In a New Year letter, Square Enix president and representative director Yosuke Matsuda marked 2023 as the 20 year anniversary between Square and Enix and shared some of the obstacles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Namely, the US Fed’s acceleration of raising interest rates in the attempt to prevent inflation from ballooning, setting off a chain reaction of events that have lead to a weak yen thereby stressing supply chain issues in Japan as importing goods becomes more expensive.
This has continued to have an impact on Square Enix’s business and operations, and includes examples such as Final Fantasy XIV being unable to easily purchase and install server infrastructure to accommodate larger amounts of players, though Matsuda expects the scarcity of desired components to improve in the Spring season.
The company also sold three studios in 2022: Crystal Dynamics (Marvel’s Avengers, Tomb Raider series), Eidos-Montreal (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Deus Ex series) and Square Enix Montreal (Deus Ex GO, Hitman GO) to the Embracer Group. This divestment was a part of the plan to reconfigure the company’s priorities and to focus on internally developed titles, though the company has looked to outside partners to develop the salvo of titles we saw this Fall, such as Valkyrie Elysium, The DioField Chronicle, Harvestella, Front Mission 1st Remake. The goal is to coalesce its development and publishing efforts to build “One Square Enix,” though it doesn’t rule out (presumably extrinsic) mergers and acquisitions to “optimize the studio portfolio.”
Matsuda shares that development on multiple blockchain games utilizing NFTs are in development and based on original IP. One of them, titled “Symbiogenesis”, has been announced with scant details. The game will feature 10,000 NFTs that players can purchase in-game, and while it’s possible to play without an NFT, the goal is to create scarcity as the friction between the haves and have-nots drive up their value. Very little about gameplay has been shared, other than choosing whether to keep “information” private or disseminate it amongst the player base is a major component. Buyer beware.
“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.”
Despite the ever-widening pothole surrounding Web3 tech including blockchain and NFTs, with massive losses reported in 2022 not only from hacks, but faith in the solubility of the technology in the greater marketplace, Matsuda looks past the year full of turmoil and that the ship will somehow right itself. He remains hopeful that “blockchain games will transition into a new stage of growth in 2023.”