Square Enix President Starts 2022 With Nonsensical NFT Letter

Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda has baffled the gaming world with a lengthy letter espousing the benefits and future applications of NFTs within video games. This letter is far from the first instance of controversial NFT-praising from a popular publisher, with Ubisoft recently coming under criticism for its NFT plans.

NFTs, or non-fungible-tokens, are unique packets of data that utilize blockchain technology to create a non-reproducible digital item. NFTs are often connected to items that can be reproduced or copied, such as images, videos, or audio files. In this way, NFTs can be used to make a digital product scarce in a world where replicating an image seen online is as simple as taking a screenshot. A few game companies are seizing upon this opportunity and attempting to implement this concept into upcoming games by way of limited cosmetics and other downloadable content. Speculation and excitement about NFTs in gaming seem to be running rampant, with developers shoving them into games to the chagrin of players. The studio behind the hotly anticipated S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2  even had to cancel its NFT plans after receiving copious amounts of backlash from gamers.

Related: Ubisoft's NFTs Will Only Make Its Games Even Worse

Yosuke Matsuda publicly endorsed the concept of NFTs in video games in a New Year's announcement. In a post on the official Square Enix website, Matsuda details his appreciation of metaverse and blockchain technology, stating that so-called "decentralized gaming" will be a major part of the company's strategy in the coming years. Several onlookers, including Necrosoft Games director Brandon Sheffield, have identified Matsuda's comments about the mainstream gaming landscape as particularly disturbing: "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...I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to 'play to contribute.'"

With this statement, it would appear that Square Enix is joining the likes of the eternally controversial EA in NFT propagation. By identifying the "play to have fun" crowd as a separate entity, Matsuda can be seen as marginalizing a viewpoint that most gamers would argue is the status quo: that games should be fun. While Matsuda does mention that Square Enix will continue to publish NFT-free content, this planned shift into blockchain gaming could signal trouble for many fans.

Matsuda notes that the company will continue to listen to feedback from consumers moving forward, though many gamers will likely find that hard to believe; by all accounts, those who support NFTs in gaming form a very small subset of the overall gaming community, with most gamers being very vocal in their distaste for the prevalence of this new technology. Square Enix saw plenty of success with the recent Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, so hopefully the Japanese gaming giant will read the room and keep its focus on core gaming experiences.

Next: Square Enix PSP Games That Need To Be On PlayStation Spartacus

Source: Square Enix, Brandon Sheffield/Twitter

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