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Squeenix’s shares off the (block)chain despite NFT criticism

NFTs, nobody seems to want them and everybody finds them highly questionable. Owning a personalized thing made up out of ones and zeros and making those saleable, who thought that would be a good idea? Square Enix, apparently. And with them the stock market. How so? Because the share price of Square Enix has gone up quite a bit since its president explained his NFT adventure.

There seems to be no escape from NFTs. Many publishers appear to be enthralled by the idea of putting personalized in-game trinkets into their games, thus riding the blockchain train. First Ubisoft – with its heavily disliked Quartz program – and now Square Enix. And even though criticism comes from all sides – even internally – the higher-ups don’t seem to give a shit.

And why would they? I mean, this entire blockchain thing turns out to be a huge share price booster. For Square Enix, that is. According to Bloomberg, Squeenix’s share price has made a significant 8% jump in a single day. The last time that happened was in August 2021.

To president Yosuke Matsuda, this is all music to the ears. Since he feels like the NFT way is the path to the future of gaming, he couldn’t be happier with this development. Others are not quite as enthusiastic about Matsuda’s view on the matter, especially about the reasoning behind it. Take a look at one of these particular quotes out of Matsuda’s letter and tell me what you think.

“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.”

Are you seeing what other critical commentators are seeing? If not, let me give you a hint: people who ‘play to have fun’ and who currently form the majority of players. Exactly. Matsuda seems to believe that change is coming and that ‘playing to have fun’ might become a secondary reason to play. And that’s pretty worrisome, wouldn’t you say? Game designer and consultant Brand Sheffield sure thinks so.

And he’s not the only one speaking up. Game development veteran Shahid Ahmad also believes that Matsuda’s message isn’t something to be cheerful about.

And so, the criticism on blockchain games perseveres, even though big corpo doesn’t seem to give a flying fuck about it. I mean, even after a disastrous announcement of its Quartz program – hated by nearly everybody – Ubisoft kept pushing its plans. I guess there’s only one way to really make a difference, and that’s with your wallet. The question is: will you?