Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda has released a New Year’s letter expressing the company’s enthusiasm for emerging industry trends such as NFT and blockchain technology.
NFTs are unique, non-fungible units of data stored on a blockchain (a form of digital ledger) that allow users to own, buy and sell digital items such as in-game items or works of art.
Many gaming companies have already started selling digital products like NFTs like Ubisoft, although this has drawn criticism from some due to the format’s large carbon footprint and what many consider to be a cynical implementation.
V his letterSquare Enix’s Matsuda listed NTF along with the metaverse (a term used to describe a hypothetical virtual online world), cloud computing and cryptocurrency as the main trends in the gaming industry that he says the publisher will pursue.
The president said he believed blockchain games “have the potential to drive the game’s self-sustaining growth,” promoting the concept of “play to make money.” He also acknowledged the cynicism surrounding blockchain from some angles, but argued that it could attract a new audience.
Matsuda also said that Square Enix could implement its own cryptocurrency for such games.
“I understand that some of the people who ‘play for fun’ and who currently make up the majority of gamers have voiced concerns about these new trends, and that’s understandable,” he wrote. “However, I believe there will be a certain number of people who have the motivation to play to contribute, which I mean to make the game more fun.
“Traditional games offered no explicit incentive for this latter group of people who were strongly motivated by inconsistent personal feelings such as benevolence and volunteerism.”
The CEO then suggested that the ability for users to make money from their digital creations in games could bring user-generated content to life, and stated that lack of incentives had previously limited user creation.
“User Content came about solely out of people’s desire for self-expression, not because there was any explicit incentive to reward them for their creative efforts,” he wrote. “I see this as one of the reasons that there hasn’t been as much significant, game-changing user-generated content as you might expect.
“However, with the development of the token economy, users will be provided with explicit incentives, which will not only lead to greater consistency in their motivation, but also create tangible benefits for their creative endeavors.
“I believe this will lead to more people committing themselves to this effort and the opportunities for games to grow in an interesting way. A variety of motives, from enjoyment to earning and contributing, will inspire people to participate in games and communicate with each other.
“This will be done by tokens based on the blockchain. By introducing a viable token economy into our games, we will ensure that the game grows in a sustainable way. This ecosystem is at the heart of what I call “decentralized gaming,” and I hope this will become the main trend in the development of games. ”
Matsuda said the inclusion of “decentralized games” in Square Enix’s portfolio of games in addition to traditional games will be “a major strategic theme for us from 2022 onwards.”
He wrote: “The basic and rudimentary technologies for making blockchain games already exist and the past few years have seen a rise in social literacy and adoption of cryptoassets.
“We will be closely monitoring social shifts in this space, listening to the large user groups that inhabit it, and ramping up our business development efforts accordingly, with an eye on the potential issue of our own tokens in the future.”