- Square Enix, the maker of the popular Final Fantasy video game franchise, is set to focus on blockchain gaming in 2023.
- The company aims to capitalize on the expected growth of blockchain games and a more mature market in the coming year.
- Despite concerns and criticisms from some fans and the broader gaming community, Square Enix plans to continue its efforts in blockchain gaming and launch Final Fantasy-based NFTs in 2023.
Square Enix, the Japanese video game publisher behind popular franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts, recently announced that it would launch its upcoming NFT-based game Symbiogenesis on the Polygon network. Polygon, known as Matic Network, uses a sidechain to offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum’s mainnet.
Symbiogenesis, a story-driven collectibles game, will occur on a floating continent above a polluted future Earth where society is forced to band together and make tough choices when a dragon threatens their haven. Symbiogenesis will feature turn-based gameplay tied to the storyline, which takes different paths as users complete missions and either holds or trade NFTs.
Square Enix’s strategy to capitalize on blockchain technology
According to Polygon Labs, owning a character, NFT, is not required to play the game but adds unspecified “extra value” to the experience. Character NFT holders can also create “replica NFTs” to share story information with other players. The game will be built around 10,000 character NFTs tied to strategic game mechanics, although there will be other NFTs used in the game as well. Square Enix has showcased NFT items, including dragon tarot cards and a monster storybook, but has yet to share concrete details about cost or how they impact the game.
Square Enix opted to tap into Polygon’s high transaction speeds, low gas fees, and overall user-friendliness to deliver this unique experience to Web3 fans. Game producer Naoyuki Tamate said in a press release that Polygon’s performance would help Square Enix provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience.
Square Enix has made several moves in the Web3 space over the last few years, but Symbiogenesis marks its first proper NFT-based game and its first internal project set within the Ethereum ecosystem. Previously, Square Enix invested in the Ethereum metaverse game The Sandbox, announced that it would revive its dormant Dungeon Siege franchise in its game world, and launched NFT collectibles in Japan via the LINE blockchain. The company has also announced Final Fantasy VII NFTs tied to physical action figures via Enjin’s Efinity platform built on Polkadot.
Potential concerns around NFT integration in the gaming
However, the announcement of Symbiogenesis was met with significant backlash from Square Enix’s traditional video game fans, who were angry due to rumors that the game would be a new entry in the long-dormant Parasite Eve franchise. Despite complaints from some traditional gamers regarding NFTs, Square Enix has continued emphasizing the opportunity it sees in the space and investing in growing its Web3 efforts. Last May, Square Enix sold off an array of studios and game franchises for $300 million to help fund new business endeavors, including Web3 experiences.
In addition, Square Enix’s president Yosuke Matsuda recently wrote in a New Year’s letter that the company is banking on blockchain games transitioning to a new growth stage in 2023 that will usher in a more mature market. Matsuda acknowledged that much of the gaming community is still hostile to NFTs and blockchain technology but said that the industry is starting to view blockchain technology as a means to an end to deliver new experiences and excitement to customers. Matsuda noted that Square Enix has multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development and is undertaking preparations that will enable it to unveil even more titles this year.