Indie games have reportedly been popping up without the proper permissions on GameStop’s new NFT marketplace, and developers are not happy about it.
In a new Ars Technica report, it was alleged that Nathan Ello, who created the NiFTy Arcade collection with indie games like Worm Nom Nom, Galactic Wars, and Rogue Fleet, didn’t seek out the original creators’ nod for at least two of the games (Worm Nom Nom and Galactic Wars).
Ello said he attempted to only include open-source games approved for commercial use in his NFT collection, but he clearly did not do enough research. Worm Nom Nom’s creative commons license is listed on its itch.io page, and its engine, PICO-8, also requires users to get the creator’s agreement before any use occurs.
After facing pushback, Ello offered all of the NFT sales–a total of $55K as of July 15–to the original developers, and took down the NiFTy collection from GameStop’s NFT marketplace. But developers said these actions come too little too late. “My work was sold for profit without my consent,” Breakout Hero developer Kyrstian Majewski said. “Even if somebody wanted to return the money they made off my work, it would be in the form of some shitty Crypto anyway.”
Ello can’t mint on the GameStop NFT marketplace anymore until he addresses the permission issues, but there remains a glaring issue: NiFTy games can’t be removed from the blockchain and can be sold in other marketplaces.
NFTs have often been touted as “beneficial” for artists and creatives, but cases where a creators’ work gets minted without permission are a dime-a-dozen. There are many pieces of stolen artworks uploaded to OpenSea, and artists have trouble taking them down due to the sheer volume of theft and the platform’s unresponsiveness.
It’s troubling that GameStop doesn’t appear to have implemented takedown or screening service to catch cases of theft. The company did not respond to Ars Technica’s request for comment, so it remains to be seen how GameStop, going forward, will prevent cases like this one from happening again.