2021 marked the mainstream penetration of cryptocurrencies, resulting in massive growth in NFTs. No matter where you looked, a celebrity or company announced or endorsed an NFT. Video game developers such as Ubisoft has even introduced its own cryptocurrency for use in their games. Unfortunately, the largely negative backlash hasn’t stopped Square Enix from pouring resources into blockchain games.
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda wrote a New Year’s contribution Discuss the company’s thoughts on concepts like NFTs and blockchain gaming. Matsuda called 2021 “year one” for both the Metaverse and NFTs and said he expected them to grow exponentially in the years to come. This growth will affect Square Enix’s own business practices. They don’t want to be left behind because Matsuda believes that one day he will be “as familiar as trading in physical goods.”
The already established Square Enix AI & Arts Alchemy Company is continuing its research and development efforts in blockchain gaming alongside cloud and artificial intelligence. This R&D push will help Square Enix apply blockchain to gaming and potentially leverage 5G data and the cloud to improve its sales infrastructure.
With the infrastructure in place to reach as many customers as possible across a variety of devices, the games played on those devices will use the blockchain in some way. According to the article, blockchain games have “the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth”. In essence, Square Enix wants more people to keep returning to their games, effectively ending the traditional idea of a game’s lifecycle. Matsuda sees the “Play to Earn” concept as an encapsulation of this vision.
While he admits that this foray into the blockchain will put people off, those reservations don’t outweigh the potential gains. Matsuda seems to believe that the concept of gaming has limited the potential of user-generated content for personal reasons, which in turn shortens the lifecycle of games that would otherwise have taken longer. Matsuda hopes the company’s games will provide “explicit incentives” for people to come back through token economies, which he describes as part of a “decentralized gaming” ecosystem.
The post states that Square Enix is closely monitoring changes in the room and monitoring user adoption rate and perception. Depending on how things are going, the company might even consider issuing its own cryptocurrencies.