Square Enix recently raised a lot of eyebrows when it sold off most of its Western studios and properties to Embracer Group — a move that would, apparently, allow the company to invest in "blockchain, AI, and the cloud". Not necessarily the kind of thing that fans of Square Enix's games want to hear, is it? Not when the publisher had previously expressed interest in things like the 'Metaverse'. After all, chasing trends can often be a slippery slope for publishers who are already making questionable decisions.
Thankfully, it sounds like Naoki Yoshida's a little more down to earth. The Square Enix producer — often referred to by his nickname, Yoshi-P — has shared his thoughts on the Metaverse, and it's safe to say that he's not a huge fan right now.
The concept of the Metaverse has actually been compared to games like Final Fantasy XIV, the MMORPG that Yoshida and his team have transformed into a colossal success over the last decade or so. The Metaverse itself is usually billed as a kind of online world that mirrors our own — but that's where Yoshida doesn't quite get the appeal.
In an interview with Japanese publication Bunshun (as translated by Siliconera), Yoshida says: "To me, I see the Metaverse as ‘a system that replaces reality with a virtual world.’ So I don’t think the Metaverse has anything in common with entertainment."
He continues: "In the Metaverse I’m thinking of, people will be able to use an avatar in virtual reality, and take a stroll in Shinjuku or do shopping, just like in real life. Though it might be fun, there’s no entertainment there. ‘What’s so interesting about the systems of our real world?’ is how I feel."
No doubt a reassuring take for fans of Yoshida's projects, which includes the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. It seems as though escapism is paramount for this particular producer.