What is the metaverse of the Square Enix NFT strategy in the blockchain created by AI – 2021 in a nutshell
What is the current Square Enix NFT strategy? Well, the jury is out, but this New Year’s Letter from company president Yosuke Matsuda could be the canary in the coal mine.
The letter is comically paced! Here’s the first line: “I would like to begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year.” So far so good. Here’s the very next sentence: “The metaverse was a hot topic in 2021.” No, back away!
Matsuda notes that the term “Metaverse” is “here to stay,” before musing on NFTs and blockchain technology. Parsing through the chaff, here’s the crux of what he had to say on NFTs in particular:
“Another term that gained quick currency in 2021 was ‘NFT’ or ‘non-fungible token.’ The advent of NFTs using blockchain technology significantly increased the liquidity of digital goods, enabling the trading of a variety of such goods at high prices and sparking conversations the world over. I see 2021 not only as ‘Metaverse: Year One,’ but also as ‘NFTs: Year One’ given that it was a year in which NFTs were met with a great deal of enthusiasm by a rapidly expanding user base. However, we do observe examples here and there of overheated trading in NFT-based digital goods with somewhat speculative overtones, regardless of the observed value of the content provided This, obviously, is not an ideal situation, but I expect to see an eventual right-sizing in digital goods deals as they become more commonplace among the general public, with the value of each available content corrected to their true estimated worth, and I look for them to become as familiar as dealings in physical goods.”
Translation: NFTs are not an “ideal situation” in the sense that companies are trying to push them on an audience that either doesn’t want them (ergo they cannot monetize), or damages their reputation. The “right-sizing” he’s referring to is likely a situation where Square Enix can make free bank off NFTs without pissing people off. We have yet to see that reality.
Here’s the most ominous passage: “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.”
More exciting for who? Investors?
He closes with this phrasing: “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.” Matsuda is playing a smart game here. He obviously needs to consider this sort of thing if he wants to placate rich investors. But he also is very careful not to piss off the player base. While some companies are going fully into NFTs already, some stupidly so before walking back home with their tails between their legs, Square Enix is taking it slowly. Until they don’t.