Games companies are battling with NFTs, mostly because players… really don’t seem to like them. Occasionally they’re forced on players. Sometimes NFTs are tried, but not especially hard. Square Enix has gone a slightly different — and pointless — route.
The Japanese games company has chosen to kinda, sorta release an NFT, by releasing a physical product. It just happens to be NFT adjacent. A figure of Final Fantasy VII‘s Cloud Strife is set to launch in November 2023. When it does, it will (probably) include an NFT. Specifically, the certificate of authenticity will appear as an NFT. You know, the item that proves your physical purchase is part of a limited run that will never be repeated (unless it’s super popular)?
Square Enix, what happened to you?
That’s not Square Enix’s only venture into the world of NFTs. Owners also get a digital version of their item (as if half the planet doesn’t already own a digital Cloud of one kind or another). The company’s also releasing sets of cards that will include a bonus NFT card, as well as an NFT certificate of authenticity. But what’s the point?
Limited edition physical collectibles already include all of the features that supposedly make NFTs unique. They’re limited in number, and if you can prove that it’s part of the run and not a clone, you might shift it for more than you paid for it. Adding an NFT to the mix does almost nothing. In fact, Square Enix opting to sell NFTs could see buyers losing some of the value of their purchase.
Square Enix has partnered with a blockchain called Enjin for this launch. But, as a note on the product page points out, there’s a fair bunch that can go wrong.
Under a tab called ‘Caution before Purchasing’, Square points out a few terms and conditions. Access to the included NFTs relies on a few things — an Enjin wallet, for starters. Then, the digital certificate of authenticity must be redeemed before a set expiry date or it’ll just… never exist.
Then… well, Square says, “At time of product release, the digital certificate of authenticity is not supported on marketplace and cannot be transferred or sold to [a] third party.” This might change, but then any transaction issues fall on the buyer/seller. Which… fair enough. Finally, if anything ever happens to Enjin, “…you may lose access to the NFT digital certificate of authenticity.”
This goes back to NFTs and the actual utility of adding blockchain support to products and services that don’t need it. Square doesn’t explain how a virtual certificate of authenticity that could disappear without notice and uses large amounts of electricity to maintain is better than a physical item that could be locked in a safe. At least it appears that with these purchases, you’re getting both the physical and digital versions.
Provided you give Square some extra cash for the intangible addons, that is. Just the figure costs about R2,250. If you want an NFT version of it, that’ll be an extra R350 or so, thanks. The cards have yet to go on sale, while Cloud is up for pre-order on Square’s American store.