With crypto becoming a hell of a lot less appetizing over the last few months thanks to numerous crimes and scandals, game companies that were once so hungry for ballooning crypto profits have been creeping their chairs away from the dinner table, inch by squeaking inch.
Sega co-Chief Operating Officer Shuji Utsumi told Bloomberg in an interview that the company is no longer interested in making blockchain-based projects for its Sonic The Hedgehog and Yakuza franchises. Putting a stop to its NFT nonsense would help avoid any more “devaluing” of its content and brand, according to the interview.
It’s been a little more than two years since Sega announced it wanted to sell NFTs for its major IPs while also developing NFT content for “IPs currently in development and new IPs to be released in the future.” However, Sega will continue to let third-party companies use Three Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter characters as tokens of the non-fungible variety.
However, the company is wobbling heavily on whether it will continue developing games using blockchain tech. Utsumi said they were “looking into” whether a “super game” initiative that would create a kind of MMO using Web 3 “is really going to take off in this industry, after all.”
However, the Sega exec still leaves room for a blockchain-based future. He said that while blockchain advocates sound “extreme,” that’s just because they’re the real risk-takers, and you should never “underestimate them.” The company announced last year its first blockchain game was supposed to be a new entry in the Sangokushi Taisen series. The game was being developed on the Oasys blockchain, a platform that’s also being supported by the likes of Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Ubisoft.
Utsumi’s comments echo what a large chunk of the player base has been saying since the NFT craze first began. He believes “the action in play-to-earn games is boring.” Other blockchain-based games promised to make players money, but all they did was create a new kind of abusive economy incentivising intensive amounts of play for very little return. Games like beleaguered Axie Infinity continue on despite massive declines in player counts even before the platform was hit with a $US625 million hack of its Ronin Network.
Despite the price of crypto remaining in the dumpster, other publishers like Ubisoft go back and forth on the whole Web 3 thing. Last September, the company’s CEO claimed they were still “in research mode” for NFT-based games. This was despite execs complaining that “players just don’t get it” while sticking tokens in games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Last week, the company shared its first blockchain-based game Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles. There’s no word on how the hell this game incorporates Web 3 technology, but it too is making use of the Oasys blockchain.
As much as Sega’s execs might want to portray their continued interest in Web 3 as a mere risk for the risk taker, many other companies’ limp forays into NFTs have ended in failure. Instagram nixed NFTs after less than a year of limited activity. Popstar Justin Beiber paid nearly $US1.3 million for a Bored Ape NFT, though that’s since lost more than 95% of its value.
NFTs, and by extension the blockchain ecosystem, have largely been used for the purpose of making money off the gullible. It’s unclear at this point what possible benefit a decentralised network could offer to players, but with AI hype reaching ludicrous proportions, game companies are already twirling the ends of their thin mustaches thinking about how this latest tech can make them more money by cutting out labour costs. Sorry NFTs, but you’re simply yesterday’s scheme.
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