Remember back in May when Square Enix sold off a bunch of its studios and properties to Embracer Group, and the Japanese company declared that it would be using its newfound funds to invest in things like blockchain technology? Well this seems to be the kind of thing that the publisher was talking about. A new Final Fantasy VII action figure has been revealed, and the 'Digital Plus Edition' comes with an NFT version.
Yep, you read that right: if you buy this (admittedly pretty cool looking) figure of protagonist Cloud Strife, and pay an extra $30 for the aforementioned Digital Plus Edition (that's $159.99 in total), you get a "digital certificate of authenticity and digital version of the figure". The official product description continues: "Both digital certificate of authenticity and digital version of the figure are managed by the block chain technology known as NFTs. Digital certificate of authenticity provides proof of authenticity for your original purchase of the figure. Digital version of the figure can be enjoyed on your smart phone or your PC through dedicated website." Uh huh.
Of course, the most ironic part of this is that Final Fantasy VII's story revolves around the damage that humans are doing to the planet. Generally speaking, NFTs require a lot of computational power to maintain — a point which has formed a key argument against their existence. It's fair to say Barret would not approve — and neither would Cloud, by the end of the game.
As you'd expect, Square Enix has already been bombarded with criticism over this on social media and various gaming forums. There was a point a few months back when it sounded like almost every publisher was eyeing up the potential of the hot new trend known as NFTs — Ubisoft was obviously the first to dive in — but now that the controversial technology's popularity has pretty much fallen off a cliff, it feels like most of these companies have quickly and quietly abandoned ship. As such, Square Enix runs the risk of seeming out of touch with the reveal of this figure.
What do you make of this? Swing a buster sword in the comments section below.