Please note that the following review is not an endorsement of purchasing the NFTs discussed, and the author does not themself own any of the collection.
The Netflix-produced animated sci-fi anthology series Love, Death + Robots has recently released its third series. To mark that occasion, the show has partnered with a Web3 studio known as Feature to produce an NFT scavenger hunt.
According to the site, QR codes have apparently been hidden within promotional videos and real-world billboards, as well as the episodes themselves. Once scanned, these codes redirect users to a website where they can view artworks and mint them as NFTs.
Minting the NFTs requires users to have a MetaMask or Coinbase wallet. Minting the unlimited NFTs is free except for variable gas rates, and the collection encourages those without an interest in NFTs to simply save them as JPEGs.
The collection consists of short clips from season 3 of the show, and as such inherits the production values of Love, Death and Robots, which is known for the diversity of styles between episodes.
Only three of the nine-strong collection (one for each episode of the latest series) are viewable prior to being collected. In one we see a dancing, jewel-encrusted siren, animated in a near photo-real manner. In another, three very different robots look between a clipboard and the viewer, and the final example, from the episode “The Very Pulse of the Machine”, sees a lone figure standing over a strange alien landscape of neon lights in a pose highly reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich’s Romantic classic Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.
It’s a clever way of repurposing content, especially when that content has been created by artists working at the level required to produce one of Netflix’s tentpole shows. The move into NFTs is also one that makes perfect sense for Love, Death and Robots, thanks to both its technological and artistic reputation, sidestepping the weird incongruity of projects like that of TV chef Gino D’Acampo. In other words, more people will be happy to give the NFT collection the benefit of the doubt, instead of denouncing it as a cash grab.
At the time of writing, some 27,000 NFTs have been minted, with a floor price of 0.003ETH (approximately $5 or $6). It’s not a princely sum, but it highlights that there is an appetite for collectables issued in this way and gives people a small amount of motivation to take part in the scavenger hunt. Hiding the codes within promotional material and episodes is a particularly smart choice, encouraging close watching and encouraging the collection to go viral as viewers share the locations they have found codes.
Of course, this isn’t the first NFT project to base itself around a scavenger or treasure hunt. Last year, The Great NFT Treasure Hunt took a slightly different approach by hiding passwords to wallets containing 32 different NFTs across Southern California, issuing clues to their location via Twitter. And budding metaverse NFTWorlds earlier this year organised a hunt within its virtual worlds with puzzles, riddles and challenges to unlock the twelve words necessary to gain access to a wallet filled with 3ETH and 500,000 of its native WRLD currency.
Nor is this the first intersection of TV and NFTs. Fox has called its upcoming animated TV show Krapopolis “the first-ever animated series curated entirely on the blockchain“, with plans to launch a dedicated marketplace that will sell digital goods including character NFTs and social experience tokens. And Seth Green’s plan to produce an animated show featuring a Bored Ape he owned was recently thrown into jeopardy after he lost the NFT in a hack and it was subsequently resold.
While the collection isn’t much more than a novelty and makes a point of saying that the show or Netflix derives no revenue, it could represent Netflix dipping its toe into the Web3 sector following recent revelations about its poor financial health. It reported a loss of 200,000 paid subscribers in its latest quarterly earnings report and estimated it would lose another 2 million by the time of its next earnings report in July.
The Love, Death + Art collection highlights an interesting way for more traditional forms of media to get involved with NFTs. Done respectfully, as this has been, NFT collections such as Love, Death + Art can serve as a gateway for individuals outside of NFTs to become involved with the space – instead of alienating them. Other TV shows looking to take a similar approach should be aware, however, that without a throughline that connects NFT technology to the programme in question, viewers will likely turn up their noses.