Square Enix president reasserts commitment to NFTs, blockchain gaming

Final Fantasy

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda asserted the company’s commitment to investing in NFTs and blockchain games despite the uncertainty in the crypto industry in 2022.

“In terms of new business domains, we named three focus investment fields under our medium-term business plan,” Matsuda wrote in a New Year’s Letter for 2023. “Among those, we are most focused on blockchain entertainment, to which we have devoted aggressive investment and business development efforts.”

The Final Fantasy franchise developer is currently developing blockchain games based on original Intellectual Properties (IPs) — one of them is Dungeon Siege. Matsuda said that the company would unveil more titles in 2023. This spring, it also plans to Symbiogenesis, an “NFT collectible art project” that allows its participants to untangle integrated stories within the collection.

To support its plan in expanding to these new products, Matsuda said Square Enix had engaged with global investors. The company also aims to take stakes in “promising” business, whether in Japan or abroad.

The company said the decision to continue investment in blockchain technology came because blockchain had gained “significant recognition” as a legitimate sector last year, proven by the popularity of the term “Web 3.0” among business circles.

The president said he was aware of the volatility in the crypto industry, which also affected the NFT market, due to the instability in the global macro economy. He said that the industry became more volatile following the news of the problematic bankruptcy cases involving high-profile crypto companies, like FTX and Three Arrows Capital.

Matsuda said the distrust in crypto and blockchain had pushed numerous countries into taking crypto regulation more seriously. While some crypto advocates said there would be some issues with the efforts to regulate crypto like traditional assets, Matsuda reaffirmed that the Japanese government was supportive of the growth of the blockchain sector. The Japanese cabinet signed the “Priority Policy Program for Realizing a Digital Society” initiative back in June 2022.

This initiative included the development of an environment to promote Web 3.0 — according to the plan, this would involve NFT. The Japanese Digital Agency also recently launched a Web 3.0 learning group for people to get to know the technology better.

Matsuda explained that the new regulatory frameworks would enhance blockchain adaptation in people’s lives. The industry will have a clear guide to minimize confusion and boos transparency, leading to a rise in business opportunities. Square Enix plans on “keeping a steady eye” on changes in its surrounding environment while continuing its innovations.

The decentralization aspect of Web 3.0, according to Matsuda, is superior compared to traditional gaming. Unlike in Web 2.0, individual players in Web 3.0 games have authority over the content they use. He said it would maintain content sustainability.

The Square Enix leader also talked about the shift in the blockchain industry, saying that numerous discussions in blockchain gaming events contributed to the development. Throughout 2021, speculative investors dominated the blockchain sector. It led to the notion that blockchain and NFTs should be monetized.

However, the crypto winter in 2022 made people think that blockchain technology was only a means to an end. Many people in the industry now think that the focus should be on creating quality experiences for customers.

Square Enix’s releases in 2023

Square Enix plans to release some games in 2023. This January, the company will release Forspoken, an entirely new franchise. Square Enix worked together with Western game makers to produce this game. Pre-released reviews said the game offered fun combat and compelling adventures for players. However, for some people, the dialogues in the game were “middling.”

The game developer will also launch Final Fantasy XVI this June as well as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth later in the year. Fans can also expect to see a new Voice of Cards release in 2023.