Despite the Avalanche of hate coming its way, Square Enix has pushed ahead with its NFT plans, announcing Final Fantasy VII NFTs are on the way, bundled with a purchase of a Cloud Strife Bring Arts action figure or some digital collector’s cards.
These new merchandise are part of Square Enix’s celebration of Final Fantasy VII‘s 25th anniversary, which started last month when it live-streamed reveals of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and shared details about the PSP remaster Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
Square Enix has attracted a lot of hate from gamers when it announced its NFT plans last year. But unlike other companies who have decided to backtrack on their plans, Square Enix has doubled down on the idea, even going so far as selling its Tomb Raider IP to fund the project. It is now working with NFT ecosystem Enjin to release Final Fantasy VII NFTs which will be stored on its Efinity blockchain.
NFTs are non-fungible tokens, which are bits of code built on blockchains that are theoretically unique and that crypto speculators want to sell to you as a way to prove ownership of a digital asset. Think of it like a traditional certificate of authenticity — it’s usually just a piece of paper, with incremental identification numbers, that points you to the actual product, but does not actually hold any part of the product. Sure that cert is unique, but someone can print (mint) another 100 certs with increasing numbers and those are ‘unique’ too.
The cert holds no particular value or uses except what collectors are willing to pay for it as bragging rights, which is basically the whole deal with NFTs. Its biggest use today is as a speculative tool that people buy into in the hopes that some greater fool in the future will take it off their hands at a higher price. Most businesses love the idea since it means more money, while most non-speculators tend to hate it.
Instead of actually just selling the NFTs, Square Enix is instead bundling the NFT with its Cloud Strife Bring Arts action figure or digital collector’s cards. A pricier digital plus edition figurine purchase also nets you a digital copy, while there’s a bonus digital card for the cards. Regardless of which bundle you buy, you also get an NFT to go along with it.
The US$130 figurine (US$160 for the digital plus edition) is available for pre-order now, with the actual product shipping only in November 2023, while the collector’s cards will be available later this year. But should Enjin or its Efinity chain disappear, the NFT goes with them, which Square Enix has made clear in its “Caution before Purchasing” T&Cs.
“Warning: In case the Enjin services becomes unavailable in the future, you may lose access to the NFT digital certificate of authenticity.”
The irony of the whole project is how in FF7, you play as characters fighting against Shinra, a mega-corporation that’s destroying the world, and here we have a mega-corporation launching a project that is said to be an energy-guzzling pointless tech that is accelerating climate change that’s destroying our world. The poster boy against mega-corp domination is now the one leading the way in real-world destruction. Oh boy.
But you know what’s sad? Since the NFT here is really just something extra to the actual product, it is likely that collectors may just treat them as a bonus and will buy the figurines and cards anyway. That’s on top of speculators who would certainly be around to flip the products. With this, Square Enix may actually succeed in making NFTs a normalised part of its games.
The planet’s dying, Cloud. And you are the one leading the way.