Why Square Enix’s losing its charm – A Case Study
Before the merger of Square and Enix in 2003, the company was known as Square Soft. And, I am not kidding when I say this, they were my favourite developers as they gave me Final Fantasy X. Square Soft was a team that was on the peak of its prowess, a team that made one legendary game after the other and made most of their IP’s so close to people’s hearts. CGI wizards as they are, they were untouchable until Final Fantasy: Spirits Within happened. A $108 million loss prompted the company to restructure and hence, Square Enix was born with Yoichi Wada at the helm of the company.
Fast forward to 2011, 10 years later, Square Enix is expecting another 12 billion yen ($150 million) loss this year. Most of that is due to Final Fantasy XIV, and a few other cancelled projects, CEO Yoichi Wada mentioned. Now considering this company has so many good IP’s, especially after their acquisition of Eidos, it is criminal that they are suffering like this and I can’t even blame something properly apart from slow development times and a rusted business model. This article will mostly deal with the baffling decisions Square Enix have taken this generation.
The failure of FFXIV has no doubt been discussed many times, so I won’t bore you by saying the same things, but it must hurt, and hurt bad that they are basically letting players play for free. Hey Square! If you had released a polished game none of this would have ever happened. Do you guys even have a QA (quality assurance) team? I bet you do, but they’re definitely not up to their tasks. Look what happened now. There is no chance in hell this game is ever going to take off, so I’d rather you guys pull the plug, and write it off as bad debt. Lets forget about that for a moment and look at how Square Enix is trying to rectify it, along with some Wadaisms.
Our game development has become weaker than expected, Revamping it will take one or two years.
No shit, since 2006.
So they are focusing on making new IP’s, which almost everybody in the gaming industry knows that is very risky, especially at this stage of the generation. Not that it’s a bad thing, but you don’t do that, when you are in such a big shit-hole.
Further, under a rapidly changing operating environment and more prudent estimates of future cash flows, the Company wrote down goodwill (approximately ¥8.8 billion). Project development cancellation and related losses (approximately ¥4.5 billion) as well as losses caused by natural disaster (approximately ¥0.6 billion) were also factors in the recording of total extraordinary losses of ¥16.0 billion. “In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, we are very focused on the Group’s key strategic initiatives of globalization, becoming “network centric”, and strengthening our own-IPs as we work to generate a substantial earnings recovery from the fiscal year ending
March 31, 2013 and beyond.
All talk, no action. All this is nice, but where the hell is Final Fantasy Versus XIII? Really Wada, this game was announced in 2006 along with FFXIII, and it’s not even going to release in 2012. What the hell are you guys doing, holding back such an important game which should have been released by now. A solid 5 million sales or more, should have changed their earning reports considerably. I really don’t understand why is it taking so long for them to make JRPG’s.
Anyone, remember the HD-towns comment, to describe the lack of FF7 remake? Do they even outsource their games? It would help reduce development times radically, case in point – The speed of Turn 10 and Forza compared to another stalwart of the Japanese game industry – Polyphony Digital.
This has definitely affected Square a lot this gen. We should have been seeing plenty more remakes and more games from the established IP’s, but they make games such as Mind Jack and Neir (decent). Why? Why Square, what’s wrong with you. I really don’t want to see you go out this way, even though you have so many resources and great IP’s of Eidos, which they acquired few years ago for $70 million plus. This was a fantastic decision by Wada, howewer, concentrating on IP’s like Kane and Lynch and forgetting Hitman, is just baffling to me. They need to get their priorities right before they even think of other things. What is Wada’s job again?
Another main disappointing thing this gen was too much lust for the Xbox 360′s western userbase. I mean, fine a bunch of exclusives, and Final Fantasy XIII going multiplatform hasn’t really benefited them in anyway. Maybe, the gamers who like their games are on other platforms? They have had a lot of success in the portable area with massive hits on the PSP and DS. But, if they want to change their fortunes around they need to concentrate on the PS3 a lot more.
I know it’s hard to develop on the platform, which is fine, but even a game like Last Remnant didn’t see the light on Sony’s console. That is just, I don’t know, retarded or something. They could have easily got a 1 million + sales for that game on the PS3. They even announced a stupid looking exclusive for Xbox 360 named Gun Loco, which was cancelled eventually but take a look at this trailer to see what I am talking about.
This game, believe it or not was being developed in Japan for the Xbox 360. What are you doing Square Enix? Easy money mentality has to be the worst thing a publisher can have and it hurts the gamers a lot more, quality wise. I am sure they will learn their lessons, but doing such schoolboy mistakes is certainly disappointing from Square Enix. Well this E3, there should be a few announcements from Square Enix, maybe FFversus XIII going multiplatform, they have to since they need all the money they can get. The only thing I want to advise you Square is, please don’t play around with your main franchise, if Final Fantasy loses it’s charm and fanbase, it could possibly be the end of Square Enix.