What would a Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, or Deus Ex look like it is partially powered by the blockchain so gamers can monetize their contributions? You might find out: Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has revealed that the company’s New Years resolution is to release “decentralized games” starting in 2022.
While you won’t find any details in Masuda’s letter discussing the company’s strategy for the new year, you’ll get a good sense of his cautious but optimistic attitude – unsurprising, given the way other game companies recently launched by Leeroy Jenkins far away in NFTs saw such instant whiplash that you could practically feel the vibrations over the internet.
This is the most relevant section, coming near the end:
From having fun to earning to contributing, a wide range of motivations will inspire people to engage with games and connect with each other. It is blockchain-based tokens that make this possible. By designing viable symbolic economies in our games, we will enable self-sustainable game growth. It’s exactly this kind of ecosystem that is at the heart of what I call “decentralized gaming,” and I hope it becomes a major trend in gaming in the future. If we refer to the one-way relationship where game players and game providers are connected by games that are finished products as “centralized gaming” to contrast it with decentralized gaming, then including decentralized games in our portfolio alongside centralized games will be an important strategic theme for us. as of 2022. The basic and elementary technologies to enable blockchain games already exist, and societal literacy and adoption of crypto assets has increased in recent years. We will closely monitor the societal shifts in this space as we listen to the many groups of users that populate it, and step up our efforts to develop a business accordingly, with a view to potentially issuing our own tokens in the future.
It probably also helps that Square Enix doesn’t mention one special games that may be getting the blockchain/token treatment so there aren’t any specific communities of fans ready to carry pitchforks just yet, unlike Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon NFT announcement or GSG’s STALLER 2.
When giant gaming companies are faced with the realization that piles of money are locked up in the buzzwords “Metaverse” and “NFTs,” they’re usually happy to say they’ve been there, done so, if — like Square Enix — they’ve already been. been working on the whole fantasy-meets-reality and/or multi-world thing for years. Square Enix could have told you how it already merged Final Fantasy with beloved Disney lands through its Kingdom Hearts series of games, or how it brought Cloud and Sephiroth and what Final Fantasy items, stages and music to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — the kind of cross-game pollination that metaverse proponents suggest we’ll see a lot more of once we discover the technology.
Instead, the company is dipping a philosophical toe in the water, clearly signaling its intent, and – perhaps – waiting to see how its impassioned fanbases react to the idea of Square Enix issuing its own tokens, Square Enix adding more economies to its games. designs, and those games are more and more about money than they are today.
Square Enix also promises “large investments in the cloud space,” although it’s not clear whether the company is talking about cloud gaming. “We are exploring potential efforts in the cloud space from two primary perspectives, the first is using cloud technologies to distribute content, and the second is developing content that provides customers with new forms of excitement enabled by the properties of the cloud,” writes Matsuda.