Square Enix president wants to investigate NFTs and the metaverse for games
The publisher joins Ubisoft in signaling interest in the blockchain for gaming.
Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda published a letter for the new year to discuss the company’s future in gaming, and apparently that involves NFTs and the metaverse. In a move that mirrors other companies’ interest in these trends, Matsuda said Square Enix was preparing to look into these emerging technologies.
First, he addressed the metaverse concept:
“The metaverse was a hot topic in 2021, inspiring a lively global conversation first about what the metaverse is and then about what sort of business opportunities it presents. Against this backdrop, Facebook changed its name in October to Meta, serving as evidence that the concept is not a mere buzzword but here to stay.”
He goes on similarly about NFTs, then the blockchain and play-to-earn:
“Lastly is blockchain games. Be they single-player or online games, games have traditionally involved a unidirectional flow whereby creators such as ourselves provide a game to the consumers that play them. By contrast, blockchain games, which have emerged from their infancy and are at this very moment entering a growth phase, are built upon the premise of a token economy and therefore hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth. The driver that most enables such self-sustaining game growth is diversity, both in how people engage with interactive content like games, and in their motivations for doing so. Advances in token economies will likely add further momentum to this trend of diversification. I see the “play to earn” concept that has people so excited as a prime example of this.”
Matsuda seems to be taking stock of the latest trends and assuring investors that Square Enix will be pursuing them. When talking about players, this is probably the most telling quote:
“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. This fact is not unrelated to the limitations of existing UGC (user-generated content). UGC has been brought into being solely because of individuals’ desire for self-expression and not because any explicit incentive existed to reward them for their creative efforts. I see this as one reason that there haven’t been as many major game-changing content that were user generated as one would expect.”
The clearest vision he offers for these new technologies is in offering greater incentives for people who would create content for games. One the one hand, it’s a decent idea given many games that rely on user-generated content don’t offer anything to those creating it. And yet that doesn't address the justified bad feelings many have for anything blockchain related.
Yosuke Matsuda’s letter can be found in its entirety here. The interest in NFTs, meanwhile, extends beyond Square Enix, as Ubisoft even put out its own NFT ecosystem recently. Opposition remains staunch from many, though, as even Valve put its foot down and won’t be allowing crypto-related games on Steam.