We’ve heard Square Enix president, Yoichi Wada, discuss the company’s globalization plans time and time again. And yet, it’s never been quite clear what Square define as “globalization” other than that they want to increase sales of their games in overseas territories.
On the fan and consumer front, some feel that globalization means westernizing the company’s Japan-centric franchises. Others believe that it involves setting up shop in more territories to develop games for the local audience. However, neither of these are necessarily the case.
“Our global development is not the release of all titles in all regions, nor is it game development in a certain region for meeting any individual, regional taste,” Wada said in a message to investors in the company’s annual financial report.
“As we maximize the unique strengths of each title, sales performance may vary depending on regional preference. The globalization we pursue achieves an optimal balance of products across the Group through combinations of such strong titles.”
So, the point isn’t to westernize Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy or to “Japanify” Lara Croft — it’s to make sure Square have a healthy amount of content selling in each part of the world. Wada points to this past fiscal year as a good example of his globalization vision, where Final Fantasy XIII, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dragon Quest IX drove sales across the globe.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Dragon Quest VI are listed as million sellers as well. Combined sales of these titles worldwide led to an increase in Square’s operating profit — earnings before taxes and interest deductions — over the previous year by 254%.
Wada further states that in a connected world, user location has little meaning these days. Rather, culture and language are larger factors that segment the market. An even more vital issue, he believes, is “segmentation by individual customer preference.” Now that Square have established a globalization “skeleton” through the acquisition of Eidos, they plan to add “nerves” and “muscles” to it, going forward.
In terms of geographic expansion itself, China is next on Square’s priority list, as Wada feels his company’s profit ratios are being surpassed by certain major Asian game publishers.