Is it game over for SEGA’s NFT plans?

By Raffaele Redi

SEGA could cancel its NFT plans after suffering a backlash from its users

SEGA megastore in Tokyo, Japan                                 
SEGA’s management think the definition of metaverse could change – Photo: Shutterstock

To be or not to be… in the metaverse seems to be the dilemma many key digital players are currently facing, in the light of environmental concerns, user backlash, high transaction costs and scams.

The latest company that is seemingly ready to abandon the metaverse ship is Japan’s SEGA. With a JPY23bn ($200m, £148m) loss reported in its last quarter, the multinational videogame and entertainment company said it now aims to be a sustainable enterprise by 2024.

Having been announced in 2021, the company’s mooted NFT venture is now in question. 

The SEGA experience

The Japanese game producer intially announced it would enter the NFT arena by summer 2021. However, a report from a recent management meeting seems to exclude the adoption of crypto, or at least the production of in-house NFTS.

“In terms of NFT, we would like to try out various experiments and we have already started many different studies and considerations, but nothing is decided at this point regarding P2E [Play to Earn]. There have been many announcements about this already, including overseas, but there are users who show negative reactions at this point,” said Sega management.

“We need to carefully assess many things such as how we can mitigate the negative elements, how much we can introduce this within the Japanese regulation, what will be accepted and what will not be by the users. Then, we will consider if this leads to our mission Constantly Creating, Forever Captivating – if it is perceived as simple money-making, I would like to make a decision not to proceed,” the management added.

The metaverse dilemma

SEGA admitted, however, that it is concerned that games that do not incorporate a metaverse element may start to appear outdated, and so adversely affect the company’s fortunes. 

SEGA says it is focusing its efforts on what it calls a ‘Super Game’, which will include only some features of the metaverse, as the metaverse is still far from being properly defined, according to the company.   

“It is the strength of SEGA that we have been developing the sandbox-type scalable game. If we don’t incorporate such new elements in the future, I think the games of today will be outdated in three to five years’ time, so we are very conscious of creating games [for] the world of five years or so from now,” said a SEGA spokesperson.

“However, I believe that the goal is not to create a metaverse, but to create a high-quality game.”

“Although it is not a virtual world, we are challenging on the things to generate a metaverse,” SEGA continued. “Although we don't call it a metaverse, as we think it is quite possible that the definition of the metaverse will be changed from the current concept in five years, we think that a game with [a] similar concept will be our Super Game,” said the SEGA management.

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