In the wake of this year's NFT and crypto controversies, veteran developer/publisher Square Enix has nonetheless pledged to remain committed to their ongoing NFT projects and blockchain games, according to an end-of-year president's letter. What those blockchain games actually are remains anyone's guess – save for Symbiogenesis, the bizarre NFT collection 'experience' announced earlier this year – but in between selling off some of their most beloved IP and hopping onto the crypto bandwagon, one can't help but scratch their head at Square Enix's latest business decisions. Here's what Yosuke Matsuda's letter had to say about crypto:
Multiple blockchain gaming events held overseas recently produced more active discussion than ever before about what makes the games exciting and what their user community looks like. The market was driven more by speculative investors than by gamers though 2021. In other words, the content that was at the forefront was created based on the premise that blockchain and NFTs should result in monetization. However, in the wake of the aforementioned turbulence in the cryptocurrency industry, 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 and excitement to customers. I see this as a very beneficial development for the future growth of the industry.
Our Group has multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development, some of which we announced last year, and we are undertaking preparations that will enable us to unveil even more titles this year. We are also engaged in global sourcing from an investment perspective and will continue to take stakes in promising businesses whether we find them in Japan or abroad. Blockchain has been an object of exhilaration and a source of turmoil, but with that in the rearview mirror, we hope that blockchain games will transition to a new stage of growth in 2023.
It's a risky move, especially taking into account that not a single blockchain-based game has managed to breach the mainstream. The vast majority have simply been the kind of manipulative money sinks that permeate 'Web 3'- if they aren't outright scams from the outset, that is. It's a shame, then, that the massive success of Final Fantasy 14 will continue to enable Square Enix to chase trends like this until the heat death of the universe.