Tokyo-based financial services group SBI Holdings has revealed a ¥100 billion ($659 million) fund to support the development of Web3 products in Japan.
Japan’s dedication to gaming is well-known already, and interest in Web3 and blockchain has been growing amongst games companies for some time now. Now SBI Holdings is setting out to facilitate up to 200 startups in Japan's Web3 field, backed with half the funding ($330 million) from Daiwa Securities Group, Mizuho Bank, Nippon Life Insurance, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
The big examples
Japanese game devs have been getting into blockchain for a few years now, and the SBI Holdings fund will surely add to that number. Sega and Square Enix are among the big names already diving into the world of Web3 and their projects thus far paint a useful picture as to the direction Japanese Web3 may be heading.
In Sega’s case, the revival of Sangokushi Taisen through Battle of Three Kingdoms is in the works with a blockchain spin to its TCG format. It’s being developed by Double Jump.tokyo, with CEO Hironobu Ueno also currently working on another NFT game, Shi-san-sei Million Arthur.
Our sister site BlockchainGamer.biz spoke with Ueno and Sega’s co-COO Shuji Utsumi about the game and learned that the companies would like to "offer content that serves as an entry point" to blockchain gaming. They discussed the past and future of blockchain through the lens of Japanese creators.
It is worth noting, however, that Sega has been looking to cool off on further blockchain projects since its acquisition of Rovio, instead setting its sights on a collaborative mobile game next. Perhaps this will open opportunities for smaller studios to find success in the field...
Square Enix, meanwhile, appears to be moving towards Web3 and blockchain more than ever. The Japanese giant appointed Takashi Kiryu as president this year following his background in Web3, suggesting a remaining commitment to the emerging tech, and Square has also since released its Web3 project Symbiogenesis.
Square announced other Web3 ambitions with Animoca Brands last year with plans to create an NFT ecosystem spanning multiple games. Animoca Brands has since partnered with Japanese Web3 company Matsui too, in another step away from the American market due to its "blockchain-hostile" nature. Instead, perhaps Japan will prove the place to be for blockchain - a more welcoming hub to developers than the United States, with even more funding on its way through SBI Holdings.