Square Enix president to commit to P2E blockchain games

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has shared details of how the company expects to benefit from blockchain technology. The Final Fantasy publisher revealed plans to develop blockchain games with play to earn (P2E) features.

Matsuda said during a recent interview with Yahoo Japan that focusing only on traditional games, especially in the domestic Japanese market, would not be enough for the company in the future. He said he wanted to release titles in which users can create content and receive rewards for it.

The president added that he aimed to “design games that will continue to evolve leveraging the power of [autonomous game content]” and incentivise user-generated content using blockchain technology. Matsuda previously said that Square Enix might create its own cryptocurrency.

“In the future, we would like to try to provide ‘autonomous game content’,” Matsuda told Yahoo Japan, as translated by Video Games Chronicle.

The president explained that until recently, the company made most games available to players as finished products. Yet, he argued, there were some players who wished to innovate by creating new settings and ways of playing to make games more enjoyable.

“In the future, we want to utilise the power of these people to create games that will continue to evolve,” Matsuda added. “If, instead of relying on goodwill, we can also provide incentives to those who contribute to development by utilising technologies such as blockchain, there is a possibility that innovative and interesting content can be created from the ideas of users.”

Matsuda’s New Year’s letter

The Square Enix president recently came under fire after writing in his New Year’s letter that NFT and blockchain technology would be a “major trend” in gaming. He wrote that cloud gaming, AI, and blockchain games were among the areas he believed would undergo significant growth in 2022.

Matsuda said he believed that blockchain games held the possibility of self-sustaining growth by applying the play to earn system. He said that blockchain games “are built upon the premise of a token economy and therefore hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth”.

The ability for users to earn from digital content in games could revive user-generated content, the Square Enix president argued. Matsuda was adamant that the lack of incentives had limited user creation.

“I realise that some people who ‘play to have fun’ and who currently form the majority of players have voiced their reservations toward these new trends, and understandably so,” he wrote.

“However, I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to ‘play to contribute,’ by which I mean to help make the game more exciting.”

Many gaming industry personalities expressed disapproval of Matsuda’s letter, including game designer and consultant Brandon Sheffield.

“Among all the grossness of this whole letter, and even this quote, what gets me is the idea that people who play games to have fun are only ‘currently’ the majority, and the implication that changing this is a good idea,” Brandon wrote on Twitter.

Game development veteran Shahid Kamal Ahmad also wrote: “We already have an entitlement issue amongst many players, and I’d argue that the behaviour of large organisations has been a factor in that shift. That will accelerate and become ugly if large orgs then try to turn their players into Mechanical Turks for their utopian metaverses”.

That being said, Square Enix’s share price rose by eight percent – its biggest single-day gain since last August – after Matsuda published his letter.