Pouring over Square Enix's latest financial presentation has uncovered a slide of bullet-points that should put a frown on many faces. The slide, part of Square Enix's "Financial Results Briefing Session" presentation, covers "Strategic Changes in the Digital Entertainment Business." That's games, in financial talk. The slide states that Square Enix's plan is to "accelerate" domestic production of smart titles, while shifting overseas studios focus to online-based titles.
If those two points seemed a bit confusing, here's the gist of it: Japan continues to refocus on mobile development, while overseas studios like Eidos are refocusing on online games with "variable earnings models" like DLC and microtransactions. Basically, Square Enix is moving in the exact opposite direction of where core gamers would likely want them to go.
As an example of what Square Enix means by a shift to online-based titles, they list the in-development Nosgoth. You know, that title which has almost no actual relation to the Legacy of Kain franchise, but capitalizes on the brand to offer a F2P battle-arena style of game. The type of game well-known to be rich in microtransactions, with high potential for pay-to-win exploitation.
As an example of what Square Enix means by accelerating Japanese development of smart titles, they list the upcoming release of Dragon Quest VIII on mobile devices, Final Fantasy Agito and Dragon Quest X's planned release as a cloud game for smart devices. Basically, all of the releases that core gamers wish would be dropped in favor of single-player titles like Final Fantasy or a true Dragon Quest sequel.
Perhaps it's time for us to stop asking Square Enix when sequels to our favorite franchises will be coming and start wondering if. The Square Enix of today, let alone tomorrow, is not the one of yesterday and they certainly aren't focusing on core gamers as their main audience anymore.