Square Enix’ latest financials show that their mobile segment’s sales have continued to decline compared to the previous year, despite the launch of a major new title.
Their Q1 2024 financials saw an increase of net sales by 14.4% ($601.6m) but a drop in operating income of -78.5% ($2.7m) year on year, however, Square Enix predicts a rise in sales by 24% year-on-year for the whole 2024 period ($2.5bn).
Dragon Quest Champions, which launched in June, had high hopes pinned on it, specifically to boost the performance of the company's mobile segment. Its lukewarm performance can perhaps be partially attributed to Square Enix shuttering a number of mobile titles in 2023, such as Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights and Echoes of Mana, which may have drawn away the audience for these titles who didn’t return for DQ Champions.
As noted specifically in their report, “In the Games for Smart Devices/PC Browser sub-segment, ‘DRAGON QUEST CHAMPIONS’ was launched in June, but the sub-segment’s net sales declined compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year because of weak performances from existing titles.”
Although Square Enix is far from being in dire straits, it would seem that they are struggling to break through in mobile. As previously stated, the drop in sales could be partially attributed to their closure of other titles during the earlier parts of 2023, however Square Enix are quick to note that the poor performance of other existing titles contributed to the low performance. However, the failure of Dragon Quest Champions to significantly impact their mobile segment, despite accruing $100m within its first week, will still sting.
It raises the question of whether Square Enix’s mobile strategy needs a revamp, as the company boasts many potent IPs and well-known titles that could easily be translated into (and often have been) mobile titles. Their focus on the notoriously sticky blockchain market has failed to materialise much in the way of performance and while the company continues to enjoy broadly positive critical and audience reception for their recent mainline Final Fantasy XIV, sales are now slowing. All of which points to a confused approach at a time when gaming remains on the up on nearly all platforms.