Japanese multinational gaming company Square Enix, best known for its Final Fantasy game and Tomb Raider series, announced that blockchain is a key part of its investment plans in 2023. The company has multiple blockchain games under development, with more titles to be announced this year.
While 2022 saw the crash of crypto and NFT prices, Square Enix is of the opinion that speculative investors drove the content created in these platforms with the purpose of monetization. The gaming company believes that has now evolved to developing utility. “There is now a trend to view blockchain technology as a mere means to an end and to discuss what needs to happen to achieve the end of delivering new experiences,” said Yosuke Matsuda, President of Square Enix Holdings.
In its new years’ announcement last year, Square Enix highlighted the potential of in-game tokens and play-to-earn economies, arguing that a self-sustaining game economy would be created by passionate players who create in-game content. It launched a Blockchain Entertainment Business Division in February 2022.
In November 2022, Square Enix unveiled plans for its first big blockchain game SYMBIOGENESIS. It has made several blockchain investments, including in Animoca Brands and The Sandbox metaverse, crypto fintech Zebedee, and other games such as BlockLord and Cross the Ages. It currently has NFTs for Final Fantasy memorabilia.
However, Square Enix’s decision to embrace blockchain is at odds with the prevailing sentiment of the gaming community. In December 2021, major videogame publisher Ubisoft received an overwhelmingly negative community response to its playable NFTs initiative “Quartz”.
Following fan outcry, the highly anticipated shooter sequel Stalker 2 published by GSC Game World, decided to scrap NFTs in its game. The International Game Developers Association pushed back against NFTs and blockchain gaming following concerns over scams, pyramid schemes, and energy efficiency. Steam, a popular video game distribution service, banned all blockchain games from its platform in October 2021.
Other gaming companies and platforms continue to support web3 games. This includes Sega, which partnered with Double Jump Studios, and Epic Games, which has allowed multiple games using web3 tech to release on its platform.