Japanese game developer Square Enix is no longer interested in its cult franchises Deus Ex and Tomb Raider as the company is set to sell its development studios to focus more on new areas.
According to a press release, by selling intellectual property rights for Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain, the Tokyo-based company wants to invest in blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the cloud. Although Square Enix didn't go into details about its new investment strategy, it said that the move is "based on the policy of business structure optimization."
The transaction will also provide an opportunity to better align our overseas publishing function with our organization in Tokyo [...].
The deal is valued at $300 million and is expected to be complete between July and September 2022.
Square Enix is all-in on blockchain
Square has been looking after the blockchain & NFT market for a long time now. In November 2021, Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners, reported that Square Enix was also looking into entering the blockchain and NFT games segment as its proof-of-concept of Shi‐San‐Sei Million Arthur mobile turned out to be a success as the company transitioned to a full commercialization phase.
Ironically, Warren Spector, an American game designer and creator of Deus Ex, is not a big fan of non-fungible tokens. In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Spector called digital collectibles a "ridiculous" thing as these tokens "can be instantly reproduced in unlimited quantities." He particularly said:
I do not understand why anybody would want to climb on that [NFT] bandwagon. Ownership of virtual goods that can be instantly reproduced in unlimited quantities. Who thinks that’s a good idea? So NFTs, I have no interest.
In January this year, To The Moon reported that Square Enix is planning to strengthen its presence in the market of blockchain games as president Yosuke Matsuda wrote in a New Year's letter the company will focus on blockchain games in 2022.
Particularly, Matsuda wrote that "decentralized games" will be a "major strategic theme" for the Tokyo-based company this year. He also added that the metaverse will likely see a "meaningful transition to a business phase in 2022, with a wide range of services appearing on the scene."