby has grown beyond its much smaller audience of my youth. The problem is that the whole cryptocurrency/NFT thing is really bad for the environment, and I fear for the future of our planet.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
To be sure, not every fear is an "unreasonable" one. Disgust for NFTs comes of very diverse, very real, and very reasonable concerns. It's nothing like a subjective distaste for some hobby opinion like "story first" or "videogamey".
True, not all criticisms or fears regarding NFTs are unreasonable. Didn't say that, did I?

But there are also a lot of very unreasonable fears . . . IMO, of course . . . and a very unreasonable overreaction towards Chaosium's plans.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
True, not all criticisms or fears regarding NFTs are unreasonable. Didn't say that, did I?

But there are also a lot of very unreasonable fears . . . IMO, of course . . . and a very unreasonable overreaction towards Chaosium's plans.
No. If there are concerns about NFTs in general, then those concerns most certainly apply to Chaosium's involvement with NFTs. Hence the hubbub. Whether you consider those concerns "unreasonable" is irrelevant. (Doubly irrelevant, since practically all those concerns actually are very reasonable, as has been explained quite thoroughly already.)
 

I can only speak for myself, but I am old enough to have played Basic & Expert D&D, AD&D 1e & 2e and 3.x/Pathfinder before I stopped playing D&D as my primary game and I did so because I craved change, I needed to try other systems and settings to ensure I didn't lose interest in the hobby. Also, I love that the hobby has grown beyond its much smaller audience of my youth. The problem is that the whole cryptocurrency/NFT thing is really bad for the environment, and I fear for the future of our planet.
Exactly the same here. Started playing with AD&D, started GMing with Fighting Fantasy, Basic/Expert, and Ghostbusters RPG. Now I do a mix of storygaming (Blades in the Dark et al) and tactical combat RPGs (Lancer). I've transitioned my games entirely online due to Covid (my partner is immunocompromised and I have no desire to expose us to unnecessary social contact), and I welcome new ideas in the hobby.

But NFTs in gaming are just a spin-off of a scam industry.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I don't think I've heard a single argument for or against NFTs from a gaming point of view. The connection between NFTs and gaming is tenuous at best and is present only because Chaosium is a gaming company. A gaming company with a long and well deserved reputation as a pillar of our community. I don't think you've got the motivation behind the opposition to NFTs correct. It's not really about gaming.
There have been concerns expressed in the various ENWorld threads here on NFTs that companies, like Chaosium, could tie gaming elements into their NFT offerings. An adventure, a map, a character option. But that hasn't been the main thrust of the discussion here.

The discussion here is covering NFTs as a category, rather than being hyper-focused on what Chaosium and VeVe are doing . . . . but that's why we're talking about NFTs, because of what Chaosium is (or isn't) doing with them. It has everything to do with the gaming community, as the upset is over Chaosium's choices to partner with an NFT company with their Call of Cthulhu brand.

I agree, the motivation behind the strong NFT stances expressed here isn't ALL about gaming. But that is a part of it, folks are concerned about what a gaming company is doing now, and what they might do down the road. I see strong parallels in how folks are reacting to Chaosium's NFT plans to how folks are reacting towards Cubicle 7's decision to do a D&D system-based Dr. Who game, and many other industry choices in the past.

Of course, many of the video links provided are from non-gamers . . . or I suppose from folks whose gaming hobbies aren't the focus in the videos . . . and plenty of folks who don't play TTRPGs feel strongly that NFTs are all-evil, all-the-time. That conservative impulse, fear-of-change, isn't limited to the gaming community. And it isn't all bad, as change isn't always for the better. But an overwhelming and unreasonable fear-of-change, IMO, has an unhealthy foothold in a lot of lifestyle hobbies, including the TTRPG community.
 

theCourier

Explorer
Whatever they could put out in terms of an adventure, map, char-op, or any other type of gaming resource can already be done in other, non-environmentally destructive formats.
 

I agree, the motivation behind the strong NFT stances expressed here isn't ALL about gaming. But that is a part of it, folks are concerned about what a gaming company is doing now, and what they might do down the road. I see strong parallels in how folks are reacting to Chaosium's NFT plans to how folks are reacting towards Cubicle 7's decision to do a D&D system-based Dr. Who game, and many other industry choices in the past.

I... don't see the comparison here. Disagreeing with a system choice is very different from the objections to NFTs, which are grounded in more objective measures than system preference.
 

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