Square Enix president and representative director Yosuke Matsuda released a New Years letter in which he states that blockchain and NFTs will be a “major strategic theme for us in 2022.”
NFTs and blockchain technology have been widely criticized for a variety of reasons, chief among them are the vast amounts of energy they consume, a spiral downward into further commodification of art, and the implicit sanctioning of art theft. Even the implementation of this technology in games is suspect, as a market for buying and selling decentralized assets with no oversight has extremely risky outcomes, as well as the concept of digital ownership of a token running off of infrastructure you don’t own. What happens if the entity responsible for that infrastructure shuts down?
Game developers themselves, outside a company’s management class, are also soggy on the whole idea.
Matsuda’s letter is very much pointed at Square Enix’s shareholders rather than the general public, which may lead some to speculate that this is largely to show that the company isn’t eschewing a potential new line of considerable profit. However, he excitedly continues to share how the company is moving forward into implementing this technology in games:
“It is blockchain-based tokens that will enable this. By designing viable token economies into our games, we will enable self-sustaining game growth. It is precisely this sort of ecosystem that lies at the heart of what I refer to as “decentralized gaming,” and I hope that this becomes a major trend in gaming going forward. […] We will keep a close eye on societal shifts in this space while listening to the many groups of users that populate it, and ramp up our efforts to develop a business accordingly, with an eye to potentially issuing our own tokens in the future.”
Recently, fans of GSC Games World’s STALKER 2 rallied successfully to get the company to remove NFTs from the upcoming game after an embarrassing pushback.
With Square Enix’s 2022 plans fixating toward finding opportunities to insert this highly controversial technology into its games, it may fall on the shoulders of fans to speak out against it.