Square Enix has kicked off the new year with some divisive announcements. The Japanese publishing giant has released a statement wishing everyone a happy new year, but also added that they will pursue NFTs and blockchain technology for their future games, citing them as “emerging trends” in the industry.
Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda recently published a new years letter where he expressed the company’s enthusiasm for NFTs, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as being part of a major emerging trend in gaming. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens stored on a blockchain (a digital ledger of sorts), have been met with some backlash from the gaming community.
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Last year, Ubisoft launched Ubisoft Quartz, their own NFT and blockchain-powered program that used Ghost Recon Breakpoint as a testing ground. The move was met with negative backlash from the community who felt that NFTs simply had no logical place in gaming. However, the snowball has now spiraled to other companies, namely Square Enix, who sees massive potential in NFTs being a viable future for gaming.
Matsuda spoke briefly about Square Enix’s ambitions to implement NFTs and blockchain technology into their games, citing their target demographics:
“I realize that some people who ‘play to have fun’ and who currently form the majority of players have voiced their reservations toward these new trends, and understandably so. However, I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to ‘play to contribute,’ by which I mean to help make the game more exciting.
Traditional gaming has offered no explicit incentive to this latter group of people, who were motivated strictly by such inconsistent personal feelings as goodwill and volunteer spirit.”
Essentially, Matsuda hopes that those who fall into the latter category will use this emergent technology as a way to engage and ‘contribute’ towards making games more exciting. As it stands, not many people have adopted NFTs entirely into their gaming, as evident by the lackluster reception of Ubisoft Quartz, which only managed to circulate $400 in total since its launch – a far cry from what many companies might’ve been hoping for.
However, Matsuda stated that there will be a clear distinction between Square Enix’s more traditional games and games that utilize NFTs in their line-up as a “major strategic theme for us starting in 2022.” It’s unclear when Square Enix will start implementing NFTs and blockchain into their games, though we can expect it sometime this year.
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Source: Video Games Chronicle