NFTs were a hot topic in 2021, and Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda’s New Year letter will only amplify that buzz.
Matsuda’s letter – what you can read here – Covers a wide range of topics, including cloud gaming, artificial intelligence and the “metaverse”, but he focuses especially on NFT and cryptocurrency, and how they can affect games.
He notes that people who play games “for fun” currently oppose the introduction of NFT, but he believes that they will be an important part of the future of games:
I understand that some of the people who “play for fun” and who currently make up the majority of players have voiced concerns about these new trends, and that’s understandable. 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. This fact is due to the limitations of the existing UGC (User Generated Content). UGC emerged solely out of people’s desire for self-expression, not because there was any explicit incentive to reward them for their creative endeavors. I see this as one of the reasons that there hasn’t been as much user-generated game-changing content as one 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 more people to devote themselves to such endeavors, and to more possibilities, games will grow in an exciting 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 blockchain-based tokens. 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 that this will become the main trend in the development of games.
Square Enix has previously dabbled in the sale of specialty NFTs, and is being joined by companies like Sega, Ubisoft, and EA who are looking at the concept of blockchain gaming and cryptocurrency in a positive light.