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Fans accuse Netflix of ‘grifting’
All is not well in the upside down marketing world of Stranger Things. While Stranger Things season 4 on Netflix has been a hit, fans aren’t so keen on the NFT game used to extend its lore. Some of them because it’s supported by NFTs, while others just can’t excuse the fact it won’t work on mobiles.
Developed by Candy, the Stranger Things NFT game enables players to collect new posters of their favourite characters as non-fungible tokens. NFTs are a way to register digital files on a blockchain, in this case the low-carbon Palm token, and so create rarity. You can find out more in our What are NFTs? feature, and even pick up some advice on creating your first NFT with artist Stephen Bliss.
The Stranger Things NFTs (opens in new tab) are 11,111 unique tokens and show ownership of one of five new digital posters. To earn one of these limited NFTs fans must play a puzzle game set inside a Stranger Things laboratory.
To date 4,700 players have earned a free NFT poster of Eleven, the first non-fungible token to release. This week a new challenge was released, offering the chance to win a poster of either Mike Wheeler, Jonathan Byers, Will Byers, or Argyle.
Fans of the Stranger Things show haven’t exactly fallen in love with the NFT game. When it was announced last week one fan took to Twitter to call the use of NFTs a “grift” (see below) while another (opens in new tab) questioned: “You think we care about NFTs?” Another simply messaged (opens in new tab): “NFTs are a scam.”
It’s fair to say the Stranger Things NFT game has failed to impress some core viewers who just wanted a proper video game tie-in. And yet, there’s another fail – the Stranger Things NFT game doesn’t work on mobiles (yet). It’s an odd decision considering most collectors use mobile crypto wallets. I get the show is set in the 1980s but not supporting mobiles in 2022 is really a stretch.
I deeply love Stranger Things, but I’m profoundly disappointed that Netflix decided it’d be a good idea to run an NFT grift on its fans.I’d love to play the games and solve the mysteries like the ARG for season three, but no. I’m not going anywhere near this trash.Do better. pic.twitter.com/S03M78FFLaJune 2, 2022
There’s a metaverse element to the Stranger Things NFT game, with clues to solving the puzzles hidden outside of the game itself. The website suggests players “try sleuthing around on the Stranger Things social channels and the Candy Discord for hints”.
Despite the backlash from some quarters, other fans of the Netflix fantasy show have been enjoying the game. They’ve even taken to Twitter to plead for help in solving the puzzles, which I have to say do get kinda, well… strange.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has embraced NFTs. It recently embedded QR codes in episodes of hit animated show Love, Death + Robots so viewers can unlock NFTs as they watch. While Stranger Things fans really (really) don’t like NFTs near their beloved show, it doesn’t look as if Netflix plans on pressing pause on its use of them any time soon.
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Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX and 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. Ian launched the magazine X360 in 2005 and has relaunched many others. In his early career Ian wrote for music and film magazines, including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. With over 25 years’ experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.
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