Final Fantasy NFTs are coming to Polkadot in Square Enix, Enjin Alliance

Final Fantasy NFTs are coming to Polkadot in Square Enix, Enjin Alliance

In short

  • Square Enix takes a “very measured” approach with NFTs, and joins Enjin to release Final Fantasy NFTs.
  • The Polkadot-based NFTs will be paired with physical trading cards and toys, which will be released in 2023.

One of the most successful video game series of all time is set to receive NFT processing in 2023, when the Japanese publisher Square Enix has entered into a partnership with the blockchain game company Enjin to release NFTs based on the Final Fantasy series.

However, the NFTs will not be purely digital products. They are linked to physical action figures and trading cards based on the RPG Final Fantasy VII to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original PlayStation game.

Square Enix will first release packs of physical collectible cards in the spring of 2023 that will sell for $ 4 per pack of six cards. Each comes with a code to redeem for a single NFT trading card characterized by Enjin on the Efinity platform, which is built on Polkadot blockchain.

In November 2023, the publisher will release an action figure in a limited edition of the game’s star, Cloud Strife. Both the standard character and the “Digital Plus Edition” come with a code to redeem an NFT certificate of authenticity, but only the latter comes with an additional NFT: a digital copy of the physical toy. The standard number will sell for $ 130, with the Digital Plus Edition for $ 160.

The Efinity blockchain runs on Polkadot as a pair chain, or a kind of dedicated subnet, which is part of the Polkadot ecosystem. Polkadot uses a proof-of-stake consensus model that does not require energy-intensive mining, in contrast to the leading NFT platform, Ethereum.

Engine CTO Witek Radomski told Decrypt that the company first worked with Square Enix several years ago, and hosted online guild sites that play Final Fantasy XIV.

However, this new partnership comes amid growing interest in blockchain technology and NFTs for Square Enix. Final Fantasy – which has sold 168 million games worldwide since 1987, per company – is the crown jewel.

“They looked at all kinds of blockchains and tested them,” Radomski said. He added that Square Enix was looking for a platform that could “meet the needs of players”, including considerations such as low transaction costs and energy efficiency.

An NFT is a blockchain token that serves as proof of ownership of an item, including both digital and physical items. NFTs are often used for things like digital art, profile pictures, collectibles and interactive video game objects, and the NFT market increased to $ 25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021 alone.

Square Enix has increased its blockchain and NFT efforts over the past few years. It invested in the Ethereum-based metaverse game The Sandbox in 2020, and earlier this year announced plans to bring the Dungeon Siege series to the NFT-powered gaming world.

The company also released NFT collectibles in Japan last year based on the Million Arthur game series, using LINE blockchain platform. Earlier this year, Square Enix became president wrote positively about the potential benefits of NFTs and tokenized economies, and notes interest in “game-to-contribute” experiences where players benefit financially from the game’s growing success.

Recently, Square Enix sold a number of major franchises (including Tomb Raider) and three of their gaming studios for $ 300 million, in part to fund their growing efforts in the crypto industry. Just yesterday, Square Enix was announced as an investor in Bitcoin game startup Zebedeewhich raised a $ 35 million Series B round.

Radomski said that Square Enix has been “very measured” in its approach to the NFT initiative with Enjin, and is trying to streamline the process for players who may be meeting NFTs for the first time. “It allows us to customize our products even more,” he said Decrypt. “It’s been amazing.”

Engine evolution

Enjin, which has also entered into cooperation with Microsoft and Samsung, is without a doubt best known for its work in the Ethereum ecosystem. Enjin Coin (ENJ) is an ERC-20 token, and Radomski authored Ethereum’s ERC-1155 multi-token NFT standard. But the company gradually saw that Ethereum’s low transaction throughput and high fees would limit game developers.

“Back in 2018, I realized that Ethereum was going to have some limits at some point, even though the fees at the time were like a penny,” he said. “We can not run millions of transactions. We can not run thousands of games on Ethereum because it will be too much. “

Radomski said Enjin explored the potential for scaling solutions that could be ideal for games and collectibles, but ultimately decided they did not want to build anything from scratch. Instead, the team chose to build Efinity on Polkadot, which he said was alluring as a “framework for blockchains” that allows developers to customize to their liking.

“Everything we launch now [on Efinity] is like a gen-two of everything we have built, ”he explained.

Along with the switch to Polkadot, Radomski said that Enjin is changing the way it operates. Instead of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) style model where Enjin hosts content in collaboration with game developers, the company allows creators to use the open Efinity platform to distribute their own infrastructure and build NFT-powered games.

“It’s been the dream for the last five years,” he said, “and now it’s finally coming out.”

Efinity lives on a Polkadot pair chain, but Enjin plans to expand cross-chain functionality and build bridges to other blockchains. Bridging to Ethereum is on the horizon, Radomski said – so these Final Fantasy NFTs can be transferred to Ethereum when they are launched. Other blockchains that support Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) can also be added.

NFT game growth

Radomski believes it is only beneficial for NFT games to see major publishers such as Square Enix and Ubisoft plays in the room. These Final Fantasy NFTs are not designed to be used in any game, but Square Enix has previously signaled interest in creating NFT-powered games with tokenized economies.

Such publishers build on the backs of indie creators who have experimented with blockchain technology in recent years for NFT-powered games, sometimes with tremendous success – as in the case of the Ethereum-powered play-to-earn game, Axie Infinity.

However, NFTs have too attracted to vocal players, partly due to the environmental impact of some platforms, as well as fraud and widespread speculation. For some players, the problem is also that some NFT-powered games are focused on earning tokens, instead of having fun. There is a perception that experienced game developers can potentially contribute to change.

“Players need to be shown that developers want to use these things responsibly in interesting ways to improve gaming,” Radomski said, “not just as a revenue-generating mechanism.”

Enjin has been in talks with “various AAAs,” or major, publishers lately, he added. Such studios not only have experience in building polished games for the masses, but they are also well capitalized. They do not have to sell NFTs simply to fund game development. This could potentially lead to stronger games using blockchain technology for new types of experiences.

“It’s going to take a year or two before more of these games come out that use NFTs in interesting ways,” he said. “But it happens – people think about it. I think AAA [publishers] is going to show some innovation. They have the budget to actually explore these interesting new concepts for NFTs. “

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