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NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and blockchain technology took some spectacular losses in 2022 with companies such as FTX going under and the enthusiasm of many corporations regarding these topics being at least temporarily dampened by public resistance.

Square Enix, publisher of games such as Final Fantasy, remains fully committed to spearheading the usage of these technologies in the video game industry despite the backlash, which is especially strong in the gaming community.

In a New Year letter laying out some plans for 2023, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda stated “blockchain entertainment” to be the biggest focus for the company’s medium-term investments. He waved off any concerns about the proven volatility of this area, calling it beneficial in the long term, since it will likely lead to stabilizing regulations.

“Following the excitement and exhilaration that surrounded NFTs and the metaverse in 2021, 2022 was a year of great volatility in the blockchain-related space. However, if this proves to have been a step in a process that leads to the creation of rules and a more transparent business environment, it will definitely have been for the good of the growth of blockchain entertainment.”

In his letter, Matsuda called for a reorientation of the debates around NFTs and blockchain away from the focus on monetization. Instead, the priority should be on exploring the benefits for the consumer.

“The market was driven more by speculative investors than by gamers through 2021. In other words, the content that was at the forefront was created based on the premise that blockchain and NFTs should result in monetization. However, in the wake of the aforementioned turbulence in the cryptocurrency industry, there is now a trend to view blockchain technology as a mere means to an end and to discuss what needs to happen to achieve the end of delivering new experiences and excitement to customers. I see this as a very beneficial development for the future growth of the industry.”

Matsuda hopes for “a new stage of growth in 2023” for blockchain games after many studios canceled their plans in this area in 2022.

Unfortunately, the letter does not mention any of the supposedly existing benefits of the technology for players in video games, failing to heed its own advice in favor of repeating buzzwords – “blockchain” was mentioned over a dozen times. With about half of the entire New Year’s message being dedicated to the topic, one might have expected Matsuda to lead by example if he truly believes in these benefits.