Speaking in Square Enix’s annual report for 2022, company president and representative director Yosuke Matsuda noted the difficulty in companies growing when focusing predominantly on the gaming industry in Japan.
Hence, Square Enix is looking to create games that are more designed for worldwide popularity.
HD games, blockchain and IPs
In the company’s Q3 report, Square Enix's digital entertainment segment in PC and console gaming both declined. Whilst the newest report doesn’t outline mobile successes specifically, Square Enix has undertaken a number of enterprises based around the mobile gaming market and recently began dipping its toes into blockchain, planning NFT ecosystems across many of its gaming assets.
Based on Square Enix’s Bravely Default IP, the mobile game Bravely Default Brilliant Lights launched earlier this year solely in Japan and reached four million players in 11 days.
"I believe that blockchain gaming holds the potential to create new forms of gaming content, and that it represents a new business domain worth our Group addressing alongside traditional games," Matsuda stated in the latest report.
Net sales and operating income in the digital entertainment segment increased by 6 percent from the previous fiscal year, making ¥279,679 million (approximately $1.9 million). Square Enix confirmed that it will not be releasing any HD titles from its flagship franchises until at least 2024, but that mid-sized titles can be expected by March of 2023.
Last month it was announced that Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier’s servers will be shutting down on 11 January 2023.
"Achieving major growth in the game industry is difficult now for companies that compete primarily in the Japanese market, given its greying demographics," said Matsuda. "As such, it is critical for our business that we produce hit titles that speak to the global market, which offers greater scale in terms of both customers and sales volumes.
"Furthermore, game development efforts are becoming more sizable and sophisticated as the result of technological advancements in the devices on which they are played, such as consoles or smart devices. The investment required to develop game titles is therefore an order of magnitude greater than in the past."
Square Enix's full financial report can be found here. This summer, we spoke with Square Enix's Yuki Furukawa about the development and success of Dragon Quest Builders' mobile port.