Sega (Mostly) Hits The Brakes On NFTs In Games
He may be fast, but Sonic NFTs aren't coming to a blockchain near you anytime soon.
Sega is pulling back on its commitment to blockchain gaming, according to a report by Bloomberg. In the past, the developer showed significant support for blockchain-based gaming, as did other major developers and publishers like Square Enix and Bandai Namco. But now, it seems the owner of the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise is pumping the brakes on its blockchain endeavors--especially when it comes to the publisher's most popular IPs.
According to statements made to Bloomberg by Sega co-COO Shuji Utsumi, the company is also putting any plans to develop new IP for blockchain games on hold for the time being. This is likely a result of the "crypto winter" that began earlier this year and saw many investors lose both their money and their faith in blockchain gaming. Many gamers have also been quite vocal about their preference for non-blockchain, NFT-free games.
Still, Sega isn't entirely pulling out of the crypto scene--NFTs featuring characters from lesser-known Sega franchises like Total War: Three Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter are still in the pipeline. But it seems that, for the most part, Sega isn't banking on a blockchain-based future, and that statement also applies to the publisher's upcoming "super game" series--a lineup of heavily financed online multiplayer games that are set to begin releasing in 2026.
"We’re looking into whether this technology is really going to take off in this industry after all," Utsumi stated to Bloomberg.
It's clear a blanket decision hasn't been made, as the Sega co-COO also detailed plans to continue funding several endeavors in blockchain gaming for the foreseeable future--with investments amounting to hundreds of millions of yen per game. One thing is certain, however: Sega isn't willing to run this experiment using its most valuable and recognizable franchises as test subjects, so fans of Sonic and Yakuza can rest assured that characters from those games will not be popping up on NFT marketplaces any time soon. Sega also seems to recognize a fundamental flaw in blockchain gaming that is often pointed out by players:
"The action in play-to-earn games is boring," Utsumi told Bloomberg. "What’s the point if games are no fun?"
But while some publishers seem to be pulling back on blockchain games, others are still going full steam ahead. Ubisoft, for instance, recently announced a new blockchain-based game called Champion Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles. Making its home on the Oasys blockchain, little else is known about the upcoming PC-only tactical RPG, but marketing suggests players will need an NFT or other blockchain-based token to play.
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