Sega's infatuation with the blockchain is over: 'What's the point if games are no fun?'

(Image credit: Sega)

Despite being one of the first companies to hop on the blockchain fever of the past couple of years, Sega now wants its major franchises to get off the crypto rollercoaster, as reported by Bloomberg yesterday. Co-Chief Operating Officer of Sega Japan Shuji Utsumi informed Bloomberg that it will keep Sega's blockbuster franchises, such as Yakuza and Sonic the Hedgehog, away from any blockchain plans to avoid "devaluing" them. 

This follows the generally shattered dreams of a blockchain future in the industry at large, as initial experiments with the tech haven't really provided gamers with anything that isn't already there. Even when games have done 'well' they've still managed to stumble, such as Axie Infinity getting hacked to the tune of $600 million last year.

Other titles, such as Square Enix's unpolished-looking NFT thing Symbiogenesis, haven't exactly set the world on fire. NFTs have—mercifully—mostly been bullied out of mainstream gaming, with companies such as Discord quickly turning around on their NFT plans after community backlash. 

Sega do however intend to continue to "let external partners use its lesser-known Three Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter characters for non-fungible tokens", Bloomberg reported. 

Utsumi also took a dim view on the concept of play-to-earn games, which for some reason keep trying to get us to turn our hobby into a day-job: “The action in play-to-earn games is boring. What’s the point if games are no fun?”

He was also lukewarm to the idea of incorporating Web 3.0—a bizarre attempt to decentralise the internet via blockchain mysticism—in upcoming titles: “We’re looking into whether this technology is really going to take off in this industry, after all."

It's relieving to hear a more level-headed approach from a higher-up in a major games company, and hopefully a sign that the non-fungible veil is starting to lift from the industry's eyes, despite Square Enix doubling and tripling down on its plans. The storm hasn't quite passed yet though, as Utsumi is still open to using the tech once it's more developed.

"For the majority of people in the video game industry, what blockchain advocates say may sound a bit extreme, but that’s how the first penguin has always been," referring to the first penguin in a waddle to take an arctic plunge. "We should never underestimate them," said Utsumi, who reckons the technology still "remains useful."

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.