Square Enix wants to jump into blockchain, complete with its own token economies. This isn't the first time the publisher has talked up emerging trends--in fact, it wants to embrace practically every games technology on the market.
Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest publisher Square Enix wants to do it all: cloud gaming, VR, and now play-to-earn. Recent comments from Square Enix's president Yosuke Matsuda regarding NFTs and blockchain have caused lots of buzz in the gaming sphere, but the reality is this is nothing new for the company. Square Enix has a long history of evangelizing new gaming trends.
A quick look at previous Square Enix's letters from the president really underline this point. From 2015 onward, Matsuda's charismatic optimism promises big, bold opportunities for the upcoming year. Matsuda's excitement promises significant disruption and change in the games industry for the year ahead. This is particularly interesting given Square Enix's attempt to pioneer a new $69.99 MSRP for PC games.
"The entertainment content industry remains at the center of a maelstrom of change," Matsuda wrote in a letter from 2016, where he pledged to support bold new entries in AR and VR. Let this set the tone for most of the annual letters.
Here's a quick synopsis of the kinds of thing Square Enix mentions in its New Year's letters:
- 2015 - F2P, live gaming
- 2016 - VR, AR
- 2017 - VR, AR, smartphone gaming
- 2018 - 5G, mobile/Switch gaming
- 2019 - Blockchain, XR
- 2020 - Cloud gaming, 5G, emphasis on AI and XR
- 2021 - Cloud-based gaming and content, AI, and 5G
- 2022 - Metaverse Year One, NFTs
Hopefully this puts things into perspective. Square Enix wants to do big things in all markets, platforms, formats, etc, but the reality is that the publisher isn't adept at every business practice. Deus Ex Mankind Divided's controversial singleplayer microtransactions come to mind, for instance, or Forspoken's new $70 price tag on Steam.
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