Square Enix’s Yosuke Matsuda has released its annual New Year President’s Letter for 2023. These missives tend to give people an idea of what to expect from the company in the coming year, as well as goals. In addition to mentioning the 20th anniversary of the Square-Enix merger, the goal of building an end-to-end global publishing organization, and discussing how he got rid of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal and Square Enix Montreal, he also noted a continued commitment to a mentioned company in 2022. In other words, despite the fluctuations and situations in the cryptocurrency field in 2022, Square Enix will continue to invest and explore NFTs and blockchain games.
As a reminder, Square Enix president Matsuda also touched on NFTs and blockchain gaming in his 2022 New Year’s letter. At the time, he hinted that there would be story-focused NFTs.
Here’s the portion of Square Enix’s New Year’s letter where Matsuda discussed the company’s approach to NFTs and blockchain gaming going forward.
As regards the new business areas, we have identified three priority investment areas within our medium-term business plan. Of these, we are most focused on blockchain entertainment, to which we have devoted aggressive investment and business development efforts. Looking from the outside, I think it’s fair to say that blockchain has gained significant recognition as a field in 2022, as evidenced by the fact that “Web 3.0” has become an established reality among business people. However, the year was also characterized by volatility in the cryptocurrency and NFT (non-fungible token) markets following the dramatic changes in the macroeconomics described above. The second half of the year in particular produced a sad string of news with blockchain ties, including FTX’s outrageous bankruptcy filing in November.
In the wake of these developments, we are hearing rumors from some countries about first steps to regulate these companies more stringently. In Japan, meanwhile, the government-led push to encourage such enterprises has accelerated. In June 2022, the Japanese cabinet approved a plan called “Priority Policy Agenda for Realizing a Digital Society”, which includes language related to creating an environment to promote the concept of Web 3.0, including the use of NFTs based on blockchain technology. . The Japanese digital agency has also launched a Web 3.0 study group.
New technologies and new structures drive innovation, but they also create considerable confusion. After passing these social tides, some of these technologies and frameworks gradually become a part of people’s lives, eventually giving rise to new business and growth. After the excitement and euphoria that surrounded NFTs and the metaverse in 2021, 2022 has been a year of high volatility in the blockchain space. However, if this turns out to have been a step in a process leading to the creation of rules and a more transparent trading environment, it will surely have been for the sake of the growth of blockchain entertainment.
Keeping an eye on these environmental changes while considering from a higher angle what Web 3.0 and blockchain entertainment really are presents a different perspective than if you focused on them solely in terms of technology or speculative investments . As I said in last year’s New Year’s letter, if we consider that the traditional game has been centralized, then the blockchain game must operate on the basis of an autonomous decentralized model. It is this concept, this philosophy that I consider the key.
That is, the kind of new experiences and thrills that our digital entertainment business can offer our customers through its game development efforts and other efforts under the autonomous and decentralized concept is extremely important.
Several overseas blockchain gaming events have recently produced more active discussions than ever about what makes gaming exciting and what their user community is like. The market was driven more by speculative investors than players until 2021. In other words, the content that was cutting edge was created on the principle that blockchain and NFT should lead to monetization. However, as a result of the aforementioned turmoil in the cryptocurrency industry, there is now a tendency to view blockchain technology simply as a means to an end and to discuss what needs to happen to achieve that end, offering new experiences and excitement to customers . I consider this a very beneficial development for the future growth of the industry.
Our group has several original IP-based blockchain games in development, some of which we announced last year, and we are embarking on preparations that will allow us to unveil even more titles this year. We are also committed to global sourcing from an investment perspective and will continue to take stakes in promising companies whether we find them in Japan or overseas. Blockchain has been the subject of euphoria and a source of turmoil, but with that in the rear view mirror, let’s hope the blockchain game hits another stage of growth in 2023.
Square Enix has already begun to embark on this kind of effort. In November 2022, he announced Symbiogenesis. The announcement anticipating the project stated that it would be an “NFT Collectible Art Project”, during which participants “Reveal the story. » It will be launched in spring 2023.