NFTs have been a hot topic during 2021, and the New Year’s letter from Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda is only going to add to that noise.
Matsuda’s letter – which you can read here – touches upon a wide range of topics, including cloud gaming, AI and “the metaverse”, but he devotes a particularly large portion to NFTs and cryptocurrency, and how they can impact gaming.
He notes that people who play games for “fun” are currently opposed to the introduction of NFTs – but he believes they will become a big part of gaming’s future:
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. 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. This fact is not unrelated to the limitations of existing UGC (user-generated content). UGC has been brought into being solely because of individuals’ desire for self-expression and not because any explicit incentive existed to reward them for their creative efforts. I see this as one reason that there haven’t been as many major game-changing content that were user generated as one would expect.
However, with advances in token economies, users will be provided with explicit incentives, thereby resulting not only in greater consistency in their motivation, but also creating a tangible upside to their creative efforts. I believe that this will lead to more people devoting themselves to such efforts and to greater possibilities of games growing in exciting ways. From having fun to earning to contributing, a wide variety of motivations will inspire people to engage with games and connect with one another. It is blockchain-based tokens that will enable this. By designing viable token economies into our games, we will enable self-sustaining game growth. It is precisely this sort of ecosystem that lies at the heart of what I refer to as “decentralized gaming,” and I hope that this becomes a major trend in gaming going forward.
Square Enix has previously dabbled in the sale of special NFTs, and is joined by the likes of Sega, Ubisoft and EA in looking at the concept of blockchain gaming and cryptocurrency in a positive light.