Square Enix plans to invest more in blockchain gaming in 2022
One of the world's best-known gaming companies intends to grow its footprint in the world of blockchain-based gaming this year.
Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda spent much of a January 1st letter discussing what he termed "decentralized gaming," noting that "I hope this becomes a major trend in gaming going forward."
"If we refer to the one-way relationship where game players and game providers are linked by games that are finished products as “centralized gaming” to contrast it with decentralized gaming, then incorporating decentralized games into our portfolio in addition to centralized games will be a major strategic theme for us starting in 2022," he wrote, adding:
"The basic and elemental technologies to enable blockchain games already exist, and there has been an increase in the societal literacy and acceptance of crypto assets in the past few years. We will keep a close eye on societal shifts in this space while listening to the many groups of users that populate it, and ramp up our efforts to develop a business accordingly, with an eye to potentially issuing our own tokens in the future."
Matsuda's letter wasn't exactly a total endorsement of non-fungible tokens or NFTs, as at one point he wrote that "we do observe examples here and there of overheated trading in NFT-based digital goods with somewhat speculative overtones, regardless of the observed value of the content provided."
"This, obviously, is not an ideal situation, but I expect to see an eventual right-sizing in digital goods deals as they become more commonplace among the general public, with the value of each available content corrected to their true estimated worth, and I look for them to become as familiar as dealings in physical good," he continued.
Still, it's a notable declaration from the gaming companies, best known for its long-running Final Fantasy role-playing game series. Saturday morning coverage from the gaming press indicates that some Square Enix fans are less than pleased by the pronouncements, which is perhaps unsurprising given recent negative reactions to mainstream game-makers toeing the NFT waters.
Square Enix's first public use of NFTs took place last spring, when the company partnered with a blockchain startup called Double Jump Tokyo, as previously reported by Kotaku. That announcement, too, appeared to spark concerns about Square Enix's direction.
In his letter, Matsuda acknowledged NFTs will continue to be controversial for some players in its customer base.
"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," he wrote. "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."
As previously reported by The Block, the blockchain gaming segment has drawn notable VC investments this year, including Forte's $750 million funding round in November.
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