Square Enix President Hopes NFTs, Blockchain Games Become ‘Major Trend In Gaming Going Forward’

Square Enix President Hopes NFTs, Blockchain Games Become ‘Major Trend In Gaming Going Forward’
Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

We aren’t even a week into 2022 and already another large video game publisher — this time it’s Square Enix — is praising the metaverse and blockchain gaming while planning to invest more resources into this terrible version of the future. And according to Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, the publisher could even issue their own NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) at some unspecified point in the future.

In a New Year’s open letter published on January 1, Matsuda presented hundreds of buzzwords and phrases in an attempt to convince people that Square Enix’s plans involving the metaverse, NFTs, and blockchain technology were totally not terrible. While the letter touches on a few different topics, including the metaverse and AI gaming, most of it is focused on Matsuda’s excitement surrounding NFTs and the future of crypto tech.

According to Matsuda, 2021 was just “NFTs: Year One” and he expects the technology to become “more commonplace among the general public” moving forward. It’s actually a bit hard to parse what Matsuda is trying to say as the letter reads more like someone copying and pasting buzzwords and ideas from other places into a Word doc while trying to reach a certain word count.

For example, here’s a bit from the letter talking about NFTs and how they will, apparently, help people create user-created content for some games.

“I realise 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.”

My eyes glazed over as I tried to read that part of the letter, but not enough to miss the sentence that talks about how some people play games to have “fun” and how he almost sounds disappointed by that. Instead, Matsuda wants more players who “play to contribute” like mod makers, a thing that already exists, but now connected to a technology that also encourages art theft and contributes to increasing e-waste and global warming due to large-scale digital mining operations. It’s also a haven for scams, money-hungry celebs, and slimy grifters.

It should be noted that nowhere in this letter, which is still being mocked endlessly on social media by game devs and players, does Matsuda actually lay out any detailed plans or ideas for how Square Enix will implement blockchain technology in its games, what games NFTs could be integrated with or even any evidence for how this controversial tech will improve its video games. Instead, the letter reads more like what it really is: A way to convince investors and stockholders that Square Enix is totally into all this NFT and metaverse stuff.

None of this should be surprising. Square Enix already dipped its corporate toes into the NFT waters earlier this year and it was clear then that the company had bigger plans for blockchain gaming.

Square Enix’s president wants the company to join a growing list of game publishers and studios who are making, enacting, or apologizing for plans to bring NFTs into video games. Ubisoft angered a ton of people (including some of its own employees) last month after announcing plans to bring boring-looking NFT gear into a Ghost Recon game nobody plays anymore. (Spoiler: Nobody seems to be buying or selling any of that crap.) Other studios have announced NFT plans and cancelled them or walked them back after backlash from players grew to be too much.

Comments

  • NFT’s could be a nice way to give tangible collectables in video games.
    However NONE of these CEO’s are thinking that; they just want a nice and dirty way to rip people off by getting people spending real world money in their privately controlled in-game markets and scrape money off the top as people pass NFT’s (with transaction fees) to each other…. thus the scam continues.

    • NFTs are not “tangible”. In no game will they ever be meaningfully different from from TF2’s hats, or from cards that you already “own” and can trade playing the thoroughly failed Valve game Artifact. In-game ‘collectibles’ already work just fine without attracting a blockchain to them.

      There is literally no situation where an NFT is a nice way to give anyone anything other than a hole in their wallet and an increased power bill.

    • Expect you don’t even own the item. You own a receipt pointing to where the item is. Its a fancy hyperlink.

      The game companies will still retain copyright to it so in reality you don’t own anything.

      • An NFT in the real world would be if you went to buy a copy of Halo from EB Games and instead of giving you the game, EB gives you a receipt showing the Address of the warehouse where the game is stored. You won’t actually be able to go and get the game but you’ll have that receipt and there might be another gullible moron who will buy that receipt off you.

      • It’s worse than this though. Having an NFT implies some kind of perpetual ownership, however nothing you ‘own’ that is game-related survives a company shutting the servers down.

        Indeed, no game-related NFT even survives a simple patch or the introduction of more OP and/or better looking content making your token nearly worthless.

        • Especially so if the company decides not to integrate those faux NFT’s into newer games, Essentially rendering your purchases useless.

    • The adding of an real money transactions to a game, brings out the worse, toxic and criminal behaviours the gaming world ever sees.

      NFTs will just bring on a swarm of bots, scammers, fraudsters, farmers, loot ninjas/whores, money launderers, and account hackers that have plagued some of the worse chapters of online video gaming.

      Fifa Ultima team, Roblox, World of Warcraft, CSGO lotteries, Eve Online Plex Thefts… TIMES A THOUSAND!!!

      Every video game rage quit, toxic moment you ever had times a thousand… cause your arguing over a rare item that’s worth real money.

      You think item RNG sucks in your looter shooter, here comes Squenix to give you trash while the person with the went AFK for the last ten minutes scored the jackpot and got a Legendary minted NFT.

      On top of that Video game account security is a joke, games are buggy incomplete messes, you can’t put a financial system on top of that and not expect a complete utter disaster. Marvel Avengers game was a disaster that cost Squenix $120 million dollars, now image that release with NFTs of Hulks Ribcage. *facepalm*

  • The fact metaverse and NFT’s keep appearing as the new corporate buzzwords should tell you everything you need to know.
    They know the future is coming, they just want to replace it with a great big dick before we get our hands on it.

    Geez, that was a bit much even for me.

  • I can’t sell anyone the actual Brooklyn bridge as that’s illegal but I can sell some “lucky” person a meaningless sales receipt of a JPEG of the Brooklyn bridge that I found online.

    Now that’s progress folks!

  • I don’t understand where they for a second think this is a good idea.

    Square Enix lost more than $110 million dollars in the first quarter of this year releasing their a shoddy Live Service business model on Marvel Avengers… they blamed players naturally but after the Guardians of the Galaxy sold so well (with no bullshit micro-transactions) and it winning Game Awards across the world.

    For them to suddenly turn around and say this… this is So Stupid!
    One step forward… two steps back.

    No F***ing Thanks

  • As much as I want to be optimistic that everyone will see sense and back away from this en masse, history has shown that the reality is that big corporations will force these things on consumers until we relent and accept them as the norm. It happened with DLC, it happened with micro transactions, it happened with loot boxes, it happened with DRM and it will happen with NFTs. All they’ll do is just keep sliding the peas under the mashed potato until we stop noticing they’re there and if we complain they’ll just pretend to change while just finding new ways to hide them.

  • Oh god… I just realised that NFTs in video games are not decentralised, that for every NFT collectible in a game they have to add source files for them for rendering.

    Enjoy patching your games when 99% of your 4 terabyte hard-drive is just cosmetics for a single NFT games… and NFT you will never ever see in game, cause the owners don’t actually play the game they play the commodity trading app.

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