Sega is re-evaluating plans to invest significant funds into blockchain technology, following the collapse of global crypto markets. Despite executives at the company calling blockchain-based NFTs ‘the future of gaming‘ in 2022, there now appears to be far less enthusiasm for the technology.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Sega co-Chief Operating Officer Shuji Utsumi said the company is shelving plans to develop its own blockchain-based games, and that it will keep its largest franchises – Sonic the Hedgehog and Yakuza – away from blockchain projects ‘to avoid devaluing its content’.
While Bloomberg reports that Sega still plans to work with third-party companies to develop NFTs for franchises like Three Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter, its resistance to associating these digital goods with more popular franchises is telling. When the company first announced plans to mint NFTs and develop blockchain games, the decision was met with loud criticism from vocal, passionate fanbases.
It’s not clear what this pushback means for already-announced games, like the blockchain-focused Sangokushi Taisen spin-off – but it does appear Sega has begun to cut ties to the blockchain games market.
In describing Sega’s renewed focus, Utsumi told Bloomberg that blockchain games, particularly play-to-earn games were ‘boring’.
‘What’s the point if games are no fun?’ Utsumi reportedly said.
In addition, Utsumi claimed Sega was looking into whether the technology ‘is really going to take off in this industry, after all’. While the company began 2022 with an optimistic attitude, it’s now reassessing its investments, and whether blockchain technology will remain useful in future.
Utsumi’s comments reveal a level of reflection at Sega that is refreshingly honest. While not an outright admission of the failures of blockchain-based projects – Sega remains open to further investment, should the technology’s use deepen – it’s rare to see major companies publicly admit such a change of heart.