Square Enix president lauds blockchain for play-to-earn and ‘self-sustaining game growth’ potential

I know I just said we weren't focusing on this, but it's a good screenshot!

If you’ve been anywhere near gaming social media or news feeds, you’ve no doubt been exposed to the loud, trumpety fart of a letter from Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda that, among other things, stated the company’s interest in pursuing NFT and blockchain tech in gaming as a way of increasing engagementâ„¢ and revenue in turn. If not, then prepare for a blast, as the letter features such winsome, totally in-touch paragraphs such as this when discussing how blockchain can be used to motivate players:

“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, and understandably so. However, I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to ‘play to contribute,’ by which I mean to help make the game more exciting. Traditional gaming has offered no explicit incentive to this latter group of people, who were motivated strictly by such inconsistent personal feelings as goodwill and volunteer spirit. […] However, with advances in token economies, users will be provided with explicit incentives, thereby resulting not only in greater consistency in their motivation, but also creating a tangible upside to their creative efforts.”

Matsuda reasons that introducing blockchain and NFT tech into gaming will not only incentivize user-generated content for gaming, but will also “hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth.” He also believes that there has been “an increase in the societal literacy and acceptance of crypto assets in the past few years.” The letter stops short of outright stating a blockchain game from the company is coming, but it does mention decentralized games will be “a major theme” starting this year, and will keep an eye on societal shifts and the possibility of minting its own currency. Readers will recall that this tracks with plans outlined by Squeenix in its recent earnings call.

As alluded to before, reaction and response to this letter has been swift and unkind.

  • “First developer challenge of 2022 (impossible): read this entire letter without a single audible groan or visible eye-roll,” wrote former Vlambeer co-lead Rami Ismail on Twitter.
  • “Bl*ckchain is only attractive from a business perspective because it’s currently unregulated. A way to get UGC free of cost & liability. Spoilers: It’s not going to stay that way,” wrote WoW lead encounter designer Matt Villers.
  • “This is an onion article right? ‘We know there are some of you who ‘play to have fun”. That’s something a villain says,” reads a tweet from previous Riot Games dev Daniel Klein.
sources: Square Enix website, Twitter, thanks to Randomness, Bruno, and Apparition for the tip!
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