The Square Enix You Once Knew is Changing

You see, SE knows it’s getting old and antiquated. They know they need to do something in the face of all these new fangled changes that are happening to the tech/media/entertainment industry at large. Square Enix Chief Executive Yoichi Wada tells Forbes all about Square’s new direction, where he admits that “Two things are clear: The distribution channels will change and the revenue model will change.”

So, what does Square Enix propose to do in the wake of these changes? Wada posed an example where, a game like Final Fantasy would be sold through digital distribution in $5 installments. Furthermore Wada reveals that his desire is to see the huge profit margins that companies like NCSoft, who make money selling virtual items in free-to-play games, enjoy. If Farmville can do it, why not Square Enix? Of course, this approach seems completely antithetical to what Final Fantasies are all about (or have become): huge production values and level of detail that you often only see in Hollywood blockbusters. To counter this, Wada says that the level of polish is in the eye of the beholder.

It gets worse. Wada says that “some element of multiplayer or social gaming will be incorporated into each title Square Enix produces, even titles that have traditionally been single-player.” It seems that the folks at Square Enix have been doing more of their “research” which concluded that games do not need storylines, this time concluding that games need to be multiplayer to be succesful. So, could we be seeing a multiplayer Final Fantasy sometime in the future? Who knows. Don’t be surprised when it hits, though. And if Final Fantasy 13 is any indicator, we’ll see that in spite of adhering to current “trends,” Square Enix will completely miss the point of what multiplayer is supposed to be all about. Hell, it doesn’t sound like they even have the judgement to realize that multiplayer should not be incorporated into every game.

“Frankly, the people who excelled at creating game software about 10 years ago are really not good at making multiplayer games,” Wada says. “We are striving to change the old culture, and as a part of such effort we are trying to bring in fresh blood.”

Eh. Some would argue that the Square Enix they once knew died a long, long time ago.


  1. Tom

    I remember back when Square Enix could do no wrong. Then the PS2 came along, and they fell into a long, slow decline, probably because they asked those old developers to make trendy games instead of good games.

    Long live Atlus. May your reign over the JRPG be long and fruitful.

    • Ali

      I second Tom’s opinion of Atlus.

  2. Fernando Cordeiro

    You know what? I’m with you all the way, Square!

    My only fear is that you jump in this new business model way too soon and end up falling on your face. But hell, at least you are finally realizing that all that production “values” is simply more cost to your company and it is certainly not to be appreciated (and even hurt your image) if your game isn’t cohesive enough.

    You are right when you say that games doesn’t need storyline. No medium does. But how you are planning to catch our eyes to those $5 installments without a story as bait is simply beyond me. I’m curious to see it, though. Relying on a single – and tired – brand like FF all the time is simply not making you any good. You need to stop being such a hostage. Such a bitch.

    Now go and blow my mind by making something cheap and meaningful!

  3. Shizm

    Yuppers. Square died, as far as I’m concerned, after FF9 when they merged with Enix. It all went downhill from there. So many people hail FFIX as Jesus but man, it is so god-awful I could never actually beat it. Haven’t played an FF game since.