Square Enix are threatening to overshadow the 25th anniversary ofFinal Fantasy 7by partnering with Enjin, a cryptocurrency platform, to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on the long-running JRPG series. To coincide with the anniversary, Squeenix will be releasing a digital collection of cards on Enjin’s Efinity network for owners of physical cards that are expected to go on sale in 2023. There's an NFT linked to a Cloud Strife action figure too. Feel free to watch the trailer forFinal Fantasy 7 Rebirthbelow to take your mind off this woeful event.
If you were so inclined, you could plonk down $160 (£134) for theCloud Strife action figure, which comes with an NFT to gawp at on your smartphone or computer. That's the 'Digital Plus Edition' of the statue, but it's $30 (£25) cheaper if you just buy the standard figure with no NFT attached. Not a good look, Square Enix.
It gets worse, as Square Enix have even drawn attention to the possibility of not being able to use the NFTs if Enjin's service was to ever end. Under a section titled 'Caution before Purchasing' on the listing for the Cloud statue, Squeenix say "Warning: In case the Enjin services becomes unavailable in the future, you may lose access to the NFT digital certificate of authenticity and digital version of the figure".
"This partnership marks a coming-of-age phase for digital assets and entertainment; Square Enix, an esteemed developer with iconic intellectual property, is paving the way for the industry," Enjin executive Witek Radomski said. Enjin say they offer “environmentally-friendly solutions for building decentralised gaming products", and have committed themselves to making their NFTscarbon-neutralby 2030. Maybe just don’t use the technology in the first place?
One tweet summed the whole NFTs situation up quite nicely:
Squeenix’s presidentgreetedthe start of the year by setting a course towards a future of blockchain for the company. Yosuke Matsuda didn’t seem to know how that would work at the time, however, saying the company would “keep a close eye on societal shifts in this space while listening to the many groups of users that populate it, and ramp up our efforts to develop a business accordingly, with an eye to potentially issuing our own tokens in the future".
It’s not just Squeenix jumping on the blockchain bandwagon in shambolic fashion though.Konami,EAandTake Twohave all expressed their interest at entering crypto. Companies usually cite it as the future of gaming, in some appropriately intangible way.
Square Enix and others may have committed to NFTs and the blockchain, but some games companies are more wary of the controversial technologies. Only yesterday, Minecraft devs Mojang Studiosissued a statementsaying they wouldn’t allow either NFTs or blockchain to “create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our Guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft”. Mojang did clarify that they’d keep an eye on how blockchain evolves to see if it could offer security or practical ways to improve the game in the future, though.
The next instalment of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake saga,Rebirth, was announced on a 25th anniversary stream last month. It’s due to release in winter 2023 on PlayStation, but could be some way off on PC given thefirst parttook a year and a half to arrive.