Square Enix’s Final Fantasy has teamed up with Enjin’s Polkadot-based Efinity platform to launch NFT collectibles.
Final Fantasy, one of the most popular video game series of all times, will release NFTs paired with physical trading cards and toys in 2023. To accomplish this, Japanese publisher Square Enix has partnered with blockchain gaming firm Enjin. The NFTs will be tied to to physical action figures and trading cards based on Final Fantasy VII.
In spring 2023 Square Enix is planning to start with a six-card pack containing a code to redeem for a single NFT trading card minted by Enjin on its Efinity platform, which is built on the Polkadot blockchain. Later on in autumn 2023 the publisher will release a limited edition action figure of the game’s main protagonist, Cloud Strife. There will be a standard figure and a “Digital Plus Edition”, which both will contain a code to redeem an NFT certificate of authenticity. The “Digital Plus Edition” will also have an additional NFT — a digital version of a physical toy.
Efinity is a platform with 100+ games and apps, launched by Enjin using Polkadot parachain. Polkadot uses a proof-of-stake consensus model that does not require energy-intensive mining and provides for lower transaction costs.
Witek Radomski, Enjin CTO, commented “This partnership marks a coming-of-age phase for digital assets and entertainment; Square Enix, an esteemed developer with iconic intellectual property, is paving the way for the industry. By using Efinity, fans can experience interactive NFTs without even realizing they’re on the blockchain. Enjin can establish the next phase of growth in blockchain entertainment, merging curiosity and creativity.”
Enjin first worked with Square Enix for some time hosting their websites, but then amid growing interest in blockchain tech and NFTs, they decided to partner to play their best card — Final Fantasy. Square Enix has also showed interest in blockchain and NFT endeavours: first, they invested in the metaverse game Sandbox, released NFT collectibles in Japan based on its Million Arthur game series using the LINE blockchain platform, and this year announced plans to bring the Dungeon Siege franchise to the NFT-powered game world.
The president of Square Enix in his 2022 New Year letter expressed a positive attitude towards NFTs, tokenised economies and “play-to earn” games. This declared intention was further supported by the actual steps the company has taken throughout 2022: they sold some major franchises, Tomb Raider included, and 3 gaming studios, and plan to invest a part of the $300 million raised into crypto development.
Enjin, Square Enix’s partner in this endeavour, has been working with Ethereum network for quite a long time. However, at some point they realised that Ethereum’s low transaction capacity and surging fees could limit game developers. As a scaling solution, they decided to build Efinity on Polkadot as it lets builders customise it. Efinity platform now allows developers to deploy their own infrastructure and build NFT-powered games. However, Polkadot parachain won’t be the only one: they are planning to bridge to Ethereum and other blockchains.
The fact that major publishers like Square Enix and Ubisoft are getting interested in the NFT gaming, signals that the industry will be developing further. However, there is quite a big crowd of gamers who are against NFT-powered games due to environmental concerns and the fact that “play-to-earn” games like Axie Infinity are for earning, not for having fun. Besides, NFTs are subject to fraudulent activities. Enjin CTO Witek Radomski is sure that NFTs will eventually penetrate the gaming industry for its own benefit.
“Gamers have to be shown that developers want to use these things responsibly in interesting ways to enhance gameplay, not just as a monetisation mechanism.”
If we take a look at other “AAA” (top-tier) game publishers beside Square Enix, like Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Microsoft, we will see a substantial tendency to adopt NFTs. After staying silent on the whole NFT discussion throughout 2021, Nintendo broke its silence in February 2022, and said they felt that there was potential in this area. When the idea of NFTs and blockchain technology started to gain some momentum, EA initially showed a lot of interest. It was the company’s opinion that the industry was going to move towards NFTs and P2E games. Over time, it has become clear that EA messaging differs depending on its audience. To investors, it’s pro-NFT, but to gamers, it’s a position of NFT scepticism. Which is not a big surprise after the huge fan backlash to the launch of Ubisoft Quartz NFT platform. As we already know, Microsoft is also being super cautious about NFTs, and even banned every possible use of them in Minecraft.
Let’s observe what the future holds for NFTs in the major gaming franchises!