Square Enix President Starts 2022 With Nonsensical NFT Letter
Square Enix President, Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda has baffled gamers with a long letter praising the future uses and benefits of NFTs in video games. This is not the first example of NFT-praising by a prominent publisher. Ubisoft was recently criticized for its NFT plans.
NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) are unique data packets that use blockchain technology to create an irreproducible digital item. NFTs are usually linked to items that can not be copied or reproduced, such as images and audio files. This allows NFTs to make digital products scarce in an age where it is easy to replicate an image online. Some game companies attempt to use this idea in their upcoming games through limited cosmetics or other downloadable content. To the dismay of gamers, developers are introducing NFTs to games with too much fanfare and speculation. The studio behind the highly anticipated S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 had to cancel its NFT plans following much backlash from gamers.
In a New Year’s message, Yosuke Matsuda publicly supported the idea of NFTs within video games. Matsuda posted a blog post on the Square Enix site, where he expressed his appreciation for metaverse technology and blockchain technology. He also stated that “decentralized gaming” will be a key part of the company’s strategy over the next few years. Many observers, including Necrosoft Games director Brandon Sheffield, have found Matsuda’s comments concerning the mainstream gaming environment particularly troubling. “I realize some people who play to have fun’ and are currently the majority of gamers have voiced reservations towards these new trends…I believe there will be a few people whose motivation it is to play to contribute.'”
Square Enix appears to be joining the ranks of the controversial E.A. for NFT propagation. Matsuda’s identification of the “play for fun” crowd can be seen to marginalize a view that many gamers believe is the status quo. Matsuda mentions that Square Enix will continue publishing NFT-free content. However, the planned shift to blockchain gaming could spell trouble for many gamers.
Matsuda says that the company will listen to consumers as they move forward. However, many gamers will find this hard to believe. According to all accounts, gamers who support NFTs in games make up a small portion of the gaming community. Most gamers are vocal about their disgust at the new technology. Square Enix saw a lot of success in the recent Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker. So hopefully, the Japanese gaming giant will listen to the feedback and continue to focus on its core gaming experience.