University of Oulu

The implications of non-fungible tokens in video games from the perspective of the stakeholder capitalism theory

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Author: Bult, Tijmen1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Pages: 71
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Bult, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-14
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Tan, Teck
Reviewer: Huhtala, Tero
Tan, Teck


Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) make it possible for companies to give consumers a unique piece of digital data that is represented on a blockchain. Where traditionally, an item in a game was just some code that could technically easily be copied, NFTs can make this game item truly unique and scarce. In this research, the impact of NFTs on stakeholders in a gaming ecosystem is explored.

The developments within the gaming sector regarding NFTs are looked at from the perspective of three principles of the stakeholder capitalism theory, which are the principles of cooperation, engagement, and responsibility. The impact of the implementation of NFTs in games on stakeholders is evaluated from the perspective of these three principles to better understand how NFTs impact the different stakeholder groups in a gaming ecosystem.

For this study, information was gathered by means of semi-structured interviews with five respondents. These respondents are all active in the NFT gaming industry, including CEOs of game development companies, researchers, and game designers.

The findings show several themes that currently play in the NFT gaming scene. Gamers can be engaged with NFTs while also investors and smaller game developers may be engaged more effectively. Also, the cooperation between stakeholders may be improved with NFTs. Though, there are concerns regarding the use of NFTs in games with regard to the responsibilities of the different stakeholder groups.

One of the contributions of this study is the identification of the different stakeholder groups that are part of an NFT gaming ecosystem and their relations with each other. Furthermore, several managerial implications are presented for game developers based on the conclusions.

Game developers should take into account the impact NFTs may have on their game design. For example, the fact that NFTs can have a monetary value means that the in-game economics may become more complex. Also, in certain situations, a game may be developed via a Decentralized Autonomous Organisation (DAO), meaning NFT and token holders can vote on development proposals. This may change the role a game developer has compared to traditional game development.

Expanding the knowledge of NFTs in games is necessary as, for some, Play-to-Earn has become a source of income. If this trend continues, the field of NFTs and Play-to-Earn may play an important role in the future economy.

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Copyright information: © Tijmen Bult, 2022. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.