Sega has announced a collaboration with game developer Double Jump.Tokyo that will see the company begin to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens) based on its intellectual property this summer.
According to a new statement (Japanese), the two companies will launch NFT content relating to Sega's classic and current IPs, as well as upcoming projects. The content will include a variety of digital assets like art and music from its games, and Sega says it will use the new initiative to explore various services which will allow NFT owners to "effectively utilize and further enjoy their NFT content" (thanks, Siliconera).
If you're not up to speed on what NFTs are all about, here's the description currently offered up on Wikipedia:
"A non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files."
Essentially, an NFT is a one-of-a-kind version of a digital asset. So for example, a digital art piece (which you would usually be able to share endlessly) can be "tokenised" as a way of making it unique. The token acts as a kind of certificate that cannot be copied, meaning that you could feasibly sell your NFT asset at a later date, complete with this authenticity.
In Sega's case, this new venture means that the company could sell a digital piece of Sonic art to a buyer, complete with this digital form of authenticity; the buyer will never receive anything physical, but owns something thought to be 'unique' in digital form.
As bonkers and supposedly harmless as it all sounds, the very idea of NFTs has been hit with widespread criticism thanks to the fact that buying and selling them causes great damage to the environment. Sega isn't the first game company to jump on the NFT trend, but some reports claim that Sonic fans are "furious" over the plans.