Is a decentralized version of Final Fantasy coming?


In 2022, Yosuke Matsuda, the president of Square Enix, started the year by addressing the company's future plans in a New Year's letter. The letter indicates that Square Enix will tilt toward NFTs, blockchain games, and the metaverse.

Square Enix, a merger from Square and Enix formed in April 2003, is a Japanese video game company best known for its role-playing game franchises, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts. Aside from video game publishing, it also offers various merchandise and arcade/amusement facilities.

Square Enix's Final Fantasy franchise is huge in Indonesia and around the globe. In December 2021, the sales of Final Fantasy XIV had to be postponed due to server overload. The franchise has sold almost 160 million copies worldwide.

Matsuda's positive outlook towards NFTs and metaverse gaming

In the letter, Matsuda talked about how the metaverse was a hot topic in 2021 and what opportunities it could bring. Matsuda mentioned that the metaverse would most likely see a transition to a business phase due to the various technological advances that have taken place in the field of extended reality (XR). 

Matsuda said, "As this abstract concept begins to take concrete shape in the form of product and service offerings, I am hoping that it will bring about changes that have a more substantial impact on our business as well."
He further noted that 2021 was a year in which the NFTs had been met with a lot of enthusiasm. Although he acknowledged that there were cases where overheated trading had occurred, Matsuda believed that the NFTs would eventually recover. He also expected that digital goods would eventually become more common. 
The 2022 New Year's letter became relevant to Square Enix's research and development in May 2020. Matsuda mentioned that Square Enix would be focusing on AI, blockchain, and cloud-based technologies as new domains that the company should be investing in.

The potential of decentralized gaming
Matsuda described blockchain games as "a unidirectional flow whereby creators such as ourselves provide a game to the consumers that play them."
He then discussed the potential of blockchain games, built on the premise of a token economy. "The driver that most enables such self-sustaining game growth is diversity, both in how people engage with interactive content like games and in their motivations for doing so," Matsuda said.
He then continued, "Advances in token economies will likely add further momentum to this trend of diversification. I see the "play to earn" concept that has people so excited as a prime example of this."
While he acknowledges that there are still skeptics about cryptocurrencies, he also noted that people are also interested in contributing to the new trends. Matsuda mentioned that traditional gaming has not incentivized those who "play to contribute." 
This is not to say that games aren't interesting or that people have no incentives to create user-generated content. However, he explained that the lack of incentive has led to the lack of major game-changing content.
With the rise of token economies, Matsuda believes that users will be incentivized to make creative contributions. "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," said Matsuda.

What's next for Square Enix

Matsuda said Square Enix would design viable token economies into their games to enable self-sustaining game growth. He hopes that this trend will become "a major trend in gaming going forward." Matsuda mentioned that Square Enix would focus on decentralized games in addition to their traditional centralized games.
Due to the increasing acceptance of crypto assets, Matsuda said that Square Enix would keep a close eye on the developments in this space and would also consider issuing their tokens in the future.
In conclusion, Matsuda noted that the changes brought about by the new technologies will enable Square Enix to achieve this. "This at the same time means that we are seeing the beginnings of further leaps forward for our business."
Matsuda also said that the company's goal is to continuously improve the quality of life for its customers through digital entertainment and wished the fans a good year ahead. 
"We remain committed to creating, developing, and providing world-class content, and we will contribute to the happiness of society and its people by offering new forms of excitement. I wish you all the best for 2022," Matsuda closed his letter.



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