Square Enix triples blockchain with new deal even as other publishers flee

While many game companies pretty much got the hint last year that gamers aren’t keen on blockchain, NFTs and all that web3 entails, Square Enix doesn’t seem to have absorbed the message just yet. And it’s demonstrating this today via a partnership with web3 gaming platform Elixir, with the intention of “generating visibility and adoption of web3 games among traditional gamers.”

The official announcement is light on details about exactly what these two companies will be doing together, calling this a “strategic partnership” intended to “drive mass adoption” [of web3 gaming] during 2023.” Elixir itself is a PC game distribution platform that puts web3 games and regular games side by side, with little to distinguish between them.

Notably, Elixir partnered earlier this year with Epic Games to allow users to play any game in their Epic library.next to your favorite web3 games“Basically, the idea seems to be that if it populates enough non-web3 games next to web3 games, players won’t be able to tell the difference and will really, really get into web3 games.

Square Enix is ​​digging in its heels

Given the recent activities, it’s not surprising that Square Enix is ​​digging into this. At the beginning of the year, then-president Yosuke Matsuda said the company’s vision for 2023 included “aggressive investments” in blockchain technology and NFTs. While Matsuda himself stepped down last month, his vision seems to have remained intact, as demonstrated by a recent set of Final Fantasy 7 NFT trading cards. It’s an ironic choice given the themes at play in Final Fantasy 7, but it also didn’t bother Square Enix last year when it made a Cloud Strife action figure that was also an NFT.

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Web3, blockchain and NFTs have remained deeply controversial in gaming, although enthusiastic support from major gaming companies has cooled significantly after several studios and publishers faced intense criticism for suggesting they were using the technology. Valve has banned the technology on Steam, noting its overwhelming use for scams, as has itch.io. And a handful of studios signed an anti-NFT pledge last year set up by Climate Replay in a commitment to avoid the serious, ongoing problems associated with blockchain systems, which require huge amounts of energy to run and can cause serious environmental damage.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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