Former Square Enix President Explains Why They Make Smartphone Games And Remakes

By Sato . January 28, 2014 . 1:01pm

Since his resignation as CEO and president of Square Enix, not much has been heard about Yoichi Wada and what he’s been up to. During a recent presentation covered by 4Gamer, the former president spoke of past events that led to the change of Square Enix’s business model.

 

Square Enix have recently released several remakes such as Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. Wada is asked if this is due to the company’s lack of new IP. According to Wada, the company’s business quality was not at its best when he assumed office as the president, and that’s how it all started.

 

After going through several brainstorming sessions at the time, they decided that releasing games that the development staff members could have confidence in would lead to better results for the company. So, the plan was to start out by making sequels and remakes of existing IP, followed by increasing the amount of new IP.

 

However, this is what Square Enix had planned about five years ago, and since then, they’ve faced several challenges such as delays in the development of games for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, coupled with slow progress while attempting creating new IP.

 

Additionally, they required several directors and other high-ranked staff members in the development of Final Fantasy XIV, which made it even harder to come up with their next “big hit” IP. For this reason, Wada began questioning whether it was required to only focus on high-end titles.

 

It was out of the question to pause the development of said high-end titles, as it would be much more difficult to resume development after stopping.

 

And so, Wada decided that it would be in Square’s best interests to continue on with these projects, even if it meant facing further hardship.

 

As a result, Square Enix staff were working on high-end titles with less than your average number of staff members, but at the same time, they needed some form of steady cash flow. This is where mobile and social games came in to help the company. With the use of games that required payment to play for certain periods of time and items that could be acquired with cash, Square Enix began using social games as a reliable way to make profits, according to Wada.

 

In addition to it being a low-risk plan, it allowed Square Enix to continue working on high-end new IP development. This business model that allows them to no longer rely  on the sales of physical games, was created by Wada and is still being used by Square Enix, as they continue working on next-gen titles.


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