Is Evil Genius Games Doubling Down On NFTs & Blockchain?

Despite public pledges not to use controversial technologies.

Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 16.55.19.png

Evil Genius Games' Dave Scott presents to a panel of judges at a cryptocurrency convention in May 2024

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Evil Genius Games--publisher of the d20 Modern inspired Everyday Heroes TTRPG--was considering use of certain controversial Web3 technologies, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchains. In response to that, EGG published a manifesto on February 6th, 2024, which they called their 'Technology Code of Ethics' in which the company pledged not to use blockchain or cryptocurrencies (along with AI, and other pledges). Indeed, Scott himself told me back in February that the company had decided not to use blockchain technology. For a full background on EGG and recent events, you can read more in The Rise And Fall Of Evil Genius Games.

#2: Evil Genius Games will not use Blockchain or Cryptocurrency technologies in the building or operation of its technology platform.

At the end of 2023 and the start of 2024 numerous employees resigned from Evil Genius Games citing--amongst other things--ethical concerns with the technologies that the company was planning to use, something which Dave Scott made public assurances that they would not do. At the time Scott said: “We made the decision not to do AI in October, and then not to do Web3 in December. But apparently, it wasn't enough to allay any concerns. So after the resignations, we brought the team together to discuss. And we felt a public and permanent statement on this issue would be useful. That's why we drafted the code of ethics after the fact.” In fact, back when I spoke to Scott in February of this year, one of the questions I asked him was why the staff who had recently resigned from EGG did not believe him when he repeated that the company did not intend to use those controversial technologies, and he indicated to me that he didn't know why that was the case.

EGG Pitches At Consensus 2024
However, last week, EGG participated in a pitch competition at an event at Consensus 2024, a convention in Texas run by Coindesk. Consensus describes itself as "the world's largest, longest-running and most influential gathering that brings together all sides of the cryptocurrency, blockchain and Web3 community". EGG's owner Dave Scott pitched a future for their TTRPG offerings which leaned heavily on both blockchains and on non-fungible tokens. Scott introduced the company and told the attendees that "we make turn-based RPGs on chain based on famous Blockbuster movie franchises that we all know and love."

Interestingly, Scott also stated that Jeff Grubb (Dragonlance, d20 Modern) works for the company and describes him as "the father of modern day Dungeons and Dragons"; Grubb made it clear earlier this year that he had no current involvement with Evil Genius Games. In my previous delve into EGG, it turned out that Grubb's participation in Everyday Heroes was that he wrote the foreword in 2023.

I'm not the best person on the staff. Meet Jeff Grub. Jeff Grub is the father of modern day Dungeons and Dragons.

Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 16.53.09.png

So how do NFTs fit into this vision? Dave Scott described it as follows:

Imagine a scenario where you could actually buy NFT utilities that are exclusive to these licenses you could actually pilot Gypsy Danger, you can carry Rambo's M60, all of these that have value that can be bought sold and traded but more importantly in the Roblox fashion we're going to allow other people to actually create their own NFTs which can be thrown onto a marketplace where they can buy, sell and trade those adventures as well.

Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 16.49.56.png


Scott's pitch can be watched below--in the video the CEO presented an NFT and blockchain powered future for Evil Genius Games' tabletop offerings in front of three judges, who then proceeded to ask him questions about the pitch.

During the Q&A which followed, Scott confirmed that there was no actual NFT technology in place yet, indicating that "we've just started to set up the infrastructure to be able to create the NFT program". He also claimed that the company has made $1.2M in revenue in the last year based on sales of digital products.

When asked about the blockchain components of the setup, Scott described the content creator marketplace.

All the Creator Marketplace components of it, the UGC components of it, the entire utility is on chain. If you've actually played RPGs before there's a character sheet, all the components of the character sheet will have objects on it, all the objects will be NFTs. In addition to that the actual character sheet itself will be minted as an NFT as well so what that means is that if we use your character as an NPC in a future game we'll actually pay you royalties on the character itself. So the whole thing is based off of objects which are have NFT components to it.

He went on to describe some of the more technical aspects of the platform, including the use of a 'wallet-as-a-service' company called Stardust. Stardust's mission statement is to "democratise blockchain technology for developers and players at scale".

What we're really excited about is the idea that we can use blockchain to be able to control the value and to create value around the objects which make up your character, that's going to be a really important component of it so if you actually create for example an adventure on our system that'll be something that you own as the creator from here on out but the experience we're going after is a Web2 experience which means that we don't want to expose the wallet, we're going to be using a company called Stardust be able to create custodial wallets for that reason.



This was part of a competition, which--as it happens--Evil Genius Games won!

To Pledge Or Not To Pledge?
Whether or not one supports the idea of blockchains and NFTs, Evil Genius Games did make a very public pledge not to use blockchains--and reiterated to staff, to me, and on forums that they did not plan to go ahead with that course. This presentation appears to indicate otherwise, with CEO Dave Scott declaring his intentions towards both blockchains and NFTs in a very public venue.

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EGG's technology Code of Ethics, published in February 2024
 

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mamba

Legend
I do not see this as a likely use case. Aside from issues inherent to the blockchain there will always proprietary information relating to the transaction that a business will want to keep internal and not share with the entire market.
Lack of imagination I guess ;)

A contract you enter in with a second business is by definition not proprietary information.

You probably want to limit the visibility of the contract to the two of you (all parties involved, which can be significantly more than two in the field I am in), but there is nothing that says it has to be visible to the entire world.

We will see how these projects fare, but they exist
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
if someone takes over your network, that is always true for blockchains, assuming they are public ones. Private ones can eliminate that risk.

Public or private, whoever owns most of the servers that can access the chain effectively controls the consensus of the chain.

Duplicate entries and transaction collisions can be a problem with centralized databases - but blockchain is an unnecessarily (some could reasonably argue, irresponsibly) heavy-handed solution to that problem.
 

mamba

Legend
Public or private, whoever owns most of the servers that can access the chain effectively controls the consensus of the chain.
obviously, but the possibility of your network being hijacked by a third party adding / taking over servers until they have the majority vote is more a public network concern.
 



obviously, but the possibility of your network being hijacked by a third party adding / taking over servers until they have the majority vote is more a public network concern.
That sound more like an argument for ignoring the problem than a suggestion for how to address it.

In any case, proof-of-work blockchains use far too much energy to be acceptable, and proof-of-stake blockchains all look as if they can be subverted if someone cheats by modifying the software. So the security relies on obscurity of coding. This is excellent for preying on people who want hope of getting money, and don't know much about technology, but it's really only a species of affinity fraud.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Lack of imagination I guess ;)

A contract you enter in with a second business is by definition not proprietary information.

You probably want to limit the visibility of the contract to the two of you (all parties involved, which can be significantly more than two in the field I am in), but there is nothing that says it has to be visible to the entire world.

We will see how these projects fare, but they exist
A contract? A complex legal document that may need multiple supporting documents stored on a blockchain? Is there a separate blockchain for each contract? What happens if the contract needs to be amended?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
obviously, but the possibility of your network being hijacked by a third party adding / taking over servers until they have the majority vote is more a public network concern.

Oh, you seem to be failing to see the issue.

This isn't about some black hat hacking servers or something. Adding more and more servers is normal operation for blockchain. Due to exponentially-rising computational cycles required, verifying transactions eventually grinds to a halt if you don't keep adding more and more servers to do the calculations.

This isn't public network concern. It is part of the design of blockchain. When selling people on the technology, this is said to be "distributed", but that is a naïve assumption. In reality it ultimately falls to a small number of people/companies that have the money to buy stunning amounts of computing power.
 

mamba

Legend
That sound more like an argument for ignoring the problem than a suggestion for how to address it.
you cannot address it, it is built in. You can avoid it by being a closed set of servers (private network) and making sure those do not get hacked, but that is about it.

In any case, proof-of-work blockchains use far too much energy to be acceptable, and proof-of-stake blockchains all look as if they can be subverted if someone cheats by modifying the software. So the security relies on obscurity of coding.
no, that (relying on obscurity) is not what that means

This is excellent for preying on people who want hope of getting money, and don't know much about technology, but it's really only a species of affinity fraud.
eh, buzzwords come with their fraudsters who prey on people who are gullible enough, that does not mean there is no actual use case
 

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