Grand Theft Auto Online players are forbidden from using the game’s roleplay servers for “commercial exploitation”, according to new guidelines set out by developers Rockstar which includes selling loot boxes, virtual currencies, corporate sponsorships, and anything to do with cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Sorry, crypto bros. The ban on crypto and NFTs echoes Mojang’s statement from this summer scuppering players who wanted to incorporate the controversial technologies into Minecraft.
Ars Technica report that the new guidelines issued by Rockstar were in response to an RP server created in September by rapper and GTA Online player Lil Durk. Called The Trenches, this community was advertising integration with brands and an NFT drop for access to stuff exclusive to the server. Rockstar's statement came a few days before Trenches were told by the developer to shut down their activities, and it was updated a few days later, but the timing may have been coincidental.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Trenches said they were working with Rockstar to find an “amicable solution”, but confirmed they’d been asked to cease operating by lawyers acting on behalf of Rockstar and publisher Take-Two Interactive. It's worth noting that Take-Two’s CEO said the company was a “big believer” in NFTs and blockchain last November, so a little weird.
While Rockstar, Mojang and Valve have rejected tech such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the blockchain for now, other developers and publishers seem to be increasingly keen on them. Square Enix’s president Yosuke Matsuda came out strongly in favour of NFTs and blockchain back in January, calling them the future of fun.
Publishers such as Sega are also sniffing around NFTs, registering the trademark for “Sega NFTs” at the start of this year. As Alice Bee noted with No Man’s Sky though, sometimes players can find some interesting uses for their own cryptocurrency in games.