Final Fantasy maker Square Enix will make blockchain gaming a major focus in 2023 despite continuing scandals and volatility in the crypto industry.
It's banking on blockchain games transitioning to a new stage of growth in 2023 that will usher in a more mature market.
“There is now a trend to view blockchain technology as a mere means to an end and to discuss what needs to happen to achieve the end of delivering new experiences and excitement to customers. I see this as a very beneficial development for the future growth of the industry,” Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda wrote in a New Year's letter on Sunday.
Among gaming giants, Square Enix has been one of the most vocal converts to blockchain over the past year. It has even sold off popular intellectual property such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, as well as three gaming studios, as part of its efforts to consolidate and focus on new projects.
In September, it became a validator for Japanese gaming blockchain Oasys. Last month, it invested $52.7 million in Gumi Games to develop its mobile play-to-earn library. Final Fantasy-based NFTs are also slated to debut in 2023, according to an announcement from the company in July.
Final Fantasy rumblings
Whether fans will get on board is another question. Matsuda’s letter has caused rumblings among Final Fantasy fans and renewed concerned NFTs may be integrated into Final Fantasy XVI, which is scheduled for release in June.
With much of the gaming community still hostile to NFTs and blockchain technology, other companies have found themselves having to pull back from NFT plans in the face of criticism. In February, Worms creators Team17 walked back their MetaWorms NFT projects after just one day following backlash from fans.
But Square Enix continues to plough ahead. It has multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development, some of which were announced last year. It’s also undertaking preparations that will enable us to unveil even more titles this year and will continue to take stakes in promising businesses, Matsuda added.
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