Yosuke Matsuda, president of Square Enix — the game developer behind Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts — recently reiterated the company’s blockchain ambitions while acknowledging ongoing concerns about the new trend.

Fast facts

  • In a new year’s letter posted on the company website, Matsuda emphasized that incorporating blockchain technology into gaming holds “the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth,” built on the basis that each game would have its own token economy. He further explained that the token economy will motivate players to participate in interactive game content and naturally promote diversity in games, which is key to the self-sustaining game growth. Matsuda revealed that his company is looking into issuing its own blockchain-based token in the future.
  • Matsuda also highlighted NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and the metaverse as the quintessential trends of 2021, adding the company has since become more aggressive in allocating investments and research and development in areas of identified AI, the cloud and blockchain games — which were designated as the company’s new business domains in 2020. On NFTs, Matsuda agreed that the current speculative trading of the tokens is not ideal, but considers the problem one that will subside as they become more commonly adopted. 
  • Meanwhile, the company president recognizes that some existing game players, who “play to have fun,” are skeptical toward these emerging trends. “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,” Matsuda wrote.
  • Sega, another major game developer in Japan, had experienced backlash from fans of its own creation — Sonic the Hedgehog — after announcing its support for NFTs in April last year. Some diehard fans of the classic video game franchise pointed out that NFTs could potentially cause harm to the environment, which goes against the environmentalist themes of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Environmental concerns over NFTs seem to be growing alongside the popularity of the digital tokens — HYBE, the music agency behind the globally popular K-pop boy band BTS, received criticism from fans over the same reason after announcing its partnership with Dunamu to issue NFTs of K-pop merchandise. However, HYBE has expressed its will to push forward its NFT ventures even after the backlash, saying the technology will bestow fans more opportunities to express themselves.