GameStop NFT Marketplace sold indie games without permission, developers say

Indie games have reportedly appeared on GameStop’s new NFT marketplace without proper permissions, and developers aren’t happy about it.

A new Ars Technica report alleged that Nathan Ello, who created the NiFTy Arcade collection that includes indie games like Worm Nom Nom, Galactic Wars, and Rogue Fleet, wasn’t looking for the original creators’ nod for at least two of the games (Worm Nom Nom and Galactic Wars).

Ello said he tried to include only open source games approved for commercial use in his NFT collection, but clearly he hasn’t done enough research. Worm Nom Nom’s creative commons license is listed on the itch.io page, and the engine, PICO-8, also requires users to get the creator’s permission before using it.

After facing pushback, Ello offered all NFT sales — a total of $55K as of July 15 — to the original developers, and pulled the NiFTy collection from GameStop’s NFT marketplace. But developers said these actions come too little too late. “My work was sold for a profit without my permission,” says Breakout Hero developer Kyrstian Majewski. “Even if someone wanted to return the money they made from my work, it would be in the form of some worthless Crypto anyway.”

Ello will no longer be able to play on the GameStop NFT marketplace until he addresses the permission issues, but one glaring problem remains: NiFTy games cannot be removed from the blockchain and can be sold on other markets.

NFTs have often been touted as “useful” to artists and creatives, but instances where a creator’s work is minted without permission is a dime a dozen. Many stolen artworks have been uploaded to OpenSea and artists are struggling to remove them due to the sheer number of thefts and the unresponsiveness of the platform.

Disturbingly, GameStop does not appear to have implemented a takedown or screening service to deal with cases of theft. The company has not responded to Ars Technica’s request for comment, so it remains to be seen how GameStop will, in the future, prevent cases like this from happening again.

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