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Square Enix promise greater globalisation and "aggressive" use of AI

Square Enix has begun 2024 with its familiar new year letter outlining the good and the bad and its global intentions ahead
Square Enix promise greater globalisation and
  • Square Enix has laid out its intentions for 2024 with a New Year’s letter
  • Square Enix will focus on global collaboration, "aggressive" use of AI and more

As another January begins, Square Enix has laid out its intentions for 2024 with a New Year’s letter from president and representative director Takashi Kiryu. Among the year’s focuses, Kiryu promises greater global collaboration, a refined structuring between departments, and "aggressive" use of AI.

In the short-term, the latter will be used towards development and marketing, while long-term leveraging could bring "new forms of content for consumers", Kiryu suggests.

After all, generative AI surged in popularity through 2023 and found a place in many a game development pipeline, streamlining programming and granting new powers to gamers too. It was the hot topic of 2023 and Square Enix’s passionate pursuit is in some ways reminiscent of its jumping on the blockchain train back in 2022.

Looking forward

Square Enix’s New Year’s letter is Kiryu’s first as president and representative director, having taken over from Yosuke Matsuda in June 2023. Among his plans for the company is a global push to maximise sales for new titles and Square’s "rich back catalogue", which would be a noteworthy new approach should words become action; Matsuda previously expressed the importance of the global market too, but many Square Enix games have continued as Japan exclusives regardless.

Whether Kiryu can change this remains to be seen.

Square Enix’s multimedia promotional plan was also raised in the letter, with intentions to utilise comics, animations, films and real-world amusement facilities to reach a wider audience; these will offer "potential synergies" with Square’s digital products.

"These businesses naturally have potential synergies with our digital entertainment and other businesses, and they also play a role in our multifaceted approach to leveraging our IP," added Kiryu.

He also noted that the company’s prior focal points - blockchain, Web3, and the cloud - will continue to be supported through a modified organisational structure.

Games left behind

Last year marked 20 years since Square and Enix merged into one enterprise, but there was a blight on celebrations for some with many mobile game closures and end-of-service announcements. Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights and Echoes of Mana were among last year’s axed titles, while SinoAlice and Dragon Quest Monsters: Super Light had closing dates confirmed for this January.

Now, Engage Kill and Fullmetal Alchemist Mobile are closing too - both reaching end of service in March 2024. Engage Kill will only just reach its first anniversary before closing down, while Fullmetal Alchemist Mobile will have lasted just over 18 months.

The latter’s closure has been attributed to difficulties in handling so many operational services.

With both closing titles being Japan exclusives, it’s easy to see why Kiryu would be focusing on the importance of global releases this year. Then again, even the global Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis saw a middling start last autumn, so clearly Square Enix is still in need of a hit mobile strategy.