Video game publisher Square Enix is bringing NFTs to its iconic Final Fantasy game franchise through Enjin’s Polkadot-based Efinity platform.
The digital collectibles will accompany items in the physical collection and are expected to launch in 2023. Pre-orders will go live later this year.
The physical product will be sold with a code that may be redeemed for a digital version. The NFTs will be hosted on Efinity, a blockchain built on Polkadot and developed by Enjin, an ecosystem centered around NFTs.
Enjin CTO Witek Radomski commented that the partnership “marks a coming of age phase for digital assets and entertainment”. He went on to state that “by using Enjin, fans can experience interactive NFTs without even realizing they’re on the blockchain”.
Radomski told Exodus News that “gamers are also rightfully concerned about the environmental-impact of NFTs”. On that basis, NFTs have come in for a lot of criticism.
In acknowledging that concern, Enjin has highlighted its green credentials as part of the announcement. The project has a plan in place to achieve carbon-neutral NFTs by 2030.
The initial rise in the popularity of NFTs has seen them minted largely on Ethereum - which is currently a proof of work-based blockchain with a significant carbon footprint.
Efinity runs on Polkadot as a parachain - a customized blockchain. As Radomski put it, “Efinity is an extremely sustainable blockchain network because it uses Polkadot's advanced NPoS consensus mechanism… the NFTs are thousands of times more energy efficient than the Ethereum or Bitcoin counterparts, and this new generation of NFTs are green and climate-friendly”, he added.
Square Enix’ blockchain interest
This is not Square Enix’ first indication of interest in NFTs and blockchain.
In a Jan 1 letter, company president Yosuke Matsuda said that “incorporating decentralized games into our portfolio in addition to centralized games will be a major strategic theme in 2022”.
In setting out his outlook for 2022, Matsuda said that advances in blockchain technology alongside improvements in extended reality (XR), cloud and 5G technology has made the notion of developing the metaverse a reality.
Whilst acknowledging that the speculative trading aspect of NFTs was undesirable, Matsuda said that “an increase in societal literacy and acceptance of crypto assets” means that there is scope for a token economy that can enable self-sustaining game growth.
In May, Square Enix took its interest in blockchain a step further by recouping $300 million from the sale of a number of North America-based game studios and investing the money raised in blockchain-based investments.
Gaming community pushback
Square Enix is one of a number of game publishers who have expressed enthusiasm for NFTs and blockchain gaming. However, game companies have faced strong push-back from the community.
In addition to environmental concerns, they fear that with blockchain, gaming will move towards a ‘pay-to-win’ model that will destroy the gaming experience.
Radomski believes that “finding the best NFT model for games is a learning process”. The Enjin CTO says that he doesn’t presume to “know how to design a satisfying and rewarding gaming experience better than game developers themselves”.
There’s no doubt that the first iteration of blockchain-based gaming has focused on tokens rather than gameplay. As these concerns are addressed, gamers are likely to become more receptive to the benefits that gaming NFTs bring.
Radomski reminds us what those benefits are: “By actually owning your in-game assets, collectible figures, or cards, you unlock new gameplay dimensions not available with traditional models, and the player can truly control his own narrative”.
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This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.