Tomb Raider sold to fund Square Enix’s push into blockchain
Japanese game publisher, Square Enix, is one of the largest companies in the industry, with some of the most valuable intellectual property. Square Enix’s properties include Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and it has recently published games based in Marvel’s superhero fantasies. This week, the company sold one of its most valuable properties to fuel a push into blockchain gaming.
Square Enix sold the bulk of its western development companies and IP to fellow game publisher, Embracer Group, for US$300 million. This sale includes the Crystal Dynamics development studio in Canada, as well as the rights to the massive Tomb Raider property. Other major IP assets involved in the trade include the popular Thief and Deus Ex franchises.
Why the sale? Square Enix wants to move into blockchain gaming in a big way.
In a statement, Square Enix president, Yosuke Matsuda, said the money would boost cash flow, as well as free the company to make strategic investments into “fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.” Earlier this year, in a New Year’s notice to investors and the public, Matsuda made it clear that he has big visions for the future with crypto: “I believe that there will be a certain number of people whose motivation is to ‘play to contribute,’ by which I mean to help make the game more exciting. Traditional gaming has offered no explicit incentive to this latter group of people, who were motivated strictly by such inconsistent personal feelings as goodwill and volunteer spirit.”
Blockchain gaming remains controversial but has a bright future
Square Enix isn’t the only gaming publisher betting big on crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. Ubisoft, based in France, has made it clear that it will be a pioneer in the space, having already launched NFT products and its own blockchain-based platform, Quartz.
To date Ubisoft – and other companies that have given NFTs and blockchain-based ideas a run – have experienced some fierce pushback for their efforts. That hasn’t stopped the sector taking off in a big way in other gaming spaces, however. Axie Infinity, for example, has become the new darling of video games, thanks to a monetisation model that is rewarding players with some big payouts.