Worms publisher Team17 announces and cancels NFT project following online backlash

The creator of Worms, Team17, is officially in the NFT business. The company, which is one of the largest video game publishers in the UK, has announced that it has partnered with Reality Gaming Group, a UK-based Digital Asset Trading (DAT) platform, to create NFT collectibles based on the long-range artillery tactics series. In doing so, it opened a Pandora’s box between them and several of the video game studios that publish under them.

Announced late yesterday, Team17 and Reality Gaming Group will be collaborating on officially licensed NFT (“non-fungible token”) collectibles called MetaWorms. Describing them as “unique and generative works of art” that “will encompass content from the beloved Worms franchise’s 26-year history”, Team17 pointed out that the MetaWorms would be “high quality” collectibles and “low-power” intended to give fans “the chance to own a one-of-a-kind piece of video game memorabilia”, a description presumably intended to preemptively brush aside criticism from the commons regarding the environmental costs of creating and maintaining the minting of NFTs.

Team17’s announcement is the latest in a series of similar announcements from prominent game publishers, including Square Enix, Ubisoft and Konami, intending to create NFTs based on their existing properties.

Update (4:24 p.m.): In a press release provided to Polygon, Team17 announced the end of the MetaWorms NFT project. “We have listened to our teamsters, development partners and our games communities, and the concerns they have expressed, and have therefore made the decision to withdraw from the NFT space,” the publisher said.