According to one NFT game consultant, players from developing countries could work as NPCs in the worlds of wealthier players.
“You could use people in the Philippines as NPCs (non-playable characters), real-life NPCs in your game with the cheap labor of a developing country,” said Mikhai Kossar, a chartered accountant and WolvesDAO member.
Mikhai Kossar claims that poor people could become NPCs in NFT games and metaverse
According to Kossar, players from developing countries could “just populate the world—maybe do a random job or just walk back and forth, fishing, telling stories, being a shopkeeper, anything is possible.”
WolvesDAO’s mission, according to its membership application form, is to “equip the blockchain gaming sector with key insights, education, and tools to build the games and communities of tomorrow.”
That future community, it appears, could be dystopian. Some believe that making real-life people worldwide roleplay as automaton-like NPCs is dehumanizing.
“People are coming up with new ideas for how wealthy Westerners can put citizens of the Third World to productive use,” wrote Andy Chalk, a long-time video game journalist. “It’s a heinous idea, perfectly in keeping with the NFT industry and the dictionary definition of exploitation.”
This is not the first time we see something like this
It also raises concerns about the ethics of Web3 gaming in general, as “scholars” in developing countries already play with NFTs they can’t afford to own in play-to-earn blockchain games. At the same time, NFT owners profit from a percentage of the profits.
The possibility of sentience and the ethics of using NPCs as disposable beings has long been a staple of science fiction, as recently explored in HBO’s “Westworld” and last year’s Ryan Reynolds-led Hollywood action comedy “Free Guy.”
However, playing an NPC isn’t always a dystopian experience.
Gamers on “Grand Theft Auto V” roleplay (RP) servers, such as NoPixel, already volunteer to act as characters in various positions in the virtual world. They’re effectively roleplaying as NPCs for free, whether as a mechanic, a stripper, or a bartender. Some RP servers are highly curated, with waitlists of eager participants.
When it comes to paid metaverse employment, there is also a plethora of virtual jobs available in games such as ‘Roblox,’ which does not use cryptocurrency. However, some argue that ‘Roblox”s underage creators are exploited and do not receive the wages they deserve.
As metaverse worlds enter the market, a new field of employment may emerge—but some jobs will undoubtedly raise more eyebrows than others.