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Goodbye Tomb Raider, hello Final Fantasy NFTs?

An illustration of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Square Enix has sold its legacy games, including Tomb Raider, Thief and Deus Ex to Embracer Group for $300. This feels like a small fee for such major and iconic franchises, so why has the Japanese publisher done this? 

A clue is in what those games are, what they're not, and a press release that states the, "transaction enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud."

Square Enix clearly wants to be a leader in blockchain gaming

Square Enix was left behind when the industry embraced live service game design, and wants to lead the next trend: NFT gaming. While Tomb Raider and Deus Ex are big brands, they're single-player focused games. Square Enix clearly wants to be a leader in blockchain gaming, and combine this with multiplayer and live service games. Could Final Fantasy become a leading name in NFT gaming? Maybe.

If you want to know more about NFTs and games, then read our guide 'what do NFT games mean for gamers?' and take a look at our feature on what are NFTs. We also have a great list of the best NFT games to show what indies are doing in this space.

A knight stands in front of the moon from Final Fantasy 14

Will the next Final Fantasy go 'to the moon' with crypto? (Image credit: Square Enix)

As well as the major legacy franchises mentioned, the sale to Embracer Group also includes cult games such as Legacy of Kain, as well as game studios Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal. These three studios are made up of over 1,000 developers, artists, designers, and programmers. This comes off the back of Crystal Dynamics announcing its developing a new Tomb Raider game using Unreal Engine 5.

This isn't the first move by Square Enix to enter the NFT space. It led a $2 million funding round of successful Minecraft-like NFT game The Sandbox, and you can buy and build with characters and assets from its Dungeon Siege role-playing series inside The Sandbox. Square Enix really is keen on NFT gaming.

The small hitch in Square Enix's plans is currently mainstream gamers aren't keen on NFTs. Seen as a new form of loot boxes and microtransactions, gamers have turned against blockchain technology. As the Japanese company doubles-down on blockchain technology (along with streaming and cloud gaming) it's going to be an interesting time ahead.

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Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creative Bloq. Ian is the former editor of many leading magazines, including digital art focused ImagineFX and 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. Ian launched the magazine X360 in 2005 and has relaunched many others. In his early career Ian wrote for music and film magazines, including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. With over 25 years' experience in both print and online journalism, Ian has worked on many leading video game and digital art brands. With a passion for video games and art, Ian combines his loves to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq. In his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.