Japanese gaming giant Square Enix is putting serious efforts into blockchain games. The company behind games like Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy is looking at blockchain games as a way to provide its customer with ‘something new’. President Yosuke Matsuda of Square Enix wrote this in a New Year’s letter.
Matsuda recognized the growth of blockchain games during 2019. Even though he didn’t mention any titles by name, games like Gods Unchained, Axie Infinity and My Crypto Heroes have been attracting above average attention from gamers and investors.
“Games using blockchain are no longer in their infancy and are gradually coming to represent a more significant presence.”Yosuke Matsuda – New Year’s letter 2020
The president of Square Enix emphasized on the need to not create a blockchain game just as an easy cash grab or as an opportunity for speculative investments. He stated that his company wants to bring something new to its customers. That would be the crucial way to create growth.
“2020 will be a year of major changes for the digital entertainment industry as we stand on the cusp of a new era. We intend to view these changes as opportunities and to take on a variety of new challenges.”Yosuke Matsuda – New Year’s letter 2020
Already one year of research and development
Nobody knows what Square Enix is actually working on. However, one year ago Matsuda already expressed his interest in blockchain games. He stated that he was ‘very interested in potential applications for blockchain technology in the digital content space’.
It’s very likely that Square Enix has been doing research in the blockchain space during 2019. As a result they might be able to showcase their first decentralized game in the coming months.
Square Enix already announced it has several games in development aimed at cloud gaming. This cloud-native games could potentially also use blockchain-functionalities. Matsuda emphasized that cloud-native games require innovation in terms of distribution, but also in terms of gaming experiences. Perhaps that’s where blockchain-technology and player-owner in-game assets can play a role.
Games industry is taking notice
Last year both Ubisoft and hardware manufacturer AMD joined the Blockchain Game Alliance, sharing knowledge with blockchain startups about the implementation of blockchain technology in video games. In addition Ubisoft became an adviser for the upcoming game-oriented Flow blockchain by Dapper Labs.
Ealry 2019 Animoca Brands announced a partnership with games publisher Atari. Two mobile games, Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch and Goon Squad, would be rebuild using blockchain technology. Originally these two mobile games were planned for a release in 2019, but Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung recently explained to me that the games were postponed. “We don’t have a specific launch date yet”, he stated. While suggesting that we should expect these games somewhere in the second half of 2020.
When will Electronic Arts create its popular FIFA Ultimate Team using blockchain technology? When will Blizzard Entertainment include tokenized in-game weapons in an online game like World of Warcraft? It takes time before listed companies like these make a dramatic shift in their business, but you can be sure that they are watching this space.
Also published on Medium.