Former Square Enix President Yoichi Wada talked about his time with the company in an interview with Yahoo Japan. During the interview, Wada talked about what led to the merger between longtime rivals Square and Enix.
The interview is split into four parts. Here’s the full section from the interview on the merger between Square and Enix.
The reason behind Square’s merger with longtime rival Enix
Next, the story about the merger with Enix.
Yoichi Wada: “Yes. It would take way too long if I were to talk about it all here and now, but at the time we predicted that the ‘game industry was entering a period of change’. While everybody else was excitedly rising, Square was losing all alone, so when the period of change arrived, we were able to jump right into the battlefield just before everyone else went down.”
So if you were five years too late, it would’ve been an out?
Yoichi Wada: “While we did make it on time, just being healthy wasn’t enough. We predicted that the industry would sink and we thought about what we needed to do next. We decided on ‘what key growth’ and had to change everything from growth strategy to the business model. Our first show was deciding on the merger with Enix.”
What was the deciding factor behind the merger?
Yoichi Wada: “First, we needed a change in culture. In short, a great majority of company employees valued that ‘we did well and we had good times’ so they didn’t think about the possibilities of things going bad from there.”
You did have the experience of success, after all.
Yoichi Wada: “However, we fell even with our experience of success, but due to the extremely short turnarounds, we weren’t even aware of it at the spot.”
You just didn’t notice it?
Yoichi Wada: “Yes. If we were to dive right into this period of change without actually changing anything while thinking ‘let’s do it again’ then we would’ve been in serious trouble, so we had to change our ways. In order to do this, I thought that ‘merging was our only choice’ rather than purchasing.”
So the intent was to completely change the culture itself. We often hear about the difference in worldviews between Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, but were there a lot of differences, including development methods?
Yoichi Wada: “It was good because of the differences. Enix was profusely domestic-oriented, while Square Enix focused on overseas but didn’t have the market it yearned for. So you had Enix that didn’t have a development department of its own and Square that tried doing everything on its own. In any case, we had all kinds of differences.”
Yoichi Wada first joined Square in April 2000 and quickly became an executive director and chief financial officer. After stepping down from his position as President, he left Square Enix in June 2015.