Editorials

Why Square Enix is Entering NFTs & Why You Shouldn't Be Surprised

The Square Enix NFT situation explained.

January 1, 2022

It’s all over the internet now, Square Enix’ president published a new year’s message highly praising NFTs, the Metaverse, and Blockchain games as the future of gaming and his company, but did anyone explain to you why this is happening?

Is Square Enix turning into an NFT company?

The 2022 new year message from Square Enix Holdings president Yosuke Matsuda made the most ripples, but Square Enix is already into NFTs since March 17, 2021. Square Enix released a Japanese press release on that day announcing stickers NFTs of the Million Arthur franchise.

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What’s Million Arthur?

Million Arthur is a card battle mobile RPG series by Square Enix that ended on September 30, 2020. That’s the important thing, the series was dead. Until Square Enix announced its stickers NFTs.

The 12 fans of Million Arthur outside Japan noted back then how ironic it is to make NFTs of the series while its concept is based on how Arthur and Excalibur aren’t unique. In Japan though, those NFT stickers sold out.

According to Square Enix in November, the first batches of Million Arthur stickers NFTs were a satisfying Proof of Concept. The company announced a new batch of stickers NFTs on November 25.

Square Enix producers praise NFTs, Blockchain games and Metaverse

Moreover, it’s important to note that several Square Enix producers praised NFTs or the Metaverse in Famitsu’s traditional end-of-the-year interview. I translated below their answers when asked for their 2022 expectations:

Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase on NFT and Metaverse

“I’m looking forward to how new technologies like NFT and the Metaverse will change the game industry.”

NieR producer Yosuke Saito on NFT

“I’m really curious about games and projects related to NFTs. New types of games always emerge from new technologies. So I kinda feel like making something NFT-related myself. But I still have many unannounced projects, so if it happens, it’ll be once I’m done with these.”

Dragon Quest producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto on NFT

“NFT digital assets. There are still many unsolved problems like legislation, and I think those problems will continue in 2022. But I think interesting games can be born from it. I feel like big changes are coming in 3 to 4 years.”

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin producer Masashi Fujiwara on Metaverse

“I’m looking forward to how the Metaverse will develop. And the next James Bond.”

Why Square Enix and other Japanese game companies are into NFT

Square Enix isn’t the sole Japanese company that made NFT-related plans. Simply looking at the above-mentioned interviews, several other producers from other companies brought up either Metavese, NFT, or Blockchain games. Sega’s Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Bandai Namco’s Jun Tamaoki. PlatinumGames’ Kenji Saito. Even much more niche franchises like Muv-Luv announced NFTs in May 2021.

Personally speaking, I believe Japanese game companies have an inferiority complex toward Western studios. This complex was aggravated during the PS360 era. Where every Japanese studio wanted to start doing open-world games as well. Because Western studios said it was the future of gaming. The same thing is basically happening with NFT now.

Japanese game companies have always been quick to praise and jump on the bandwagon of anything Western-related. One of the biggest examples of these past few years in the gaming industry is Detroit: Become Human.

I believe Detroit is a very bad game. Japanese games like Eve Burst Error did the same thing it does – and better – 23 years before. And yet, I’ve lost count of how many seiyuu, Japanese streamers, VTubers, or developers I’ve heard praising Detroit as a revolutionary masterpiece. The last example I can think of being Suda Goichi praising Quantic Dream in a Reddit AMA thread, saying the work of the French studio is an evolution of what he did with Twilight Syndrome and Moonlight Syndrome.

Long story short, I believe Square Enix and other Japanese game studios don’t want to miss what they believe to be the new, next big thing from the West. And this is the main reason why they’re so keen on NFTs. And I’m not surprised to see this unfold at all.

What do you guys think? Tell us in the comments or reach out to me directly on Twitter @A_iyane07.

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Iyane Agossah
@A_iyane07

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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