Sega scaling back on Web3; COO calls play-to-earn games “boring”

Sega scaling back on Web3; COO calls play-to-earn games “boring”

Sega, the giant video game company known for franchises such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Yakuza, plans to move away from Web3 to protect its key assets by withholding them from third-party blockchain gaming projects. According to Sega’s co-Chief Operating Officer (COO), Shuji Utsumi, this move aims to prevent content devaluation.

Did the bear market get to Sega?

This development marks a significant shift for Sega, which has historically championed blockchain technology as a means to enhance the appeal of its titles. It is speculated that the company is rethinking its Web3 strategy due to the current state of the NFT (non-fungible token) market.

Sega had previously collaborated on an NFT collection based on Virtua Fighter and announced it would be creating a Web3 version of “Battle of Three Kingdoms”. While those plans were announced over a year ago, with no announcements in between, it’s likely the company hasn’t yet given up yet.

Play-to-earn really is boring

Sega’s initial announcement in 2021 of its intention to join the booming NFT community met significant backlash from the gaming community, who saw crypto technology as environmentally detrimental.

Utsumi shared his skepticism of blockchain’s current application in gaming, remarking to Bloomberg News: “The action in play-to-earn games is boring. What’s the point if games are no fun?”

In terms of implementing Web 3.0 technology in Sega’s forthcoming lineup of big-budget online multiplayer games, referred to as its “super game” initiative, Utsumi remains non-committal: “We’re looking into whether this technology is really going to take off in this industry, after all”.

Taking a more moderate approach

While taking a more cautious approach, Sega still plans to offer its lesser-known franchises to various blockchain games set to be announced later this year. Sega also intends to continue investing hundreds of millions of yen in related projects. Utsumi pointed out that the technology still offers unique advantages, such as facilitating the transfer of characters and items between different games.

In the long term, Sega remains open to greater involvement as blockchain technology matures. Utsumi, comparing the pioneering blockchain advocates to the first penguin taking the plunge, stated:

“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. We should never underestimate them.”

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