Square Enix Doubles Down on Blockchain Commitments in 2023
Last year, Square Enix’s president, Yosuke Matsuda, announced his intention to push the firm towards metaverse integrations. There were whispers of introducing aspects of the blockchain to Square Enix’s products, as well as the creation of NFTs and tokenised economies within gaming platforms. Now, Matsuda has doubled down on that promise, after once again releasing a ‘New Year’s Letter’ that talks about company intentions to embark on a Web 3.0 journey.
In this letter, the word ‘blockchain’ was mentioned fourteen times, much to the dismay of gamers that may not approve of developers getting involved in the highly volatile industry. Earlier this year, Square Enix sold off several studios in order to farm cash that it could pump into investments that would see the company reach out into blockchain, AI, and cloud-based technologies. In Mastuda’s letter, it is clearly written, ‘we are most focused on blockchain entertainment‘, but at present, nobody really knows how.
Matsuda Still Wants To Break Into The Blockchain
In September, Square Enix partnered with Oasys Gaming Blockchain, but it’s a pairing that’s yet to materialise in terms of any real deliverables. At present, all that’s known is that the move was tied in with the relatively newly-formed Blockchain Entertainment Business division, housed firmly at the heart of Square Enix and its forward-looking roadmap.
It was back in May that Square Enix started moving with great gusto towards these objectives, though. In a full and sudden sweep, Square Enix sold out several studios to Embracer Group, a deal that came with a $300m price tag, in order to fund investments into blockchain-based pursuits. These progressive steps were summed up by Matsuda in his latest New Year’s Letter:
‘We are most focused on blockchain entertainment, to which we have devoted aggressive investment and business development efforts. Looking externally, I think it is fair to say that blockchain gained significant recognition as a field in 2022, as evidenced by “Web 3.0” becoming a firmly established buzzword among businesspeople.’
However, Matsuda did outline the highly volatile performance of the cryptocurrency and NFT markets this year, touching on the tragic downfall of the FTX platform. Regardless, the Square Enix president has his sights firmly set on Web 3.0 developments, and even went as far as to suggest that extensive work has been done behind the scenes to push the company into the space:
‘Our Group has multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development, some of which we announced last year, and we are undertaking preparations that will enable us to unveil even more titles this year.’
Recently, it was revealed that, in 2023, no new Square Enix titles would be debuting on the Xbox platform. Instead, all new Square Enix titles (and remasters) will be launching for PlayStation devices. This comes as little surprise, as in recent weeks, Sony has begun filing for patents directly linked to NFT and blockchain technologies.
It’s a waiting game now, and only Square Enix knows what’s coming next for itself.