Square Enix president and CEO Yusuke Matsuda has given a lenghty interview to Nikkei, in which he discusses most of the key factors of the company’s business at the moment, such as the need to more worldwide releases for RPGs, expanding their games’ momentum through DLC, the mobile market, or the release of new hardware in 2017 like Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Scorpio.
The company responsible for series like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider or the recent title Nier: Automata is paying attention to all the hardware releases of 2017, such as Nintendo Switch or Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, and the new ways to enjoy PC gaming, such as Windows 10’s game mode or Google’s AR technology Tango. Out of that group, Matsuda confesses that he is specially interested in Nintendo’s platform, thanks to its successful launch around the world. So far the company has ported titles like Dragon Quest Heroes and I Am Setsuna, but future titles include Project Octopath Traveler and Dragon Quest XI.
Smartphone games are also a big part of their 2017 plans, which include a bit of a reboot of their approach after the disappointing results from their early 2016 releases. Matsuda feels like their future mobile productions must standout either through new gameplay ideas or big productions destined to hardcore gamers, and they can achieve that themselves or through partnerships with other companies, like the recent Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire. While an 80% of their business comes from Japan, China, and North America, they are also paying attention to emerging markets such as Mexico and Middle East.
Talking about their emblem series, Final Fantasy XV’s record numbers highlighted the importance of worldwide releases and expanding the experience through DLC. Matsuda thinks that nowadays internet platforms like Youtube are a key factor in the spread of word of mouth, which can build some essential ‘buzz’ around story-focused titles, but it can also make people tired of waiting if the game takes a long time to release in Western countries, and make it look like an old an uninteresting game.
On the other hand, the continued release of additional chapters via DLC is an effective way to keep the attention on a game months after its initial release and achieving long-term sales. As for the future of the series, Matsuda notes that we should expect more news related to the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy this year.