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Square Enix Will Push into Blockchain Gaming in 2023

The gaming giant Square Enix reaffirmed the company’s focus on blockchain technology with “multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development” despite the public backlash against the initiative.

Square Enix will stay focused on blockchain in 2023. Source: Square Enix

Remember we wrote about Square Enix partnering with Enjin’s Polkadot-based Efinity platform to launch Final Fantasy NFT collectibles? This week the company behind the popular video games, released a New Year's letter from its president and representative director, Yosuke Matsuda, affirming his plan to continue the dive into blockchain gaming. This echoes Matsuda’s New Year’s message from last January, where the company first expressed its enthusiasm for an NFT-fuelled, metaverse future.

In terms of new business domains, we named three focus investment fields under our medium-term business plan. Among those, we are most focused on blockchain entertainment, to which we have devoted aggressive investment and business development efforts”, Matsuda wrote in his letter.

Matsuda also addressed the sceptical gaming community in his letter, claiming that new tech usually receives initial backlash before becoming widely accepted:“New technologies and frameworks lead to innovation, but they also create considerable confusion,” he wrote. While also stating “Having ridden out such societal tides, some such technologies and frameworks gradually become part of people’s lives, eventually giving rise to new businesses and growth.”

Blockchain is clearly at the company's forefront. In May 2022, after selling a handful of their western studios and IP for $300 million, including Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, Square Enix mentioned that they’d be able to use the additional cash to launch new businesses in blockchain, AI, and the cloud.

Good thing for Square Enix’s plans: Japan, where the company’s HQ is located, has great conditions for further expansion into blockchain. The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, has been actively trying to jump-start the country's economy through promoting investment in digital technology. The government approved Priority Policy Program for Realizing a Digital Society, along with the establishment of a DAO by its official Digital Agency in November of last year, both centre around studying Web3 as closely as possible.

Despite a lot of criticism from the gaming society, Square Enix’s decision regarding blockchain runs in contrast to the broader gaming market’s attitude toward NFTs, best exemplified by Minecraft’s ban of all blockchain technology from the platform. Square Enix clearly want to establish themselves as leaders in blockchain gaming and are foreseeing a great year ahead with a lot of new games coming up, like Forsaken and Final Fantasy 16. We continue to observe.