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Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider to Focus on Blockchain Games

As part of a $300 million deal, Japanese entertainment conglomerate Square Enix is saying farewell to its Tomb Raider franchise. The popular game developer will now switch its attention to next-gen developments like blockchain, NFTs, and cloud gaming. 

Square Enix decision comes on the back of its acquisition by Swedish giant Embracer Group.

Embracer Group to Acquire Square Enix Subsidiaries

In an official statement, Square Enix revealed a newly concluded agreement with Swedish media holding company Embracer Group AB. Dubbed THQ Nordic before a rebrand, Embracer is buying a significant portion of the video game developers’ western arm. Square Enix subsidiaries, Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal studios will now go to Embracer Group.  

In 2013, American studio Crystal Dynamics launched a new Tomb Raider game. The widely successful release spawned two more games, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Altogether the developers sold over 35 million copies to enthusiastic fans of game protagonist Lara Croft.

However, the asset transfer will see Embracer acquire the beloved archaeologist and possibly, her massive fanbase. Tomb Raider is not the only title Square Enix will relinquish due to the agreement. For $300 million, Embracer Group will also acquire IPs such as  Deus Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain. Square Enix will also be reportedly handing over more than 50 of its back catalog games.

What does Square Enix Hope to Achieve with this?

According to their statement, selling off such major IPs will allow Square Enix to shift its focus to blockchain, AI, and cloud investments. The company has expressed interest in the DeFi gaming sector, a possible Square Enix cryptocurrency and games incorporating tokenomics.

Blockchain games have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. By merging video games and blockchain technology, developers have opened the door for numerous possibilities. P2E games allow players to cash and acquire NFTs as in-game assets, which they can sell later. 

Virtual plots in blockchain-based games are also famous for fetching huge sums. Yuga Labs recently generated $320M selling plots in its forthcoming game. Despite the near-global popularity of these games, as of now, they do not seem to appeal as much to more-traditional gamers. 

Ubisoft, the creators of Assassin’s Creed, introduced non-fungible tokens into one of their games in December last year. However, the move didn’t make it past the announcement trailer, given the backlash that followed.

The fallout was so bad that Ubisoft took down the trailer. Matsuda has acknowledged the less than positive outlook traditional gamers have regarding DeFi games. However, he has faith that there are also players interested in contributing to the game.

Exploring User-Generated Content and Token Rewards

In a New Year’s statement directed toward investors and consumers, Matsuda wrote about games featuring user-generated content. He reiterated his vision during an interview with Yahoo Japan, describing how users could create content and earn rewards for this. Rewards, he suggested, could be earned in crypto.

According to the company executive, traditional gaming spaces do not reward users who work to infuse excitement into games. By making content, users can express themselves creatively with no motivation outside of goodwill. However, Matsuda believes providing crypto incentives will encourage growth.

He has faced a lot of criticism since; however, Square Enix appears set to go forward with these crypto-positive plans. According to the company’s statement, Square Enix sees it as a necessity in today’s evolving business environment. With this, Square Enix can speed up growth in its core businesses while staying ahead of traditional competitors.

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