Sega is one of the most venerated companies in the gaming space. From the early days of the Sega Master System all the way through to the ill-fated Dreamcast, Sega has consistently kept a cadre of fans who love everything the company does. IPs like Sonic the Hedgehog, Yakuza, and Bayonetta keep Sega in the contemporary minds of gamers, ensuring they’re not just a nostalgia act, but there’s more going on at Castle Sega to ensure the company is seen as a modern outfit, too.
One of the ways in which Sega is modernising itself is to express a strong interest in the potential of NFTs. This nascent technology is, according to Sega, going to be a huge part of the gaming space in the future, along with cloud gaming (which is already taking off thanks to services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now). So, what does it mean that Sega is interested in NFTs? Could we see a Sega NFT before long? Let’s take a look at exactly what’s behind this story.
What does Sega think about NFTs?
A few days ago, Sega held an interview on its careers page in which several execs talked about the company’s future and what investments it was planning to make. As part of this talk, NFTs came up courtesy of Masayoshi Kikuchi, a producer at the company. According to Kikuchi, NFTs, along with cloud gaming, would be a “natural extension” for gaming’s future; since this technology is so new, it’s almost a certainty that gaming will expand to encapsulate it eventually.
Does this mean a Sega NFT is on the way?
As you might be able to tell, Kikuchi’s comments are fairly non-committal. It’s not really possible to read a definite commitment into them; all Kikuchi seems to be saying is that NFTs are on the horizon, and that companies will almost certainly be looking into them in the future. He’s not even declaring that Sega will definitely be creating NFTs, although fellow exec Shuji Utsumi does say that Sega is currently creating games that will “go beyond the traditional framework” of what gaming represents.
In addition, Sega did file a trademark earlier this year for Sega NFT and something called Sega Classics NFT Collection, which could point to its future plans. However, it is worth noting that companies will often do things like this just to head off potential challenges or domain theft at the pass. This doesn’t necessarily mean a Sega NFT is on the horizon, although given that Sega seems cautiously optimistic about the prospect, we will probably see one sooner rather than later.
What could a Sega NFT look like?
If we look at the NFTs produced by other gaming companies, we can get a rough idea of what Sega’s offerings in this area might look like. Square Enix, for example, has created art NFTs based on franchises like Million Arthur, selling unique art assets as NFTs to interested parties. If Sega was to produce an NFT, it’s likely we would see artwork or other digital assets sold in a limited run; maybe the company would sell concept art from Sonic the Hedgehog, for example, or early sketches for franchises like Streets of Rage.
Alternatively, if Sega wanted to get creative with the concept of NFTs, it could opt to sell early demos or alpha versions of its games to the highest bidders in this area. Other options could include unique music files or even text-based NFTs; in essence, any asset that can be converted digitally can be sold as an NFT, so as far as Sega’s concerned, the sky’s the limit. The company could even sell complete games as NFTs if it so chose. We’ll have to wait and see what it’s planning!
How do NFTs work in the gaming space?
Most often, NFTs in the gaming space take the form of collectibles or in-game avatars for live service games. This is because users can show off the NFTs they’ve purchased by displaying them prominently in-game or as part of their profiles. Right now, there are several games that revolve primarily around NFT tech; titles like Axie Infinity, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, and Splinterlands are majorly integrated with NFTs (although Ubisoft recently announced it would end support for Breakpoint, leaving the owners of its NFTs somewhat adrift).
Are there any downsides to gaming NFTs?
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at NFTs is that they don’t offer any concrete benefit to gamers. Some organisations are trying to combat this; G2 Esports, for example, has launched a program by which its fans can buy NFT tokens that will allow them access to exclusive content, thus (potentially) ensuring the NFT always has value for the consumer and that it won’t depreciate.
Despite this, the backlash against NFTs from the gaming community at large has been fairly significant, with many gamers decrying them as a fad and a bubble that won’t last. It’s fair to say that NFTs haven’t been widely adopted by gamers yet; while a small percentage of gamers have expressed enthusiasm for them, the majority of the gaming public appears to be skeptical, which is why Sega declared in January 2022 that if there was no direct value for the consumer, it wouldn’t pursue NFTs. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for Sega in future when it comes to the NFT space.