Square Enix refocuses on core games and sticks to blockchain investments

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Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda mentioned in his annual letter that Square Enix is dedicated to rising its high-definition games enterprise globally. It additionally follows its blockchain funding technique.

Growing present franchises like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts into international blockbusters and introducing new mental properties that may turn into the following large franchises is precedence.

Square Enix has two of probably the most anticipated games of 2023 with Fantasy XVI coming on June 22, 2023, and Forspoken launching on Jan. 24, 2023.

During the 12 months, Square Enix overhauled its improvement and publishing group to advance progress and help it sooner or later. It streamlined the sport enterprise below the One Square Enix mannequin extra carefully aligning working relationships between Japan and the West. It additionally bought off its Western sports studios Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal to Embracer Group for $300 million.


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As a part of the One Square Enix mannequin, they’ve appointed two chief product officers who will work collectively to develop its publishing capabilities throughout the globe. It promote business exec John Heinecke (who oversaw Hearthstone and Overwatch at Blizzard) from CMO to CPO.

Looking forward, Square Enix shall be maintaining a watch on and exploring new enterprise alternatives together with blockchain leisure and there are additionally a number of new initiatives primarily based on new IP in improvement.

Economic headwinds

Esports organization TSM signed a $210M deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX - this deal could be in jeopardy now that Binance is acquiring FTX
FTX induced a second crypto winter.

Matsuda opened his letter by speaking in regard to the economic system. He pointed to hovering inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s transfer to elevate rates of interest, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That heightened geopolitical danger drove up costs and induced provide chain disruptions. Stock costs plunged, particularly in tech, and stalled.

“This chain of events continues to cast a major shadow over global capital markets,” Matsuda mentioned. “The impact on our lives in Japan also mounts with each passing day as the dramatic depreciation of the yen has ballooned prices on imported raw materials, triggering further inflation.”

He added, “Coming just as we were seeing promising signs of the world moving beyond the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, these tremendous changes in the macroeconomic environment also pose a variety of risks to the digital entertainment industry.”

In explicit, the semiconductor scarcity constricted {hardware} provides, which has had greater than a minor impression on the operation of Square Enix’s companies. He mentioned he expects these circumstances to ameliorate within the early spring. That might assist the corporate hit its medium-term marketing strategy, which might be discovered right here.

Structural reforms

Lara Croft in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Lara Croft in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

These financial modifications led the corporate to lay the groundwork for its medium-term marketing strategy. They additionally led to the corporate to implement structural reforms that seemed even further out. That meant large modifications just like the sale of the Western studios and the main target of the core digital leisure enterprise.

The goal of the Western studio divestment was to additional focus sources because the growing sophistication and complexity of sport improvement have made sport improvement extra pricey to pursue.

“We will also start to reconfigure our group’s portfolio of titles for the medium to long term. To that end, we will accelerate our efforts to strengthen our internal development capabilities by further expanding our internal talent pool, while also more quickly concentrating our resources on the development of titles that are competitive globally,” Matsuda mentioned. “The remarkable growth in the scale of modern game development has made elevating the skill sets and focusing the efforts of our development teams more important than ever.”

Divesting studios and strengthening inner improvement capabilities might on the floor seem to be struck which can be at odds with each other, he acknowledged.

“However, we must flexibly and constantly revisit our medium/long-term title portfolio and the development studios that create it in light of the environment in which we find ourselves,” he mentioned. “As such, both of these moves are essential if our group is to continue to provide entertainment that meets the needs of an evolving world.”

The firm mentioned it should assess its improvement group and use M&A and different strategies to optimize its studio portfolio by each natural and inorganic means, thereby making certain that it continues to strengthen its inner improvement capabilities.

Publishing modifications

Yosuke Matsuda is CEO of Square Enix.
Yosuke Matsuda is president of Square Enix (from 2019).

On the publishing aspect, Square Enix is shifting away from the earlier geography- and function-based mannequin below which Japanese and Western publishing organizations operated independently of each other.

“Instead, we are creating an end-to-end global publishing organization based on the concept of ‘One Square Enix,’” he mentioned. “We undertook especially thorough changes to the organizational structure of our Western operations, adopting a sales and marketing structure optimized to match the new studio portfolio created by the divestment of our three overseas studios.”

The firm is increasing its capabilities so to seize a lot of the upside potential from the digital shift that has been gaining momentum for the reason of the outbreak of the pandemic.

“By simultaneously strengthening our development and publishing organizations, we will further enhance our group’s presence as a global publisher and achieve new growth for our core existing digital entertainment business,” he mentioned.

Blockchain investments

Final Fantasy XVI
A phoenix performs a big half in Final Fantasy XVI’s emblem.

In phrases of recent enterprise domains, the corporate mentioned it could spend money on three areas.

Among these, it’s most targeted on blockchain leisure, “to which we have devoted aggressive investment and business development efforts,” he mentioned.

This focus induced a stir on the web final 12 months, as players feared Square Enix would hand over on hardcore games in favor of scammy blockchain games. But Square Enix had to re-emphasize that it’s going to proceed to make its hardcore titles.

He added, “Looking externally, I think it is fair to say that blockchain gained significant recognition as a field in 2022, as evidenced by ‘Web 3.0’ becoming a firmly established buzzword among businesspeople. However, the year also saw volatility in the cryptocurrency and NFT (non-fungible token) markets that tracked the dramatic shifts in the macroeconomy described above.”

Besides the crypto winter, he pointed to the somber and scandalous chapter submitted by FTX in November.

“In the wake of these developments, we hear rumblings from some countries of early moves to regulate such businesses more strictly. In Japan, meanwhile, the drive to encourage such businesses has gained momentum, led by the government,” he mentioned.

In June 2022, the Japanese cupboard signed off on a plan referred to as the “Priority Policy Program for Realizing a Digital Society,” which incorporates wording concerning the creation of an atmosphere for selling the Web3 ideas, together with the usage of NFTs primarily based on blockchain expertise. Japan’s Digital Agency additionally launched a Web3 examination group.

“New technologies and frameworks lead to innovation, but they also create considerable confusion. Having ridden out such societal tides, some such technologies and frameworks gradually become part of people’s lives, eventually giving rise to new businesses and growth,” Matsuda mentioned.

Following the exhilaration that surrounded NFTs and the metaverse in 2021, 2022 was 12 months of nice volatility within the blockchain-related area, he mentioned.

“However, if this proves to have been a step in a process that leads to the creation of rules and a more transparent business environment, it will definitely have been for the good of the growth of blockchain entertainment,” he mentioned.

Keeping a gradual eye on these environmental modifications while contemplating from a higher-level perspective what Web3 and blockchain leisure is literally all about presents a unique vista than if focusing on them solely in technological or speculative funding phrases, he mentioned.

“As I said in last year’s New Year’s letter, if we consider traditional gaming to have been centralized, then blockchain gaming must operate based on a self-sustaining decentralized model. It is that concept, that philosophy that I see to be key,” Matsuda mentioned. “That is to say that what sort of new experiences and new excitement our Digital Entertainment business can deliver to our customers through its game development efforts and other endeavors under the self-sustaining, decentralized concept is extremely important.”


Multiple blockchain gaming occasions held abroad just lately produced extra energetic dialogue than ever earlier about what makes the games thrilling and what their consumer group appears like, he mentioned. The market was pushed extra by speculative traders than by players although 2021.

“In other words, the content that was at the forefront was created based on the premise that blockchain and NFTs should result in monetization,” Matsuda mentioned. “However, in the wake of the aforementioned turbulence in the cryptocurrency industry, there is now a trend to view blockchain technology as a mere means to an end and to discuss what needs to happen to achieve the end of delivering new experiences and excitement to customers. I see this as a very beneficial development for the future growth of the industry.”

He mentioned the corporate has a number of blockchain games primarily based on authentic IPs below improvement, a few of which it introduced final 12 months, and the corporate is getting ready to unveil extra titles this 12 months.

“We are also engaged in global sourcing from an investment perspective and will continue to take stakes in promising businesses whether we find them in Japan or abroad,” he mentioned. “Blockchain has been an object of exhilaration and a source of turmoil, but with that in the rearview mirror, we hope that blockchain games will transition to a new stage of growth in 2023.”

twentieth anniversary

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

Lastly, Matsuda is famous that 2023 is a milestone 12 months in that it marks the twentieth anniversary of the merger of Enix and Square.

“Our group intends to achieve further growth by continuing our self-sustaining evolution and transformation as we remain watchful for the changes that will occur in the next decade and beyond,” he mentioned. “We will drive our businesses forward with the goal of making 2023 a year of major evolution and transformation.”

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