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Uh-Oh: Square Enix To "Shift To And Focus On" Online, F2P & Mobile

Jonathan Lester
F2P, Financials, Mobile games, Online games, Square Enix

Uh-Oh: Square Enix To "Shift To And Focus On" Online, F2P & Mobile

Square Enix' latest financial report has raised eyebrows right off our faces, in that it details a somewhat controversial new gameplan. Going forward, the publisher intends to massively ramp up their freemium and mobile offerings, and shift their "overseas studios" to developing online games.

Studios like Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics, perhaps?

Discussing their new strategy in terms of "strategic changes in the digital entertainment business," Square laid down three basic ground rules.

Uh-Oh: Square Enix To "Shift To And Focus On" Online, F2P & Mobile

Square cited the recently-revealed Nosgoth as an example of an "online-based," title, and went as far to suggest that their one-off purchases should be shifted into "online-type" titles with a freemium or variable earning business model. It's very on-trend right now, dahling.

Uh-Oh: Square Enix To "Shift To And Focus On" Online, F2P & Mobile

Domestic studios are also going to be tasked with bringing ports and sequels to mobile devices, such as Dragon Quest X to iOS.

It's important to note that we actually love the free to play model, multiplayer games and the mobile market. God knows there have been plenty of success stories over the last few years, and there's nowhere to go but up. But as someone who's always looked to Square Enix for satisfying singleplayer and unforgettible storylines , a part of me can't help but wonder whether this is possibly a knee-jerk reaction to the meagre earnings they've made due to spiralling development costs and runaway budgets. Also, it's probably worth noting that many of Square's mobile games have been utter toss (see also: Final Fantasy: All The Bravest).

We'll see what happens once Thief and the next Deus Ex title hit shelves, the former of which is slated for early next year. If Square has actually budgeted and projected properly this time, hopefully we'll see them supporting both traditional boxed retail alongside mobile and online games - and make some money to boot.


Add a comment7 comments
Breadster  Nov. 7, 2013 at 15:12

All the bravest is one of the worst games I've ever seen, I don't like the sound of this new direction.

Late  Nov. 7, 2013 at 15:43

Squeenix have made/published some fantastic games in recent years, and continue to make losses, so something definitely needs to change.
I'm certain this is the wrong move though.

Their problems look to me to be too high costs, and rapidly reducing their game prices shortly after release to try to recoup money as fast as possible. That's resulted in many folk avoiding the company's new games - and waiting for the inevitable price drop.

Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, Deus Ex HR, and Hitman Absolution were all fantastic games - some of the best games we've seen in recent years. I'd say the average gamer (if such a thing exists) would be happy to have all four in their collection.
All four got good reviews.
All four sold large quantities.
And I think I'm right in saying all four of them dropped from around £35 to around £10-£15 within three months of release, and even lower if you were happy to wait a bit longer. (I'm sure Deus Ex and Sleeping Dogs were both available for around £5-£8 within a year of release.)

People want your games and would be perfectly willing to pay full price for them - but not if they know they'll be able to get it for a fraction of the price if they wait just a couple of months.

I imagine the upcoming Thief and Deus Ex games will both be great, will both review well, and will both sell vast quantities - but not make enough to steer the company away from the heading they now seem to be plotting.
I fully intend buying both games.
I'll be waiting until a couple of months after they come out, though - save myself a fortune...

(When all's said and done I don't know for certain that Square Enix directly caused their games' price drops. I assume they did.)

Last edited by Late, Nov. 7, 2013 at 15:49
Quietus  Nov. 7, 2013 at 16:47

So, it's finally come to this. I must now officially say goodbye to Final Fantasy forever.:(

teddy1590  Nov. 7, 2013 at 16:50

(When all's said and done I don't know for certain that Square Enix directly caused their games' price drops. I assume they did.)

The part at the end of your comment is something I've often pondered: Is it retailers who rapidly discount games at their discretion, or publishers?

It seems Squenix games drop like a rock, whereas Rockstar games tend hold their value for up to a year after launch.

I agree with everything else you've said, their games seem to have sales figures and critical reception that would make any any other publisher beam, but they always report that sales are far below their expectations. It seems these days the only games that sell more than the 5 Million + they project are the big hitters such as COD, Fifa and highly marketed console exclusives. It seems Capcom also have a similar problem, as their games sell well, but just don't make a profit. Perhaps it's a bigger problem with the Japanese development community, but Capcom and Squenix are the only ones we really hear financial report horror stories from.

Unless any forthcoming Squenix games are must plays right away, I'll hold off 3-6 months and get them heavily discounted. Hell, I managed to get a steam code for the new Tomb Raider off GMG for £12.50 3 months BEFORE release...

Last edited by teddy1590, Nov. 7, 2013 at 16:50
r3tract  Nov. 7, 2013 at 17:40

I would have thought it was both the retailer and producer who dictate the price drop.

Retailers will buy in bulk from producers at a set price per unit. I imagine the contracts that the retailers agree to include clauses which state that the retailer will pay £w for each unit, but if they are unable to shift x number of units in the first y weeks then they agree to buy the remainder for £z.

Or something like that.

ChrisIW  Nov. 7, 2013 at 22:15

Phew that's a relief, I was beginning to think there wasn't enough shovelware around...

Breadster  Nov. 11, 2013 at 17:58

I have to say though, I will be keeping an eye on Final Fantasy 15, despite the fact that it looks nothing like a FF game. You never know, it could be a good game still.

I suppose that's the problem with having so many sequels in a series, it's really hard to keep it fresh without changing it completely and annoying all the fans.

Tomb Raider, Hitman, Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex are all great games, and it is strange that they all lowered in price so quickly.

They have some great IP but the actual Square Enix developed games have been going down hill steadily. For many years I've said it seems like Square Enix would rather make films than games. Everything they make seems to be less about gameplay and more about making it look cool. Plus they make all the cgi trailers for the other games mentioned above.

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