Square Enix Feel They Have Something To Learn From Kickstarter

By Ishaan . May 26, 2013 . 9:06pm

Square Enix recently revealed that, despite being major hits, Tomb Raider, Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs failed to meet their sales forecasts. In a financial results briefing, Soon-to-be Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda explained the problem in more detail.


“These titles were lauded by the industry from a creative perspective, achieved very high levels of quality, and I believe that we achieved our primary goal of both reinvigorating existing IPs and creating new IPs,” Matsuda says. However, he adds, profits are where the aforementioned games failed to deliver as per expectations. One of the problems was that their actual sales to customers—not shipments to retailers—slowed down too quickly.


While the plan was to sell these games across a long-term period, competition from other titles on the market tightened up sales opportunities and this caused “a critical increase in advertisement spend to lift initial shipments”.


This isn’t one-time problem, Matsuda feels. It’s a structural issue with how major, big-budget games are developed. You spend several years working on a game, and don’t see a penny of the profits until it’s been released to consumers. Once it’s out there, it competes with other major hits for the spotlight, and in an age where consumers are becoming increasingly selective, this makes it difficult to guarantee sufficient returns on investment.


So, what would Matsuda like to change about the way Square Enix handle their console games? Matsuda says he’s interested in a form of business popularized by Kickstarter—where profits are made both during development and after release, and where developers continually remain in touch with their audience, frequently providing them with information on how things are coming along.


“In a model where a game is developed without customers knowing what it’s like for many years, the product is presented to customers only after it has been finished, and all investment is recovered at one time, customers are forced to wait for too long, and opportunities for profit are passed up,” Matsuda feels.


Matsuda elaborates: “We’re no longer in an age where customers are left in the dark until a product is completed. We need to shift to a business model where we frequently interact with our customers for our products that are in‐development and/or prior to being sold, have our customers understand games under development, and finally make sure we develop games that meet their expectations.”


This is where Matsuda feels Square Enix have something to learn from both Kickstarter and Valve’s Steam Greenlight and Early Access programs.


Says Matsuda: “There is a crowdfunding website called ‘Kickstarter,’ which does not only serve as a method of financing for developers, but I believe should also be seen as a way to unite marketing and development together by allowing us to interact with customers while a game is in development. Valve’s Steam Greenlight and Early Access, are also very interesting, in that they raise the frequency by which we interact with customers, increasing their engagement and reflecting customer needs. We are also looking at what initiatives are possible from this perspective. ”


So, what does Matsuda feel Kickstarter and Steam can teach Square Enix?


“What should we present to our customers before a game is finished, how can our customers enjoy this, and how do we connect this to profitability, is something we are thinking about implementing, and which can improve our asset turnover in the process,” Matsuda says.


  • DesmaX

    ooooh, I like this guy

    • ShadowDivz

      Indeed. But my mind says one thing “charging for demos” a modest fee probably, still kinda bad though. Paying for a demo.

      Unless, they unveil some sort of subscription where you get to try multiple demos and give feedback. Im sure alot of impatient people with cash to spare would register for that….

      Yes, i would >_>

      • Barrylocke89

        Now that I think about it, this wouldn’t be the first time that Squeenix has charged for demos. Isn’t that essentially what they did with Dissidia duodecim?

  • SiliconNooB


    Kickstarter is fast becoming the corporate fuck-toy of celebrity game developers.

    It is a sadness.

    • Derek E Nay

      I can’t remember, but some are already trying it…

    • Brion Valkerion

      I know right. Theres just something so… unsettling about a huge publisher/dev company trying to jump in the kickstarter wagon. Especially squeenix aka “we exploit 2 IP only even though we have like 50 others under our belt from 15 years ago”.

    • Ni

      I don’t kickstarter to turn in something like YT is today

    • surakian

      SE seems to be looking at this as a way, not to support their big titles, but to use as a creative platform to get fans involved with the development of a game…

      I can see this being used for their smaller games in development rather than their big flagship titles and more popular titles.

    • puchinri

      Kind of, yeah. Some people are just referencing it in a clever manner or something, but I’m side-eying some of these companies/devs.

    • Pockystix

      I definitely don’t want these already well-off companies to do kickstarters, but it would be nice if they tried to be as responsive to their gaming community as the smaller devs.

      Now I not saying follow fans to a tee (‘cuz half their games would consist of sephiroth yaoi and lots tifa boobs, let’s be fair lol). But it would be nice for them to learn just how to actually appeal to their audience, that they have recently lost touch with.

      Bravely Default’s Devs were very good at this, and their demos really helped them patch up some things before the eventual full release. I’d like something like that, on a larger scale.

      • ShadowDivz

        yaoi no, tifa’s boobs yes.
        I think the Dead Or Alive team should be involved with any game that has a female with size C and up breasts.

    • So much truth to this. I’m not sure why this trend is gaining so much popularity.

  • Niermyico

    This is like Youtube (or any other site) all over again. Once a place
    for regular people, now slowing taken over by the big dog and sooner or
    later..BANG! All your base are belong to us.

    • Just to make sure no one else gets confused… he isn’t saying you’re going to see Square Enix suddenly launching a Kickstarter campaign.

      What he’s saying is that he’s interested in the idea of exploring things other than the usual business model where you work on a game for several years, tell fans very little about how things are going, and then make money once it’s finally released.

      Just how they choose to implement the lessons they’re learning from Kickstarter remains to be seen.

  • imaguni

    Well, it’s certainly true that they need to be more in touch with their audience at least. Their poor listening skills (as far as the audience is concerned) have hit all of their releases in a major way, from the obvious examples like Versus and Type-0 to XIII-2’s overall unsuccessful attempt at making good use of the second chance they are.

    Self-awareness is a start, I guess.

    • Herok♞

      Lets be honest how well do you think Type-0 would have done if it was localized? if it had been localized no one would have even cared about it by this point in time and it wouldn’t have sold all that much, and FF13-2 did within what they were expecting so there was no problem there for them.

      • imaguni

        I don’t think the sales would have been amazing, but I definitely don’t think they would have been abysmal either.

        And while XIII-2 was within their expectations sales-wise, I will still argue that XIII-2 did not satisfy overall in my opinion, and I say this as someone who actually did like XIII, flaws and all, and was forward to XIII-2. Did it sell? Sure, why not. Did it really improve on the XIII franchise as a whole? When you realize that its strengths are brought down by bigger flaws than its predecessor, not really.

        • Herok♞

          Well the point I was making with with FF13-2 was it didn’t hurt them for not listening to the fans, also at this point Final Fantasy should just be called Differing Opinions because I preferred FF13-2 to FF13 .also you didn’t respond to the part of the comment about the pointlessness of bring Type-0 over which was the intent of my comment, the reason why I brought up the 13-2 sales was to show Type-0 had no chance outside of Japan for many reasons.

          • imaguni

            Did it really not hurt them? XII-2 sold half of what its predecessor did and the sum of opinions on the game is even less favorable than XIII’s. How does this affect them? The players need a reason to come back to the series, especially on its third installment. Had XIII-2 succeeded at living up to Kitase’s promises for a better, improved experience overall, wouldn’t Lightning Returns be receiving a warmer welcome? Wouldn’t players, fans and newcomers alike, be more willing to give it a chance overall?

            And since my response to the Type-0 portion was not satisfactory enough for you, I’ll expand. Do I think that bringing Type-0 overseas would have been pointless? No. Look at what happens when you as much as subtly refer to Type-0: instant frustration, disappointment and floods and floods of demands to play the game. Surely a good portion of this can translate to sales. Beyond that, the title had the hype and the acclaim and it was associated with an established franchise. It would not have been hard to act on the feelings of those who looked to Type-0 as something to revive their interest in Final Fantasy as a whole.

          • Herok♞

            No sequel to any main number FF ever sales nearly as much of the predecessor, so I find the point moot. Also you have to remember everyone feels differently about FF in general, the fans are going to buy LR:FF13 so they are a given, new comers may or may not be interested because the battle system is change and everyone else is up in the air. also you have to remember how people talk about the game before launch has no meaning, Remember the L4D2 petition where fans said they didn’t want a new game already and they would boycott the game, when the game came out the fans on the petition bought the game anyway.

            On the Subject of Type-0 you are really over estimating the vocal minority, when ever I refer to Type-0 people localized but then again people want every game ever to be localized. The number of people who still even remotely care about Type-0 has decreased since when it was first announced, if it was released on PSP today, at most I could see 50,000 buying it which really isn’t all that many people when it comes to game sales and this is assuming everyone interested went out and bought the game instead of pirating it.

  • DarkWaterClone

    The only game I would Kickstart for SE would be Vagrant Story 2 with Matsuno as the lead. Well I might give a little for Bushido Blade 3, Einhander, Secret of Mana 2, Bahamut Lagoon 2 & Super Mario RPG 2 but only after I know what they have planned for them.

    For SE to get my money for VS2 they just need to say Matsuno is the lead & that’s it. They would not even need to give up dates. Because I would prefer to stay in the dark and then be surprised when I play the game.

    But that being said I would prefer not having to kickstart any game for a multibillion dollar company.

    • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

      Why not a numbered Final Fantasy game with Matsuno as lead?

      • Much as everyone loves him, Matsuno hasn’t exactly proven capable of handling the stress that accompanies game development in recent times.

        • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

          I really don’t think Matsuno leaving Squeenix and LEVEL5 has something to do with his health. He has said time and again on his Facebook and Twitter that he’s pretty much in perfect working condition. I’d like to believe creative differences between him and the companies are involved that he had to leave. He must be really frail if his involvement in Guild01 took a lot out of him.

          • Guild01 was a tiny game, though. The last time Matsuno worked on a big-budget production was FFXII, and that didn’t go well for him. Since then, he hasn’t really worked on anything major. Just the Tactics Ogre remake and Crimson Shrowd.

        • SpecDotSign

          Is that really the case though? I didn’t read any negative press when he was working with Platinum on MadWorld or when they did the ‘remake’ of Tactics Ogre. I honestly think the Final Fantasy XII fiasco was an isolated incident. And even if this is the case, he’s one of the better writers Squenix has ever had.

      • surakian

        Matsuno became extremely stressed when developing FFXII and it led him to leave Square. I don’t think he’d make it out alive if he made another numbered game.

  • 3PointDecoupage

    How are they hits if they sold terribly?

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      They didnt sell horribly. the games budget was inflated to high hell.

      • 3PointDecoupage

        So they screw up, and now they want a bailout, but instead of asking the government, they’re asking the fans. Yeah, I think I’m done with SE.

        • surakian

          They aren’t asking for anything from fans but their attention and support.

          Also you should pin your misdirected hate at Wada if you’re looking for something to be angry at. Matsuda is trying to fix Wada’s mess now that he’ll be president and CEO this June.

    • surakian

      They didn’t sell terribly. That was something Wada was saying because he needed to pin blame on something.

      What Matsuda is saying is that they sold quite well but because of high costs of development and marketing, the return on the games was not very high. They made back the dev costs and then some, but they didn’t make a profit which has caused them to reevaluate the necessity of pouring large amounts of money into marketing and development.

  • foopy

    I am all for any gaming company opening avenues of communication to fans. The fact that it’s Square gives me the first real hope for future titles from the company in a really long time.

  • mirumu

    Those are some very interesting comments. I don’t entirely know what to think of them yet, but Square Enix needed someone with new and different ideas. He sounds like a very smart guy.

    I suppose with that kind of model it will be easier to keep customers hyped through the development period in turn leading to sales holding up for a longer period of time. On the downside, if the release doesn’t live up to expectations people will be more reluctant to buy in early in the process. Asking for feedback during the development process may make for better games too.

  • Rogerrmark

    Better late than never.

    Btw,Romancing SaGa 4 Kickstart NOWWWW
    /like ever
    I would pay for a decent remake of FFV and VI,as well as another SaGa game,though

  • Brion Valkerion

    While I agree with his views of the kickstarter program and its possibly awesomeness, his comments about those big games always annoys me( all of us lol). The only way I can think of SE using kickstarter without the planet lynching them would be to gauge potential smaller IPs coming back as a smaller game or something.

    I don’t think Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest kickstarter would sit well with anyone. SaGa/Front Mission/anything using the team from Vagrant Story, FFT, FF12 because I effing love their art and design work like more than anything EVER, I would shell out my life savings for.

  • Go2hell66

    So Kickstarter is the new DLC now? just another way for developers to steal our money?

    • surakian

      They aren’t saying they want to use Kickstarter. They are saying there is something to be learned from Kickstarter’s model.

  • Bloodios

    “We need to shift to a business model where we frequently interact with our customers for our products that are in‐development and/or prior to being sold, have our customers understand games under development, and finally make sure we develop games that meet their expectations.”

    Good! Please let us be in touch with the team behind Versus XIII and its development progress, then. Please let us be excited.

    • Kefkiroth

      So much irony…

      • Hey! They finally opened the can of worms! Let’s now see what they can do with it.

    • $36598391

      They say that but then continue to ignore everyone who requests a new Mana, Saga or Front Mission game for something OTHER then cellphones

  • Anime10121

    I know this aint what they mean, but I’d seriously Kickstart the hell outta Xenogears1-4 or episode 6! Man how I wish that series became as fully fledged as it should have. :(

    • Bloodios

      What would happen if the team behind Xenogears and Xenosaga decided to merge and Kickstart their own “Xeno Chronicle“?

      • Ni

        The team behind Xenogears and Xenosaga is a nintendo first party developer now. I don’t see this happening

        • Bloodios

          Have Nintendo buy the rights and make it exclusive for Wii U?

          • Anime10121

            Would be nice, but I dont see Nintendo shelling that kinda money out for Gears, especially considering the first game didnt do well enough sales wise (though critically its a gem) to warrant turning it into a series.

          • They’re Nintendo’s 1st Party Dev Team now. Take a wild guess! KOS-MOS, while still mostly used in conjunction with the Namco Bandai brand, is now pretty much exclusive to Nintendo devices now. Xenoblade: Chronicles is exclusive to the Nintendo Wii. And in the credits page, the list is filled mostly with the original team and other Nintendo devs/employees.

            The thing is, Monolith Soft has been owned my Nintendo since the last couple of years now, period. But wait, to those who see this as a bad thing, know that this also dramatically increases the chances of any “Xeno-” series character to be in the next Super Smash Bros! By 99%, even!

          • Anime10121

            Wait, I think you’re a little confused on how things work. While Monolith did create the three series, Xenogears, Xenosaga, and Xenoblade Chronicles (its Xenoblade Chronicles not Xenogears Chronicles), they do not own ANY of the series or its characters (unfortunately), they are all owned by the companies they made the games for.

            Xenogears and its characters are owned by Squaresoft i.e. SquareEnix, thats why when they left Square Takahashi had to reboot his franchise into…

            Xenosaga and its characters are owned by Namco Bandai, this is when Monolith Soft was created. Back when gears was created Takahashi was still a Squaresoft employee, and Monolith didnt exist.

            Xenoblade Chronicles was created after Nintendo had purchased nearly all the shares in Monolith, so while monolith isn’t “technically” a first party studio, they may as well be, since they are majority owned by Nintendo.

            Its not a bad thing per-say, that Nintendo own Monolith, just in the case that we will probably NEVER see another Xenogears episode. Xenosaga on the other hand basically concluded in episode 3, and while they may have left the story open for continuation with the whole Kosmos floating through space at the end, its likely the end for that franchise as well. HOWEVER, Kosmos could actually end up in Smash, if only for the reason that Namco is helping develop the title, its extremely unlikely though, considering she’s more a Playstation character, than a Nintendo one.

            The only ones who are fair game for Smash are the Xenoblade characters, and while that was an amazing game, those characters dont really jive well with the type of character that’s normally in Smash.

          • Heh, true. But a Company that owns an IP wouldn’t completely have the final word. They would still get publisher profit. And given that Nintendo owns the Dev Teams and Dev Name now, this all just means that Nintendo has three series that are now exclusives to them. Speaking of “Nintendo Power”, I miss the magazine…

          • Anime10121

            Uh, yes they do have the final word, that’s what owning the IP means. Of course in the extremely off chance that Square or Namco would allow them to use the series on Nintendo consoles, they would see publisher profit, BUT that’s a big IF.

            What you’re saying is like Inafune can just make another Megaman game, even though he’s no longer apart of the company. He may have had a heavy hand in every Megaman after the first, but once he left the Capcom, he had/has NO SWAY, in what happens to Megaman, as Capcom owns the IP. In the same way that…

            Square owns Xenogears,

            Namco owns Xenosaga, and finally

            Nintendo owns Xenoblade

            Another example is Insomniac and their Ratchet and Clank series. Insomniac may be a Second Party dev studio, and may be able to make games for other consoles, but Ratchet and Clank can NEVER appear on another platform besides a Sony one, as Sony owns the IP (unless Sony sells off the IP like they did Crash and Spyro to Activision).

        • Anime10121

          Unfortunately, why I’ll never get my Xenogears sequel/prequels :(

          Xenoblade was fantastic, but it was missing the philosophical and techno/evangelionist babble that was so endearing in Gears, and to a lesser extent Saga (at least when you get to the end of episode 3 and its clusterfrek of Kosmos/Mary Magdalene/Yeshua).

          • Patrick Lucas Honeyman

            Is it also missing the episode-long cutscenes too? I would hope so as they took the piss in an otherwise decent RPG series…

          • Anime10121

            If you’re referring to Xenoblade, no, its a complete game and does not focus NEARLY as much on storytelling as the gears/saga series.

            And if you wanna blame someone for Xenogears second disc, its not the team’s fault, blame Square for cutting its budget because they needed help with their almighty Final Fantasy 8 game (which was alright as a Final Fantasy, but pales in comparison to Xenogears, ESPECIALLY what it could have been).

            I’m still ok with how they handled it though, I’d much rather have a complete story told than unfinished dungeons and an ending that couldnt be completed due to lack of man-power.

      • Anime10121

        Well the main leads (director/script) ARE the same between the two teams, they even shared the same composer (at least for the first episode of Saga). I just want them to be able to finish Gears, or at least do what Saga did and wrap it up rather nicely.

    • Rogerrmark

      Another Chrono game would probably have a good Kickstart budget,but who knows.

      • Anime10121

        Well quite honestly (and people may call this blasphemy) I never got what the big deal was with Chrono Trigger, I mean sure it was a great game with a FANTASTIC score (Yasunori Matsuda ROCKS!), but honestly I wouldn’t put it near the top of my RPG list.

        That being said, I would support a Chrono Kickstarter, as both games were generally pretty good, and I do think they could do more with the universe.

        • Kefkiroth

          A little off-topic, but, out of curiosity, what would you put near the top of your list? Building a JRPG backlog right now.

          I’ve only ever delved into PS1 era and up Square RPGs, and some SMT games.

          • Anime10121

            Xenogears IS my top game (though the second disc is kinda lacking in gameplay, its FULL of dialogue, and an awesome plot).

            So something like


            2.Kingdomhearts (series)

            3. The World Ends With You

            4. Megaman Legends (series)

            5. Final Fantasy IX

            6. XenoSaga ep 3

            7. Radiant Historia

            8. Xenoblade Chronicles

            9. Star Ocean The Second Story

            10. Nier

            11. Drakengard 1

            12. Tales of the Abyss/Vesperia

            The first five are properly ranked, while the rest are pretty interchangeable, as they are all great RPGs, I still have yet to really get into the Shin Megami Tensei series (the whole first person battling view really throws me off for some reason), but I’m going to try again when IV drops (though I’m waiting for a little drop in price, cant really justify the heftier price tag for a series I’ve only partially played).

          • Kefkiroth

            Thanks, I see those recommended a lot. I’ll probably play around with those as a start.

            And in terms of SMT games, P3/P4 are good to start off with as they don’t have a third-person perspective, and are comparatively easy compared to older games in SMT. SMT3 Nocturne is a good game to get a feel for harder SMT stuff, and is much more reminiscent of traditional SMT than the Persona games are, especially story-wise.

  • If they put FF 7 hd remake or a Chrono Trigger sequel. They’de blow kickstarter up.

    • LustEnvy

      I was JUST about to post the same exact thging. If S-E wants money, they only need to mention these two.

      I’d be happy with a PS4 remake of Chrono Trigger, with cell shaded characters, like the way CyberConnect2 makes the Naruto games…

      • I need a remake of both Chrono games blended together, with some of the ties that bind both titles a lot less incoherent. And also, with a more consistent art style/direction.

        • lol
          My only complaint with Cross is that is looks nothing like the original as far as the art style goes.
          But, If you had a choice, would you import the style of Trigger to Cross? or Would you take the Cross style and implement it into the Trigger Remake?

    • Rogerrmark

      The best way to have every game/remake we want from Squareenix is:


      • Chiupon

        Go to an alternate universe? I like the way you think, but I don’t think I can handle drowning. Or Time Devourers, for that matter.

    • Herok♞

      Why does everyone seem to forget that Chrono Cross is the Sequel to Chrono Trigger?

      • I did not. I just did not like it.

        • Herok♞

          I don’t like it either, yet I still acknowledge its CTs sequel

  • andref

    Every time I read this, a chill goes down my spine as I imagine SE looking to gain a more profitable business model as in, gaining funds before and after a game is released

    • Ibi Salmon

      Even though nothing in the article implies that they would do that?

      • andref

        “Matsuda says he’s interested in a form of business popularized by
        Kickstarter—where profits are made both during development and after
        release, and where developers continually remain in touch with their
        audience, frequently providing them with information on how things are
        coming along.”
        And why bring up the problem with development that you don’t expect profits until after release, that should already be expected.

        • Ibi Salmon

          You’re forgetting his actual statements, which seem to put more of a focus on getting the fans more involved.

          “We need to shift to a business model where we frequently interact with our customers for our products that are in‐development and/or prior to being sold, have our customers understand games under development, and finally make sure we develop games that meet their expectations.”

          Also, he brings the problem up for a very specific reason: the possibility that the game won’t sell. Part of the reason why most publishers are very hesitant towards new IPs is because they’re afraid that they won’t sell, so they just allow sequels of already established franchises to be made and don’t give new games a chance to establish a franchise by its own.

          Something along the lines of what’s being suggested would address this problem. By getting fans more involved(Not necessarily by donating), publishers can be assured that there are people willing to buy this interesting new game and allow more new IPs to be developed and released. Gamers would get the games they want and publishers would get the profits from those games.

          Now, is there a chance that this approach can be exploited? Yes. But so can every other system. There’s always a risk to be taken with anything. At the very least, this shows use that Square Enix is willing to change their business strategies and try new ideas.

          Let’s try to think about the positives that could come from this for once. Is that too much to ask?

          • andref

            It’s not too much to ask, rather what approach are they willing to use to see the returns on their investments

          • Ibi Salmon

            I guess that’s true. We’ll have to see just what parts they’ll implement.

  • LustEnvy

    How about Konami launches a Kickstarter to pay off Murayama to continue the ORIGINAL Suikoden timeline? Fulfill this wish, god, genie, somebody!

  • I would love to be involved with Versus 13, Feel free to interact with me.

    But on a serious note, I do think that this is a much better approach. I think that the reason From Software also showed gameplay of Dark Souls 2 so early (April 2013 is really far off from some time in 2014) was because they saw the rumblings that was going on throughout the internet … so they showed the fans some gameplay and talked about their vision to ease their minds.

    Leaving people to their own thoughts can lead to disaster, I’m surprised there are people still interested in Versus 13 (Like me :) ). Too much involvement is also not a great thing as well, as gamers are not meant to drive the development of a game, as much as we think we know best, some times we don’t. So I think this is a good approach when done in a balanced way.

    • Zurashii

      One example of too much involvement not being great is Mega Man Legends 3…

      • I wonder what caused the demise of Legends 3 though, was it the mass input from fans or was it Capcom itself? I wonder if that game would have ever lived up to expectations. Still they should have never cancelled it after so much input was given , that was a slap in the faces of gamers

        • Inafune and Capcom were on very sour terms during this project, it’s possible they just said ‘screw you, we’re not working with you’ and blamed fan response for publicity’s sake.

          • $36598391

            Well It’s just not Megaman without Inafune in charge of it
            The original creator of the Resident Evil/Biohazard series is no longer with Capcom either

            Everything about Square Enix trying to please everyone
            Capcom tried that too aka Resident Evil 6 and the result was a horrible game
            Resident Evil 4 was a perfect mix of horror and action,
            Resident Evil 5 made great use of multiplayer co op
            Companies need to stop experimenting so much, Its alright to try something new every now and then but to discard a gameplay style that worked…

      • GameTaco

        Exactly. Fan involvement/inside looks are great (for an example of it done right, remember Super Smash Bros. Brawl?), but I get a feeling it’ll be a while before we see a developer run an experiment to the extent of Legends 3.

        That was one part allowing the fans to become emotionally invested and show their support for what they had been desiring for a decade (and in one instance, it helped; remember when Aero’s English name was going to be Sephira? :x) and one part a gambit played by Inafune to make the project known, effectively daring Capcom to try to cancel it. In the end, he left, and cancellations to all things Rockman happened anyway.

        With that said, I encourage the idea of developer transparency, even if this seems to be directed toward the Eidos side of Square-Enix, which I’m sure is filled with its own problems that probably wouldn’t be averted by keeping the audience in the loop. Remember the controversies from the first looks of the Tomb Raider re-reboot?

        I think that while Kickstarter was the inspiration here, it shouldn’t have been mentioned, as now loads of people are just going to count the days until they try to crowdfund one of their own projects. Bonus points if it’s for another expensive mobile port.

  • Sergio Briceño

    I like that he looks at other developer’s approach to investment and the relationship between them and the customer and acknoledges their success and wants to apply it to their own company.

    I don’t like though that he thinks that aside from meeting revenue expectations, the IPs he helped develop this generation have suceeded. Wow. I honestly can’t believe this guy.

  • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

    Matsuda: So you want an HD FFVII remake?
    VII fans: YEAH!
    Matsuda: We’ll set up a Kickstarter for it! Fund us and we’ll make a subpar experience!
    Sorry, Squeenix. Not buying that one.

  • michel

    I can’t believe that a millions paid manager discovered the concept of “competition” and “time to market” just yesterday!… :(

    • surakian

      Matsuda isn’t even CEO yet…

      • Achievement Unlocked!

        15G – Rediscovered Common Sense (as a Company)!

  • puchinri

    This sounds right and wrong. I feel like I understand part of what he’s saying, but I feel like he’s missing a part of the big picture (or I may have missed him getting it and addressing it). The difference with Kickstarter is, a good dev keeps you updated and aware and you know where the profit is going and see plenty of the work as it goes along; I agree that’s good and works.

    But, there’s also nothing stopping Squeenix from doing that as a company themselves and really, the BD team did that and it worked out well for them (which we read recently).

    It sounds like Masuda has the right idea though for the most part and I hope he sticks to that idea and goes through with it, as long as he doesn’t feel that they should also be profiting during development (because that obviously can’t work in a case like XIII VS).

    • Why can’t it work in that case?

      • Tenno Seremel

        (random opinion) Their reputation is a bit shaky among gamers lately therefore paying for a “cat in a bag” might be somewhat unwise prospect.

        • ShadowDivz

          Shrodinger’s Cat

      • puchinri

        Because that’s years of promising people something (and showing them little to nothing) and just profiting off them. I don’t think many people would stick around that long, or they’d be incredibly burned by an experience like that at least.

        We’re already a bit (butt)hurt over Versus, can you imagine if it was like Kickstarter and you were putting money into it all this time and still hadn’t seen much of anything? That would be a terrible situation. It’s not that they couldn’t do it, but it would be a disaster.

        • LaserVision

          I think butthurt is a mischaracterization. If i were a shareholder, I’d be pretty mad that one game has taken an entire console generation (and it still may not be even done yet!) to develop and has prevented work on more titles. Versus XIII (and likely Nomura) deserves all the lambasting it can get.

          • puchinri

            It’s why I put it in parenthesis. It really is reasonable hurt, but some of it is a bit over the top (at times). We are not shareholders though (unless some people on here are, and in which case, whoa share some of your moneys with me, lol!). I think it’d be reasonable for shareholders and consumers to be mad at that situation though.

            I agree it deserves a lot of the critique it gets, but my basic point was: that’s already a terrible situation. It would have been gruesome if people had also been paying into it all this time.

          • ShadowDivz

            Im sure some people have gotten forgotten Versus by now. Or some like me just think “fuck it”. Unless we get a mindblowing trailer or demo on the PSN. I’m done hoping for that thing.

            Im more hoping for type-0 digital release so i can play it on my vita.

  • JustThisOne

    Hmmm… So perhaps, invest more into marketing or social media aspects to get in touch with the public more often? Show off little snippits, or concept work? Or how about kickstarter-like funding pools for DLC? That way, people can finally control what kind of DLC they want, without feeling ripped off, but also help developers out?

    I’m just spit-balling ideas, here.

  • enorka miho

    I thought maybe you know, they should just hire someone who has a good story telling ability.. Someone who had a wider view on the world just like all those previous creators.. Because i personally think that is their main issue.. Many of their new characters closely resembles Japanese anime kind of vibe which is not what we see in their previous entries and definitely not something we came to love.. I mean, we love them because they represent no one at all.. They are simply them…

    Besides, all the drags and what not, is probably communications and technical breakdowns.. They are no more as united as they used to be thus their inefficiency… It is just sad that they had lost their direction and have no ounce left of identity square soft once had.. FF:CC is probably the last from their FF idea barrel.. Although I will forever stick with them, and will still love them regardless, but I can’t help but to think that things really aren’t on par any longer..

    But, yea.. Lets just see how this new CEO can carry the ideology onward… In the time being, I very much fear that FF’s time are numbered… Because to me, this statements makes me feel very uncomfortable somehow…

    • LightZero

      Um…if you are referring to FF they always been walking anime cliches. They just fitted the animes of their time. Even then animes aren’t even bad. Not all animes like Bleach, DBZ, or Naruto. There are plenty of great and mature anime out there. Now if you are talking about character designs then blame that on FFVII for getting popular with its more anime-esque style.

    • puchinri

      I actually don’t think the story part is their problem. I think how the story was told in XIII (as a whole) has not been effective or great (and they probably could do to improve on that actually), but that’s only been a problem there for the most part, and I think what could help them is trying to diversify themselves story-wise.

      We had a game like IV which was somber (with some humor) and then V which was very humorous and goofy (but had great emotion) and then VI which was more like IV but a nice middleground, and while I think having games like VII and VIII back to back didn’t help, they came back to a different type of story and how they told it (and the mood/feel) with IX. I think that’s one of their greater strengths; being able to tell so many different kinds of stories in many different ways. We see it with their other titles too (Chrono Trigger+Cross, Threads of Fate, Musashi, etc).

      I also think that they’re not as united anymore, and it feels like they’re very disjointed at times. That probably needs fixing up too.

      • XIII was interesting for me because of the story as well as the way it was told. I do appreciate it for the fact that the way the events are unfolding is a slightly different approach.

        • puchinri

          I think the story itself is fun, but the way the gameplay and story kind of conflicted rather than meshed at times was jarring and what I refer to (at least early).

          • Yeah that is true. I like the idea of the party being forced to move forward. But at the same time the gameplay can make you feel as if you are going nowhere.

  • harpdevil

    Tomb Raider sold 3.4 million copies, Hitman sold 3.6 million copies. Yet those sales are considered weak?? Square Enix’s first port of call is to stop deluding themselves with unreasonably large sales targets. Next, cut down on the time it takes to make a game, which is ridiculous compared to what other developers can manage, which will cut down on cost. Finally, and I hope someone at Square Enix will understand this soon, what they need to find is not new ways of speaking to their customers, but LISTENING. Listen listen listen. They need to be realistic about what people think of SE now, not in the past. Coming out on stage at the PS4 event with nothing and telling us to be excited for E3 was a giant kick in the face. We’re used to nothing from SE, its all we get for years and frankly, the games they’re producing now do not come close to past triumphs. Communication with their fans is important, yes, but listen as well as speak.

    • Ziko577

      I can’t stress that enough my brother! Give this man a gold star! This is why they are struggling financially today. FF 13 as a whole was a failure in the series all because they didn’t listen to us. The sequel didn’t fare much better and I hope the final installment Lightning Returns will be much better but I reserve judgment on that one. As far as sales go, they do overshoot the target by saying “X game is gonna sell 10,000,000!” or something like that and all we get is less than half that. The development time for these games does need to lessen because everyone knows that when you take too long to make one game, the more likely the fans and the developers will have less faith in it. It took 10 years for a new Duke Nukem and it bombed. KH II to me was a failure because despite a 4 year window and promises, the game was too short and in hindsight, too many plotholes which are still getting cleared up today.

    • LightZero

      They should only listen to a degree. Let be honest there are a lot of crazy fans. I don’t know about you but I rather not have those fans running the asylum. So SE should listen and speak to their customers but only in moderation. Also listen to the ones that are actually sane and savvy of the business.

      • Exactly. When I think about them taking fan opinions, I imagine a group of gamers just purposely giving opinions that would ruin the game for others. But that’s just my cynical outlook of the world coming forth in my opinion.

        • ShadowDivz

          Makes sense. Imagine some dude like “PUT SOME FPS ACTION IN THERE!”.
          Or “MAKE IT LIKE GTA!”. Game breaking. So the key to this, like anything else is moderation. I don’t think your outlook is cynical.

          • NOOO!
            You are giving my fears validation lol.
            I just hope they are indeed using the kickstarter idea as an example of information flow

    • puchinri

      1000% this. I think expectations are a huge part of what hurt them, and maybe their expectations were sadly realistic for the amount of time that went into those games; but that does go right into the second issue, which is cutting down the time (and better managing resources, most likely).

      Also, that note about actually listening to the customers/consumers is very important. It’s like they kind of hear us, but how often are they actually listening.

      Parts of the company have everything down so well and get things done, but I think they just have these problems in other places that need to get cleaned up and everything else should get streamlined to match those outstanding parts.

    • Herok♞

      Honestly listening to their fans isn’t that good of an idea, seeing as people who hate every decision they make consider themselves fans and people who love every decision they make consider themselves fans. That’s before you even tackle Final Fantasy with literally everyone and their mother wanting something different from it, so if they listened to fans someone would always be unhappy and they would end up doing something stupid.

      • LoL
        I hate having to admit that your statement is so very accurate.

  • fearlubu

    All I ask for (in terms of these games that didnt meet their quota) is for SE to give sleeping dogs another chance. That game was damn refreshing and the most fun I had in a long while (aside from valkyria chronicles, but you just cant go wrong with VC).

  • Crimson_Cloud

    Are you fucking kidding me? It’s like people around the net never expressed their desires and thoughts. Are you telling me they never read those FF7 remake mails and Chrono Trigger remake/sequel request blogs? Why the hell do you need Kickstarter to interact with people? You can do that with forums and just by posting your progress on YOUR damn site. Problem is Square, that you’re just a business company while good people at Kickstarter actually CARE to make a game that fans would love. Thats the difference. Project Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin are just some of those groups.

  • Tom

    This guy said some clever things, “frequently interact with our customers” – this is how Bravely Default was made, good direction.

    “he’s interested in a form of business popularized by Kickstarter” – great idea, we would have been crowdfunded the whole FFType-0 years before.

  • psycho_bandaid

    Hmm. Most devs that use kickstarter are a lot smaller so it is easier for them to communicate with their customers in a clear manner directly from the dev team. Larger devs that squeenix are likely to have under their brand usually have PR folks that are not usually working on the game in the way. Not to mention this sorta ignores some of the kickstarters that went poorly.

    I remember the Code Hero game getting funded and never being completed. Star Command for the iOS managed to get completed and launched… 2 years later, after another kickstarter campaign, and with only about 30% of the original features outlined in it’s first kickstarter. Games big or small often have these issues where development doesn’t go smoothly, features get cut, delays happen, games get cancelled completely (i’ve seen MML3 get mentioned several times here) and involving folks before the final product is in view just leads to disappointment and/or rage.

  • Draparde

    I enjoy this, even if its not always through videos and game-play i feel that fans should get some updates on how things are, or how things will be.

    SE already sorta did/is doing this with FFXIV and i hope they do it with other games as well.

  • Unlimax

    Don’t tell me they will ask for “Donates” !?

    -The Dark side of Kickstarter-

  • revenent hell

    Haha. I love seeing how kickstarter gets abused by people.
    I actually find it quite repulsive how instead of trying to do things for themselves it seems so easy to get a “kickstarter” for it.
    I actually loose faith in companies when I hear of thim turning toward this “new buisness model” since thats basically what it has turned in to.
    It should be no wonder why things in the past are generally looked at as better because people like me can remember when others put their own blood, sweat and tears in to things (aka The Hard Way) instead of cheaping out like this.

  • Kai2591

    About damn time, ey?

  • gamefreak86

    Facepalm. How about releasing games people actually want. FF 0, Fuck if Nintendo didn’t step up we wouldn’t get BD. Stop nickel and diming your Fuckin customers. Stop this specific retailer pre order dlc bullshit. Give us updates and clips. Why the Fuck do you wait to the last minute to advert your game? Why do we have to keep asking you for everything???? There’s also the matter of rnd of your engines but you license others like epic. Wtf.

    • Herok♞

      And why do you want Type-0? if a English localization was released today, it would be pirated more then it was bought because no one buys stuff for the psp. Also keep in mind that FF13-2 sold more in the U.S. alone then FF type-0 sold in Japan where the psp is still alive to this day.

      • If Type-0 were ported to vita, would the possibility of pirating be more? Less?

        • Herok♞

          if it was ported as in made native to the Vita it would be alot less because at the end of its life the psp was really easy to hack at this point Vita doesn’t have the same rampant amount of piracy.

          • I see.
            I like the idea of playing on vita (with or without HD enhancements). At this point, I think that would be the only safe way to go for the company. It’s just weird(ridiculous) to me that the PSP is still a huge money maker in JP. The newest game I purchased for handheld was 7th Dragon 2020 II! I really wish it were headed to the vita tho.

          • Herok♞

            The problem is piracy killed the north american market or we would still be getting a few more psp games. but at this point the only psp game I would want localized is P2:EP(psp) because it has more content the ps1 classic they released.

  • Fidelis

    Woah now..!
    Kickstarter is..an indie thing..
    A big company asking a fanbase to fund their games is just..why would anyone fall for that?!

    And yet people WILL.

  • FFmax

    When did these video game developers get so out of touch with gaming? It’s like they never heard of twitter or Facebook or hell, just plain emailing. They’re just now talking about communication with the consumers, wow. As seen with the Xbox One these people really don’t have a clue nowadays.

  • Guest

    Square Enix is starting to feel about lots of things – I doubt that one of those is what the gamers really want.

  • I see mostly raging in the comments, so I guess I throw in my two cents real quick. First and foremost, as people gripe about wanting sequels to something, it does not always involve the companies that got you the first game but sometimes the original creators of those games as well. A couple of cases like this seems to be Chrono Trigger and possibly Beyond Good and Evil. Also you have to bear in mine many of those creators have other projects they would like to see come to fruition, and unless it was a past project that really did need a sequel. at times getting one is unlikely.

    I know that fans calling to arms to make enough noise in regard of a game or series sometimes helps it come to see the light of day or the light of day else where in the world, but at the same time you still need to use a bit of common sense and hopefully some restraint when it comes to these things. As far as gaming companies go….you bet many of them are out of touch and wonder why they see shrinking profits or loss of interests in their IPs. The main priority is profit, but if you’re not willing to properly engage the public when you do something you shouldn’t be surprised when you start getting backlash.

  • You don’t need a kickstarter to listen to your fans SE.

    • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

      CEO: So you mean you want another social game and FF13-7?

      • You already mentioned phone games as part of your plan so it’s not like my voice will alter anything and probably these kickstaters would be just for small things like downloable chars, kinda like Skullgirls right? It’s not like you’re gonna ask lots of money for an entire game and take a long ass of time developing it right? RIGHT? *Eye twitch*

  • SirRichard

    While it is initially a scary statement (mentioning “profiting during development”, for instance) especially in light of antics such as Final Fantasy: All The Bravest, I think this is probably a promising development for Square.

    After all, what’s one of the most common gripes people have with Square Enix? Not saying anything whatsoever about Versus XIII. A completely opaque wall locking it off from the rest of the world, just vague assurances and “please keep waiting”. How many people will honestly care by the time it’s done? And it’s not just a problem for Square; taking way too long between announcement and release can really hurt a game’s chances, and without continued news about the game to keep it in the public eye it’s going to have a hell of a release, fighting better-known titles for increasingly selective (out of necessity, of course) customers’ wallets.

    Further, what better way to guarantee some customer interest than by involving them directly? Square Enix has already done this with Bravely Default; frequent demos and a lot of encouragement from the development staff themselves to give feedback so that adjustments can be made to the final game. Even things as simple as the character’s movement speed were adjusted to fit what the customers wanted, and the game was much better for it. What better way to guarantee good will (within reason)? It keeps the hype going, it makes people excited as the game gets improved and starts to fit their wants and standards.

    The problem, though, is that the new president doesn’t seem to have acknowledged that there is a problem with their expectations. To take Hitman: Absolution as an example (as I played it recently through PS+, it was alright at best), it sold 3.6 million and was the second highest selling game in the franchise, beaten out by Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and even then only by a very slight window of 0.1 million. It did basically as well as the franchise has ever done, but for whatever stupid reason Square Enix expected 4-5 million from it.

    (For reference, I’m using Square Enix’s very own “Corporate Strategy Meeting” slideshow from 2009, around the time of the Eidos purchase, as a source: http://www.hd.square-enix.com/eng/pdf/news/20090422_02en.pdf )

    That right there is the problem; they expect every game to shoot past the last, they expect an ever-upwards growth for everything when it just won’t happen. The concept of a series consistently doing 2-3 million and profiting from that seems to escape them, and it is that very problem that will continue to hurt them (and others in the industry!) for years to come.

    Still, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Taking the Bravely Default approach to development would be a pretty cool thing to do, and if nothing else it’ll let customers see any warning signs ahead of time and have them encourage the devs to stamp them out before prime-time word-of-mouth hurts the game’s chances. Hell, maybe we won’t see a Versus XIII situation ever happen again (at least, not from them) through this.

  • Sneferie

    Cutting down on terribly bloated game budgets wouldn’t hurt either…

  • Something like, “Maybe we should make games that people want.”

    • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

      CEO: What!? They want another Lightning game already?!
      Nomura: Just what are you reading online?

  • brian

    I remember something from an Extra Credits episode that Squeenix could also learn from, something like:
    “Even non-AAA games can meet expectations, selling in the hundreds of thousands.”
    They should think modestly, and this seems like a step towards that.

  • They should do a sequel or a remake of TWEWTY for the 3DS, that would definetly get lots of sales

  • CirnoLakes

    Didn’t think I would hear such a thing from Square Enix.

    Well, that’s good news. Maybe they might go back to making diverse games. Like the ones they did during the PlayStation era. Could you imagine Square making 10 proud niche games a year for Steam?

    Now that would be nifty. I miss their PlayStation era diversity and budgeting. Between Squaresoft and Enix there was a lot of decent games being put out like Brave Fencer Musashi. Games like which you don’t see much of today from them. Square Enix would start winning me back if they started acting like they did in their PlayStation era. I’d rather play a game like Recettear than Final Fantasy XIII. Small yet good games are worthwhile, too. And Square Enix could have better communication with their fans.

    I’ve got to admit, Steam and Kickstarter are something I pay a lot of attention to lately. There’s been a lot of nice Kickstarter projects that I’ve backed. And Steam has a kind of ease of use and interesting layout. Developers respond to fans about their games on Greenlight all the time, and it’s all very nice. In general, I think it shows that grassroots gaming is on the uprise and that the so called “AAA” industry is bloated. Games like Minecraft are selling millions of copies. And games like Cave Story which are freeware are even selling decently.

    Games like Tomb Raider simply cannot sell what people are expecting, niche has become a thing to avoid with big developers, and there is a push to make a whole bunch of same-y “AAA” titles. But in reality that market isn’t as sustainable as many in the industry would like to think. Game companies need to accept niche and give it a shot again. The graphics bubble is bursting and niche fans of niche games and genres are flocking to the indie industry where they feel their voice is appreciated.

    It’s time for the bloat to go away. And I think that Square Enix would do a lot better to embrace this wave and think small time. Get some teams together who love what they do. And work from a similar mentality that many indie studios are. Square Enix’s current Corporate mentality and Corporate behavior aren’t going to get them anywhere. It’s time to just let go and let the small things matter again.

  • No. A multi-million dollar corporation does not need to learn anything from Kickstarter.

  • $36598391

    Square Enix… you want some fan input, here’s some
    If you aren’t going to bring a certain game over from Japan then LET ANOTHER PUBLISHER DO IT!!!!

  • Zonder88

    I still dont see kickstarters for FF6 and 7 HD for PS3 yet. Sorry.

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