Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda has released a New Year’s message reflecting on 2021 and the future of gaming in 2022 and beyond. The letter does not reference any particular Square Enix IPs but instead focuses on the development of different technologies that can be used in the game. Yosuke Matsuda confirms that since 2020 there has been a large investment for Square Enix’s medium term strategy to explore advancements in AI, the Cloud, and blockchain games. Further, there is mention of the Metaverse and NFTs (non fungible tokens), the latter especially having received major backlash from the gaming community. It seems that Square Enix will be exploring NFTs for future products.
In the letter Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda writes, “Another term that gained quick currency in 2021 was “NFT” or “non-fungible token.” The advent of NFTs using blockchain technology significantly increased the liquidity of digital goods, enabling the trading of a variety of such goods at high prices and sparking conversations the world over. I see 2021 not only as “Metaverse: Year One,” but also as “NFTs: Year One” given that it was a year in which NFTs were met with a great deal of enthusiasm by a rapidly expanding user base. However, we do observe examples here and there of overheated trading in NFT-based digital goods with somewhat speculative overtones, regardless of the observed value of the content provided This, obviously, is not an ideal situation, but I expect to see an eventual right-sizing in digital goods deals as they become more commonplace among the general public, with the value of each available content corrected to their true estimated worth, and I look for them to become as familiar as dealings in physical goods.”
Following on from this statement, the letter continues on the benefits of ‘token economies’, and their place in gaming. Square Enix appears to be looking towards a decentralised platform for games instead of the more traditional centralised platform where developers develop and players play. In the letter, Yosuke Matsuda continues by saying:
“I realize 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. 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. Traditional gaming has offered no explicit incentive to this latter group of people, who were motivated strictly by such inconsistent personal feelings as goodwill and volunteer spirit. This fact is not unrelated to the limitations of existing UGC (user-generated content). UGC has been brought into being solely because of individuals’ desire for self-expression and not because any explicit incentive existed to reward them for their creative efforts. I see this as one reason that there haven’t been as many major game-changing content that were user generated as one would expect.
However, with advances in token economies, users will be provided with explicit incentives, thereby resulting not only in greater consistency in their motivation, but also creating a tangible upside to their creative efforts. I believe that this will lead to more people devoting themselves to such efforts and to greater possibilities of games growing in exciting ways. From having fun to earning to contributing, a wide variety of motivations will inspire people to engage with games and connect with one another. It is blockchain-based tokens that will enable this. By designing viable token economies into our games, we will enable self-sustaining game growth. It is precisely this sort of ecosystem that lies at the heart of what I refer to as “decentralized gaming,” and I hope that this becomes a major trend in gaming going forward.”
What impact this will have on the Square Enix games portfolio will remain to be seen. 2022 is quite a big year in terms of releases for the company including the likes of new IP Forspoken, Chocobo GP, Star Ocean: The Divine Force, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, and Dying Light 2 on PC and consoles. In the mobile space, Square Enix will be releasing Echoes of Mana and Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis. Looking further there is Final Fantasy XVI. With Square Enix backing NFTs, token economies, and blockchain technology we could see some of these titles having features to link to those.
Source: Square Enix