Square Enix Doubles Down on NFTs and blockchain games

Originally published at: Square Enix Doubles Down on NFTs and blockchain games | Boing Boing


This reminds me of people making comics as collectibles instead of stories people would want to read.


Some of the replies to that :man_facepalming:


That one dumbass who thinks uses Merkle trees = blockchain, and somehow git is using blockchain, because it uses Merkle trees.

Dougie Payne Doctor GIF by Travis


I can sort of imagine that nft / blockchain tech might be useful for creating something like a digital trading card game that allows players to trade cards without requiring that the original creators keep running the whole thing. It still seems like you’d senselessly emulate real-world concepts like artificial scarcity, though. I don’t have the mind of a collector, so I fail to see the appeal in it.


Whenever gaming CEOs talk about NFTs, they’re always very vague and never say exactly how sprinkling blockchain everywhere actually makes a game better. They never say because they don’t know. They got sucked into the hype and now they’re too embarrassed to get out. It’s that simple.

Except that such games already exist and it doesn’t require blockchain or NFTs to do it. Again, nobody has yet to characterize how NFTs or blockchain actually make any part of a game better.


Hopefully the board members have enough sense to make him finally backtrack on those statements and maybe announce a new mainline Dragon Quest game to keep the shareholders from revolting.


I think that it is important to have one major player out there take a drubbing on NFT and blockchain stuff.

Given that their relationship with Sony means that I get FF stuff on PC way later than I should otherwise, I don’t mind it being Square-Enix.

As @mr_raccoon notes though, keep that Dragonquest coming


Install game >
Play game >
Run mining in background on video card >
Blockchain >

Or some such buffoonery

A whole new meaning for Minecraft (yes, I know not a SquareEnix property)


Out of curiosity, since your knowledge of the industry vastly exceeds mine; do you think it’s more or less uniformly ignorance/sunk buzzword fallacy; or are some of them smart enough to be cynically encouraging the (deeply confused) “own your stuff” faction that thinks that glorious blockchain will somehow make microtransaction monetization not a miserable experience?

I certainly wouldn’t discount sheer ignorance and hubris as the actual motives; but it seems awfully convenient that at least one strain of blockchain optimism posits that gatcha game suckers will be upgraded from gamblers to investors Real Soon Now™.


In my humble opinion, the momentum started because gaming CEOs are desperate to not miss out on the next gold rush. The next Pokémon, the next World of Warcraft, the next Fortnite, or the next Candy Crush. Nobody ever knows what that will be, of course, but CEOs tend not to want to wait to understand something, in case they miss the boat. The buzz around blockchain was so loud, and it was all “something something money something collectibles”. That’s enough for a gaming CEO to go all in. This must be something, right? So they form a group/team/strike force/whatever to build it. Then inertia and sunk-cost set in and they press on even when everyone else has figured out there’s no there there. It’s even worse if, like in Square’s case, the CEO has been publicly raving about the tech for months or years. That adds “saving face” to the equation, because now they have to prove they weren’t wrong.

It’s also another case of not listening to the engineers. When the CEO tells you “add blockchain to our collectibles and micro-transaction based experiences” the engineer is thinking, “But that doesn’t add anything. The system works fine as is and this adds no new capability”. Said engineer also wants to keep her job, though, so she builds it.

Eventually the company figures out it’s a boondoggle and kills it as quietly as possible.


Heh; I’m convinced that one of our vendors that [RedactedCo] uses did the same thing with the phrase “multicast” for their slot data system, so it’s using multicast packets for such obnoxious things as time synchronization, ignoring the tried and trusted NTP client infrastructure already in place, and providing worse time synch and more network usage at the same time.


I think there’s a lot of things done to hit checkboxes at Square Enix. Ran into a case last night. Game supported running while installing on the XBox. That “running” was just a custom installing screen :roll_eyes:


It’s been amazing watching people - many of whom should know better - describe these absolute fantasy scenarios about how NFTs are going to work with games. Fantasies that aren’t technically possible, and/or don’t make any sense with the economics of games, and/or are totally superfluous “solutions” to things games already do just fine (and more simply), thank you…

The cards would still exist if the original creators stop running the game (assuming the server for the files associated with the NFT is still running and the NFT marketplace for the “cards” is still operational, and…), but the game itself, the thing that gives the cards meaning wouldn’t be. This is the fundamental problem with all these schemes to supposedly give lasting value to game items by making them NFTs - they’re still just as dependent on the continued existence of the original game for their value as any other real money transaction item in any online game.

In theory someone could make an entirely new game that made use of those NFTs, but they’d have no financial incentive to do so - the developer makes their money by selling the NFTs in the first place, not using someone else’s. It makes about as much sense as a store accepting gift cards from an unrelated business.

Looking it up won’t actually tell you anything about what it means in this context, it turns out, so…

I’m seeing a lot of everything. Outright scammers (with no interests in games, NFTs or anything but grabbing money and running). Game developers who think a pyramid scheme is a good basis for making money in online games (but don’t necessarily recognize that it is a pyramid scheme). Crypto/NFT true believers with no game industry experience coming in and “making an NFT-based game” (which consists of selling NFTs and then handwaving how a game is supposed to come out of that, as they have zero clue). Game company CEOs who don’t understand either NFTs… or, it seems, game development (and don’t know how any of this is going to work, but don’t want to miss out). Game industry executives cynically realizing that by slapping “NFT” on a real money transaction for an online game, they can charge a lot more because of the false belief it has some innate value. People with some knowledge of NFTs and games spinning out wild fantasies of play-to-earn games creating assets they could take to other games, but not enough knowledge to know which bits wouldn’t work at all, and which bits would work but would be fucking terrible (and we know they’d be terrible because we’ve already seen it).

I think a few CEOs might be knowledgeable (and cynical) enough that they recognize it only adds value in (some) users’ minds. I.e they can sell a cosmetic hat in their online game for X amount of money, but if they turn it into an NFT they can now sell it for 10X because of the delusional belief held by some players that the item has value outside the game.

Although with the collapse of NFT prices and growing cynicism about the whole thing, that’s probably not even true anymore. I imagine we’re now at the point where some of the bigger NFT projects are coming out just in time for them to realize they spent a lot more money “adding value” to their collectible game items than they’re going to get from having the RMT also be an NFT…


If it’s PTP, multicast PTP for time synchronization offers significantly more resolution than NTP. Your use case may or may not need that capability, but PTP is used pretty frequently for industrial controls, video, and audio synchronization. The two sync schemes generally solve different problems.

ETA: It might be that your vendor is just using buzzwords, though. The one that set my teeth on edge some years ago was IOT - everything had to be IOT, and wasn’t relevant to me or my company, and we just spent some years being underserved by FAEs, etc., who had to push the “latest thing.” I begrudgingly admit that IOT is relevant to someone…but not me

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I’m imagining teams competing, on chalkboards, to be the first to compute an MD5 hash of some given plaintext.

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I strongly doubt it was mutlicast PTP, it looked a lot more like some janky jury rigged thing that was designed more to operate over a multi-access serial line that was hacked to run over multicast. And also, it didn’t work properly, which is why we spent several months going over it with packet captures, tweaking the multicast settings on the switches the stuff was talking on, and all other kinds of stuff before it got fixed. (I don’t even remember how it got fixed, but it was some utterly stupid thing that the vendor kept trying to blame us for, but was actually their broken code.)

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Well I guess I only buy Square Enix games secondhand from now on…

Fair enough! Yeah, timing and sync are hard to get right but easy to get seeming right. Like cryptography and security, there better be a darned good reason to “roll your own,” as it seems your vendor learned.