Square Enix’s president reiterates desire to make ‘play to earn’ blockchain games

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has reiterated his desire for the Final Fantasy publisher to create ‘play to earn’ blockchain games.

In a new interview with Yahoo Japan, the exec said he believed that focusing only on traditional games would be “not enough” for the company going forwards, and described his vision for titles in which users would create content and be rewarded for their work ( Matsuda previously said Square Enix could create its own cryptocurrency).

“In the future, we would like to try our hand at providing ‘autonomous game content’,” the president told Yahoo.

“Until now, in most games, we provided the content as a finished product and the players played that content. However, there are a certain number of players in the world who want to contribute to making games more interesting, by creating new settings and ways of playing.”

He added: “In the future, we want to utilize the power of these people to create games that will continue to evolve.

“If, instead of relying on goodwill, we can also provide incentives to those who contribute to development by utilizing technologies such as blockchain, there is a possibility that innovative and interesting content can be created from the ideas of users.”

Matsuda was previously criticized by some in the games industry for a New Year letter in which he expressed the company’s enthusiasm for emerging trends and committed to making blockchain and NFT games.

In the letter, the president said he believed that blockchain games “hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth” by pushing the “play to earn” concept.

The exec went on to suggest that the ability for users to earn from their digital creations in games could revitalize user-generated content, and claimed the lack of incentives had previously limited user creation.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

Square Enix's president reiterates desire to make 'play to earn' blockchain games

The president’s letter was criticized by many industry commentators, including game designer and consultant Brand Sheffield, who wrote: “Among all the grossness of this whole letter, and even this quote, what gets me is the idea that people who play games to have fun are only ‘currently’ the majority, and the implication that changing this is a good idea”.

Game development veteran Shahid Ahmad added: “We already have an entitlement issue amongst many players, and I’d argue that the behavior of large organizations has been a factor in that shift. That will accelerate and become ugly if large orgs then try to turn their players into Mechanical Turks for their utopian metaverses”.

However, at the time Matsuda’s letter triggered an eight percent jump in Square Enix’s share price – its biggest single-day increase since last August.