Square Enix’s Pro-NFT Gaming CEO Steps Down Amid Company Troubles

Yosuke Matsuda is set to be replaced by Takashi Kiryu, who joined the video game publisher in 2020.
Image source: Game Informer

Quick take:

  • Yosuke Matsuda is stepping down as president of Square Enix.
  • The Japanese video game publisher said Takashi Kiryu who joined in 2020 will take his place upon board approval.
  • Matsuda has been one of the leading proponents of web3 and blockchain gaming.

Square Enix has announced the impending resignation of Yosuke Matsuda as president. His position will be taken by Takashi Kiryu, who currently serves as chief strategy officer of the Japanese video game publisher.

Kiryu Joined Square Enix in 2020 and became a director in the company in 2022.

Matsuda who has been with Square Enix for several years will officially step down in June 2023. The decision comes amid big changes in the gaming industry. Matsuda has been one of the biggest advocates for blockchain gaming.

Last year, following the collapse of the crypto exchange platform FTX and the subsequent crypto market downturn, the outgoing president spearheaded the company’s push into NFTs and blockchain initiatives.

In a company statement announcing the decision, Square Enix wrote: “Under the rapid change of business environment surrounding the entertainment industry, the proposed change is intended to reshape the management team with the goal of adopting ever-evolving technological innovations and maximizing the creativity of the company’s group in order to deliver even greater entertainment to its customers around the world.”

Matsuda oversaw one of Square Enix’s biggest product shake-ups selling western studios Eidos Montreal, and Crystal Dynamics Square Enix Montreal to Embracer Group for $300 million.

The decision resulted in the publisher disposing of some of its most iconic titles, including Tomb Raider. Since then Square Enix has taken a different path, focused on blockchain gaming. 

The company has seen some of its most recent profile releases flop or fail to meet sales forecasts. Marvel’s Avengers, Babylon’s Fall and Forspoken all fall under this category. Were it not for its most successful title, Final Fantasy, things would be worse for the giant video game maker.

Square Enix’s first NFT game Symbiogenesis launched last year, with the trailer receiving mixed reactions from the community. Last month, the company revealed that it had chosen Polygon blockchain for the game. 

Polygon is arguably the leading Layer 2 blockchain gaming network, the platform has collaborated with some of the leading brands including Starbucks and Reddit, which gives it a huge addressable market.

Square Enix making could look to tap into this pool of web3 communities in a bid to accelerate the user onboarding process for its first NFT game. In January, the company revealed a grand plan to release more blockchain games in 2023.

The company is also a node operator for the Japanese gaming-focused blockchain Oasys network and has invested in the bitcoin-focused payment protocol Zebedee.


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