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

Smackpixi

Adventurer
So, it’s clear that Caosium is very much on board with selling overpriced nothings to their fans for money, why wouldn’t they, like Disney and others, this NFT scam is GREAT business, it cost nearly nothing to produce, sells for absurd amounts, it’s free money from suckers. Treating your fans as suckers to grift is why there’s hostility.

But wait, Veve is not a scam like other NFTs because you can’t get your money back, you can’t sell your Veve naughty word for real money, and while you’d think that would make it even more of a scam, the opposite is true. This is why real brands like it.

Normal NFTs are a straight up grift, Veve is instead just the worst possible pay to win game. It’s a game because its a closed system, you can’t get your NFTs or money out. So you pay a silly amount of money to buy into the game, use your in game gems to get some “NFTs” and then sit on them, use the games augmented reality tools to take a picture of yourself next to the image of what your NFT points to in their system.

Maybe you sell them for more than you paid in in game, and then take those in game currency gems and buy some other NFT things. Since they have a closed system with no cash out option, so long as they meter new item drops to the amount of new money buying, the system won’t crash, and in fact ever escalate if the new sucker gem buyins exceed the value of the new item drops.

It’s a game, if you’re playing for fun, you just augmented reality selfie next to your fictions, if you’re playing to win, you trade this in game stuff to escalate your gems, your in game currency. it’s pay to win cause you can always spend more real money to increase your in game currency.

The only reason that stupidest of stupid games VeVE is running uses NFT blockchain is because it’s the new hotness and gives the appearance of real value, it’s an NFT! They don’t need to, closed system is a game, your NFTs can’t exit, nor can your money. But saying NFT and using blockchain, appearance of value. Such horrid naughty word.
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
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.
If you've been following my posts in these threads (and its okay of course if you haven't been), I'm not defending NFTs or encouraging folks to purchase them. I don't have issue with folks distrust and dislike of NFTs, nor do I have a problem with folks who think D&D 5E isn't a good choice for Dr. Who . . . . .

Its the binary nature of SOME of the complaints, the entitlement, the over-reaction . . . . right-vs-wrong, black-vs-white, if you're not with us, you're against us . . . .

There are a lot of good reasons to be wary of NFTs, they've been covered well in these threads. I'm reacting to the NFTs are-all-evil-all-the-time extreme reaction, which is more emotional and negative than simply, "NFTs are not good products for gaming or society". Some of the responses (few, here) have gotten toxic, accusing me and others who aren't convinced of the completely-scammy nature of NFTs as fools, apologists, or sealions.

This isn't the same as some of the toxic reactions to the new Dr. Who powered-by-5E game announced, but there are parallels. Some folks feel that D&D 5E isn't a good fit for Dr. Who, and that opinion is of course fine. Some are taking that opinion much further into toxic attacks on C7 for daring to give a 5E Dr. Who a try. C7 is getting a drubbing on social media right now, mostly on Twitter.

It isn't the anti-NFT opinions, or the anti-5E for Dr. Who opinions themselves that I take issue with, it's what I see as the extreme over-reactions to something not-for-me that some folks are taking, taking too far, IMO.
 

MGibster

Legend
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.
Sure, but I don't consider that the same thing as being alienated by a new edition and no longer feeling like they belong in a hobby they love. That seems to me like a legitimate concern regarding a business tactic that would hurt a lot of customers.

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 just don't see the same parallel you do. To me, it's more akin to fans of Warhammer 40k when they complain about how Games Workshop conducts business.

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.

I was largely indifferent to NFTs just a few days ago knowing very little about them and not caring one way or the other. But when Chaosium made their announcement and I started seeing people talk about it I went ahead and did a little research. NFTs are a scam, and, like homeopathy, just because it's legal doesn't mean its not a scam. On top of being a scam it's a colossal waste of energy. You want to characterized this as fear of change go ahead but I don't think that's an accurate description of the criticisms for NFTs.
 

macd21

Adventurer
Yeah, “conservative fear of change” is nonsense. It’s just a non-argument used to dismiss the real concerns people have about NFTs. The problems NFTs present have been thoroughly explained (repeatedly) in this thread. Responding with “gamers really don’t like new things” is just a distraction from the fact that there isn’t really a good counter argument to those concerns.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I submit to you that given what they think, their reaction (which is, let us be clear, just talking about it online), seems pretty mild in the realm of reactions. And it has, for now, handled the issue with a minimum of real harm to anyone involved.

Or, do you think just talking about it is too much? Talking about stuff is an over-reaction, to you?
Several people have mentioned boycotts. Me included. Chaosium really can't afford the bad press and loss of income a well organized boycott would bring.

Which is an actual and credibly social engineering threat vs them; Vs WotC wouldn't be a credible Social Engineering threat, for reasons of adoption rates of game engines and the D&D player base.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Several people have mentioned boycotts.

Still just talk, though. We didn't see any activity suggesting a boycott was really happening, did we?

Including in our assessment of the reactions things that didn't actually happen seems... less that fair. Should people include in their judgements of you things that you haven't done? If not, the Golden Rule should apply, no?
 

darjr

I crit!
Chaosium's reply over Twitter to a message I sent:
" Sorry, didn't see the AMA on Discord.With our licensee TYPE40 (who create the digital collectables) we've mapped out what future items might be. But we meant what we said in our statement "Chaosium Suspends Plans for Future NFTs" (16 Feb 2022). While we address the concerns of the tabletop gaming community we have halted our plans for future NFT releases. There are no Chaosium-related digital collectables drops scheduled for VeVe, or any other NFT marketplace. This decision was made in cooperation with VeVe and TYPE40."

So naturally I sent the video posted above

 

Hex08

Adventurer
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.
You keep coming back to "fear-of-change" but as near as I can tell, at least in this conversation, no one is expressing that concern. Most, if not all, of the posts here seem to be focusing on why NFTs are bad in general and have nothing to do with gaming. That the discussion is being had in relation to a gaming company isn't relevant to the concerns people have regarding NFTs, I would feel the same way if my local grocery store or a car dealership started selling them.

The "fear-of-change" argument doesn't really address the concerns being presented, it seems more like a red herring.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Still just talk, though. We didn't see any activity suggesting a boycott was really happening, did we?

Including in our assessment of the reactions things that didn't actually happen seems... less that fair. Should people include in their judgements of you things that you haven't done? If not, the Golden Rule should apply, no?
I did state that, if they are still in the NFT business when KAP6 releases, or the samurai adaptation of KAP releases, I won't buy them.

I am not calling for a boycott, but I'm personally willing to forego the two Chaosium products I'm actually interested in, as a matter of principle.

I'm not averse to a boycott, and Chaosium's half-hearted walkback looks like damage control but not an actual withdrawal from the business.

Several other people across a variety of sites have made similar statements to mine; not a call for, but a statement of personal objection.
 

"We just need to hold until the whole scheme collapse and the small minority of suckers are left holding the bag."

LOL. People have been saying this since BTC was less than $1. It's trading at what, 60k+ right now? I wouldn't hold your breath.
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
"We just need to hold until the whole scheme collapse and the small minority of suckers are left holding the bag."

LOL. People have been saying this since BTC was less than $1. It's trading at what, 60k+ right now? I wouldn't hold your breath.
It was in the $60ks back in November. Since midnight last night it's ranged between a bit over $39k and a bit over $37k.

Of course, people in this thread have mostly been conscientious about differentiating between cryptocurrency, which does have potential real uses and I think has sincere people believing in such uses, and NFTs, which don't seem to have any real use-cases, and which the person you're responding to was talking about.
 


Crusadius

Adventurer
Bitcoins are unregulated. It is "known" that NFTs undergo what is called "wash trading" where an investor sells their NFT to themselves** to create the illusion of demand for their NFTs and also drives the price up.

So given the volatility of Bitcoin prices is wash trading being done to keep the price of bitcoins artificially high? There is no regulation to ban or punish people from doing it.

** It is done by selling between wallets that they own, or perhaps more complicated schemes where they organise a group of people and sell amongst people in this group at ever increasing prices until it ends up with the original owner - this is risky for those involved because one of them might be the "mark" and that person ends up with an overpriced thing that no-one wants to buy from them but not to worry, they should HODL because the price can only go up, or perhaps they should find themselves a "mark" to offload it.
 
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Tom B1

Explorer
We HAVE to vehemently attack any company trying o step into the NFT scam if we don't want that naughty word to spread everywhere like a plague. The people already invested constantly need new blood to buy in if they wish to cash out, so they'll do anything to convince corporations there is money to be made. The corporations aren't dumb, they'll go where there is money, but if we make sure they'll lose money by getting into NFTs to please a tiny vocal minority, they should back out.

We just need to hold until the whole scheme collapse and the small minority of suckers are left holding the bag.

NFTs are an odd generalization of things like games selling you gear that only exists in the digital world or cards for your MTG decks, etc. It's value is artificial. NFTs might be able to have great one-off digital artworks represented (which might be valid) but I don't ever recall the case where a file couldn't be copied so really, is it a one of a kind in the way that an oil painting in the real world was? Not really.

Like the free to play, pay to win online games. Or spending real money for badges or... ?

My rule is simple: If it needs a platform to be accessed, if it requires ongoing tax to keep my access up, or if the product purports an intangible value, I'm gonna pass. P.T. Barnum knew this tactic and had a statement... something like "There's a sucker born every minute...".
 

Undrave

Hero
Bitcoins are unregulated. It is "known" that NFTs undergo what is called "wash trading" where an investor sells their NFT to themselves** to create the illusion of demand for their NFTs and also drives the price up.

So given the volatility of Bitcoin prices is wash trading being done to keep the price of bitcoins artificially high? There is no regulation to ban or punish people from doing it.

** It is done by selling between wallets that they own, or perhaps more complicated schemes where they organise a group of people and sell amongst people in this group at ever increasing prices until it ends up with the original owner - this is risky for those involved because one of them might be the "mark" and that person ends up with an overpriced thing that no-one wants to buy from them but not to worry, they should HODL because the price can only go up, or perhaps they should find themselves a "mark" to offload it.
I'm gonna find the source later but an article looked into and found only 400 000 Wallets or so did ANY trading of NFT and not all of them currently own one. It's not a 'trend' or something on the rise, it's as you say: all smokes and mirror.

They're being aggressive with trying to rope people into it now because they can't cash out without anyone to sell to.
 

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