Are Square Enix set to become the latest company to make a bungled attempt to enter the blockchain gaming and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry?
Yosuke Matsuda, the president of the company responsible for the Final Fantasy series of games amongst many others, has concerned fans that his company could be set to switch its focus to the blockchain and NFTs.
“Ramp Up Our Efforts To Develop A Business Accordingly”
In what appeared to be less of a review of the company’s performance in the past year and more an appeal for support from the large Square Enix community of gamers, Mr Matsuda stated:
The basic and elemental technologies to enable blockchain games already exist, and there has been an increase in the societal literacy and acceptance of crypto assets in the past few years.
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.
What concerns many people is given the wide array of Square Enix games, which includes the likes of Avengers, Outriders, Guardians of the Galaxy and Tomb Raider, alongside the Final Fantasy series of games, the potential for these games to become loot-box havens for NFTs and more is very high.
This is a grave concern for many people in these communities who fear that Square Enix will move away from producing quality content and updates to these games, which have been a key part of them being so popular, and instead focusing on a financial-driven goal of flogging as many NFT’s they can to its customer base.
NFTs Notable Failures
While within the cryptocurrency community, there has been a large-scale acceptance of NFTs, there has been far less of a welcome for the tokens within the gaming community, with many fans fearing for the future of their favourite titles and snubbing NFT offers made by other companies.
Ubisoft decided to offer a range of NFT’s for its Ghost Recon Breakpoint game, but it was so poorly received by gamers that despite offering thousands of NFTs to buy, the sales of them were in double digits only and raised just a few hundred dollars.
Similarly, the fans of STALKER 2 managed to get a promotion cancelled as it featured NFTs.
Certainly, there is a huge push back from fan bases across many games, including many esports titles, which means that developers are going to have to try and find a way to try and appease that backlash.
There are already a significant number of fans on social media who have stated their intention to stop playing games that start to use NFT’s and loot-box in-game revenue generation systems as a major marketing ploy.
Reduction Of The Gaming Experience
What we are slowly seeing is a number of companies viewing NFTs as another ‘cash cow’ from which they can milk further funds from gamers by offering them items that they feel gamers will want.
However, as we have seen, gamers are not altogether keen on NFT’s being crow-barred into their game in an unsubtle and intrusive way. They are rightly angry at being asked to pay even more for a game that they have already supported financially, often in many different ways already.
There are also considerations for other industries. What would happen to the esports and esports betting industries for example if popular titles in this industry followed suit, and players started to leave games in their droves?
For any NFT to work, it has to be desired by the community within which it is available. If it is not, then any introduction of NFTs into games is only likely to end in its failure and the decimation of a community that was built on a shared enjoyment of a game, not an exploitation of that support by greedy tech executives and shareholders.