A hot potato: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) certainly don't attract the sort of interest they enjoyed at the start of the year, with companies such as Ubisoft backing away from the area after initially embracing it with gusto. But a declining marketplace hasn't stopped Square Enix from announcing a "new franchise" that revolves around NFTs, much to the annoyance of people expecting a revival of horror classic Parasite Eve.
Waning NFT interest hasn't stopped Square Enix's plans for Symbiogenesis. It's a browser-based game for PC and mobile—the start of a franchise—that uses the Ethereum blockchain. The company describes it as the "first digital collectible art project designed from the ground up for Web3 fans."
The project's "interactive story" involves NFT art being collected by players, which can be used "as a character in a story that takes place in an alternate world where the player can 'untangle' a mystery by completing missions that revolve around questions of the monopolization and distribution of resources." That sounds quite ironic, considering how many natural resources NFTs can use up.
The icing on the cake, according to Square Enix, is that the NFT art can be used for profile pictures on social media platforms.
Square Enix's president said in January that NFTs and blockchain games would be major themes for the company in 2022. Total NFT sales in the first quarter of the year hit a peak of $12.5 billion, but the third quarter was down to $3.4 billion. It's a similar story on OpenSea, the biggest NFT market, where trading volume fell 13% to $303 million in October, its lowest level since June 2021. The site's trading volume has declined 94% since reaching its all-time high of $4.86 billion in January.
NFT volume is dropping and also the sale count— NFTkek (@NFTkek_) October 31, 2022
This is not good for the overall market
The Symbiogenesis announcement generated a lot of disappointment among fans, not only because it's NFT-based but also because the name suggested some sort of reboot/remaster of Parasite Eve. The RPG horror first appeared on the original PlayStation in 1998 and was last seen in 2010 on the PSP with The 3rd Birthday.
Square Enix is no stranger to NFTs. It will soon sell action figures that come with NFT digital versions of the models, including this one of Final Fantasy VII's Cloud Strife for a bargain $159 ($129.99 if you don't want a digital version to bore people with).
The company says it has more plans for developing blockchain games and entertainment products in the future, but then so did Ubisoft, which ended support for Ghost Recon Breakpoint and its NFTs due to a lack of interest earlier this year. This happened after Ubisoft said gamers "don't get" non-fungible tokens.
Symbiogenesis' collectible art NFTs will launch in the spring of 2023 alongside a free browser service. I, for one, cannot wait.