Accessed on July 22, 2022
Square Enix, the developer of well-known properties like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, and Kingdom Hearts, has declared that they do not currently have any plans to incorporate NFTs into their massively multiplayer game.
Producer Naoki Yoshida said during a live stream that they have taken note of the western audience’s negative response to the technology but presently have no intentions to start using them based on how Final Fantasy 14 is built.
What are NFTs?
NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are blockchain-based data objects that can be traded or sold, and they reside inside the wallets that dominate the cryptocurrency market.
NFTs have drawn criticism for being the source of several frauds and scams as well as for having a direct negative impact on the environment due to the high energy requirements they have when being minted or added to the blockchain.
Square s position on NFTs
Square Enix is currently in an odd state of limbo between developers like Yoshida, who have now publicly stated that they don’t see NFTs coming to the game, and Yosuke Matsuda, the company president, who wrote in a public letter that he sees them becoming a major trend and even reiterates that their R&D team has aggressively pursued their 2020 plan to focus on AI, the cloud, and blockchain games.
The president of this company explains that the play-to-earn concept will be part of self-sustaining game growth by introducing the concept of tokens from a blockchain into the mix of their upcoming games, but not completely eliminating the centralised gaming singleplayer and more traditional titles. The letter then continues to cover the general hopes of the result of exploring the blockchain via the R&D team.
FOMO and gaming
Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is pervasive and is ingrained in the architecture of MMOs. Games in the gacha genre frequently try to find new methods of payment by either introducing a new banner for players to invest the various currencies they have either earned or typically paid for to try and get certain characters. Games like Destiny 2 frequently remove content or award it via microtransactions.
Even Square’s centralised games and many other businesses have helped to foster an environment where single-player games are encouraged to be developed with this ongoing revenue stream or where multiplayer game players are badgered into purchasing skins and other pay-to-win things. Notorious for receiving such negative feedback for Star Wars: Battlefront 2 in 2017, EA and Disney were forced to temporarily remove all systems relating to in-game currencies before gradually returning them.
The top athletes are typically the ones with the most money behind them, so companies like 2K receive a lot of criticism for making an economy where players can’t even enjoy the game properly. Similarly, EA makes about $1 billion a year from FIFA Ultimate Team, a mode where players buy card packs and construct a team with what they open. Of course, compared to other players who could be opened, superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo are at the top of the heap.
NFTs in gaming so far
Recently, Ubisoft, one of the first significant businesses in the industry, included this technology into Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, a military shooter with a gear system that allows you to customise your character. The NFTs enable the usage of distinctive gear in-game, and the serial numbers stamped on them can be displayed in the game.
Since it was revealed in December that Ubisoft had spent more money producing the NFTs than it had made from them—an estimated $396—its efforts have been widely seen as a failure.
More recently, on February 19, 2022, two more people outside of Ubisoft bought and sold an item for 60 Tezos, or $197. About $876.65 worth of volume is being traded at the moment.
However, Konami achieved success by employing the digital scarcity technique and creating 14 unique NFTs with a Castlevania theme that sold for a total of $164, 000.
Digital scarcity vs rarirty
Nintendo launched the Super Mario 3D Collection in 2020, a set of three games that hasn’t been released again because the three games are believed to have been sold independently, creating a digital shortage in the gaming industry for an actively available product.
Digital scarcity is absurd and should be avoided since it could lead to genuine resentment between customers and businesses. With Nintendo’s aforementioned moves, we have already witnessed it. Although scarcity in the game industry is nothing new, the fact that each NFT is unique and a digital rather than a physical object leads to a complete breakdown of ownership.
As a result of the upcoming closure of the Wii U and 3DS online storefronts, Nintendo has also made headlines this week. Without the rise of piracy, some titles might be lost forever. This occurred a few years back when the DSi and Wii Shops were closed.
Even though microtransactions might predominate, it would probably be a good idea to use the gacha game setting to investigate the distinction between scarcity and rarity.
Gacha games will contain occasions where you must obtain a certain character before it either enters the general pool of characters and your chances are equal or you obtain it when your chances are higher. Every participant will eventually either acquire or gain the character, even though it’s gambling.
Its rarity adds value to the game’s commercial side. Additionally, it doesn’t ruin the experience. The fact that Ubisoft’s in-game items have produced less than $1,000 in total built-up value shows that this doesn’t work even if there were scarcity.
Other attempts at digital gaming, such as the blockchain game Axie Infinity, have amassed a value of over $4 billion, but the game’s core mechanics are intentionally flawed. Being a top earner entails having a top-performing staff, which costs a lot of money, and if you have it, you’ll be able to earn a good deal of money as well.
Due to their financial situation and potential speculation on volatile digital products, those at the bottom of the food chain will never enjoy the same experiences as those at the top.
The difference between investing in a gacha game and investing in a cryptocurrency game like Axie Infinity is that in 2021, rather than having things nerfed, Axie Infinity saw a major crash, wiping out the daily revenues of many who depended on the game for their livelihood.
Axie Infinity expert Naavik conducted research and discovered that players were not investing back into the game after cashing out their winnings. As a result, there was an oversupply of the game’s currency SLP, which caused the token to decline to just one cent (as of February 2022) from its peak of 35 cents.
Fears for MMOs
While Konami’s art NFTs have so far been the only truly successful video games produced by major companies, the idea of making everything into a monetary commodity is a much worse idea than the trend that began with the introduction of downloadable content or microtransactions with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s horse armour, a pointless addition for a few dollars.
This FOMO may become uncontrollably prevalent. It will eventually gobble up all aesthetic worth and design ideas, turning all games into money-making machines for a select few rather than the broader population. If the recent wave of money lost in the crypto and real-world area around it is anything to go by, it might very well kill the present video game and bring up a lot more security difficulties.
If an MMO were to be released outside of the current games that revolve around the blockchain and Web3 circles and depended on the constant need for real money to be spent to acquire items, it raises the question of where it ends before it starts to tamper with things needed for progression or, worse, limits the player base from accessing specific content because they do not own a digital asset.
Additionally, there is the well-founded concern that players will stop viewing the game as a game and instead view it as a job, advancing the late-stage capitalism trend to make everything into a game that is actually a job. Eventually, this cycle will do more harm than good.