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Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda weighs in on simultaneous worldwide releases, new games, and ports for Nintendo Switch, and more
Simultaneous worldwide releases
Matsuda is of the opinion that Final Fantasy XV sold 6 million total physical and virtual copies worldwide (as of January 10, 2017) in a relatively short period compared to previous Final Fantasy games due to its simultaneous worldwide launch. He commented that as the European and US markets tend to continue their sales long term, Square Enix is planning to maximize the life time values of their games through updates and DLCs.
Matsuda observed that simultaneous worldwide releases are an important aspect of marketing, as gamers will want to play a new game as soon as possible and may even lose interest if the game's international release is delayed. He said that it is therefore important for the company to decrease those delays, especially for RPGs and the action/adventure genre, as, due to their emphasis on narratives, they are difficult to sell abroad unless released simultaneously.
Matsuda is also showing interest in gamers sharing gaming experiences over social media such as YouTube. This has become more relevant to Square Enix's sales strategy as they expect their consumers to share gameplay videos and create a "buzz" to lead game titles to become more noticeable.
When asked about the necessity of cultural changes in games, Matsuda replied that Square Enix games are appreciated for retaining their own cultural originality.
Lastly, Matsuda reflected on taking advantage of the emerging market in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and especially India, where the once negative perspective on video games has been changing steadily.
The Nintendo Switch and other platforms
Following up on new platforms such as the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft's Project Scorpio this year, Matsuda believes that having more platforms is good for content creators. Square Enix is in fact increasing its interest in the Nintendo Switch in particular. The company has already released a few titles on the console and announced more future releases. Matsuda remarked that in addition to developing new titles for the Switch, the company would also like to port existing games to the console. He mentioned that while Nintendo may propose amazing ways to "switch" certain game characteristics, Square Enix aims to make games that will leverage the functions of the Switch following their own creative paths.
Matsuda also commented on the smartphone game business, mentioning that Square Enix's smartphone titles released in the beginning of 2016 struggled in general due to the market having matured beyond the existing templates used to create those games. He also listed other issues such as limited storage capacity. He stressed that the company will need to research its competitors and figure out how to make their games different and engaging.
Lastly, regarding Virtual Reality, Matsuda thinks that the focus is not to make a game specially for VR, but rather to use VR as a factor to make games interesting.
What do you think of this rundown of Square Enix's future strategies, and how do you think it will affect future Kingdom Hearts titles? Would you like to see a worldwide simultaneous release of Kingdom Hearts III, or Kingdom Hearts games ported to the Switch? Let us know below!