Matsuda is the president of Square Enix, a Japanese developer behind hit franchises such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Suffice it to say the company is one of the most prominent ones in the gaming sphere.
In a New Year’s letter, Matsuda shared his thoughts on all of this. He stated that “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.”
He brought a lot of attention to the fact that the metaverse momentum was attributed to “sophisticated blockchain technology,” just before he reiterated the company’s strategy to tackle this new environment head-on.
“To address these changes in our business environment, the medium-term business strategy that we unveiled in May 2020 identified AI, the cloud, and blockchain games as new domains on which we should focus our investments,” he said, adding to the fact that Square Enix has been rather “aggressive” in R&D regarding these areas.
This is most definitely not the first time the company has been focused on creating that link between blockchain technology and gaming. Last November, they showed the first signals of their intention to explore the NFT space. They did this by offering collectibles and blockchain games to their consumer base. In March of 2020, they went ahead with their investment in an Ethereum-based Sandbox.
Matsuda believes in the fundamental contrast between traditional and blockchain gaming. On the matter, he stated that “Games have traditionally involved an unidirectional flow whereby creators such as ourselves provide a game to the consumers that play them,” and that “By contrast, blockchain games, which have emerged from their infancy and are at this very moment entering a growth phase, are built upon the premise of a token economy and therefore hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth.”
Matsuda also called attention to the tension between gamers or people who “play to have fun,” according to him, and the people who “play to contribute.”
The latter demographic, he said, was alluding to people who would “help make the game more exciting.”
Furthermore, he said, “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.”
If Matsuda has anything to say about any of this, that stands to change as this year goes on. “By designing viable token economies into our games, we will enable self-sustaining game growth,” he said.
One thing’s for sure. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding gaming and blockchain technology, NFT advocates, and the gaming industry as a whole.
Ubisoft’s attempt at NFTs was met with considerable backlash, which they promptly took in their stride before carrying on with their plan. GSC, on the other hand, immediately abandoned their ideas and plans the moment they were hit with fan backlash on the matter.