Yoichi Wada on Final Fantasy XIV, 3D Games, and Social Networks
Square Enix CEO not too confident in the whole 3D thing.
Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada's comment about a possible multiplatform release for Final Fantasy Versus XIII is likely to melt message boards throughout the world. But, as detailed at Impress Watch, Wada spoke about a lot more than just that during Square Enix's investors briefing today in Tokyo.
Investors were keen to hear about Final Fantasy XIV, which is now in alpha testing. Wada would offer just one clear statement about the company's next big MMORPG to follow Final Fantasy XI: "We will release it this fiscal year." He refused to make any solid announcements, but when pressed on the game's business model, he did seem to be leaning towards the use of subscriptions.
The Impress Watch report also notes that Wada alluded to a number of large scale online titles being in development, although he said that releasing these this fiscal year would be impossible.
Wada was also asked for his thoughts on one of the big buzz words in the game industry today, 3D games. When asked if he felt 3D could revitalize the market, he said "I'd be happy if it would revitalize the market. However, while it will likely become a big topic, I don't believe it will form a market." Asked for a reason, he said "Whether naked eye or with glasses, the method is unstable." He also seems to feel that there could be cost issues with 3D technology, due to the higher specifications required to render everything twice.
While Wada may not be sold on 3D just yet, he does seem intent on supporting browser and SNS games, stating that Square Enix will release a number of such titles within the year. He admitted that, as a package-based software company, Square Enix initially may have been a bit off in their approach to SNS games as they did not fully understand user motives and movements. However, he feels that they've started to approach the proper focus.
Wada also addressed the topic of globalization. The company has completed merging its operations around the world, and the various areas have started cooperating at the level of individual projects, he said.
One big lingering issue with globalization, however, is China. "This can't be done unless we partner with someone," said Wada. "Who we'll partner with is still open."
Outside of these comments on Square Enix's future plans, Wada, backed by CFO Yosuke Matsuda, provided a full recap of Square Enix's earnings for the previous fiscal year. You can read all about the company's record earnings here.
Most of the information from the presentation is in slide form, which you can see here. But Wada did have a number of notable points to offer.
This year's game software unit sales were the highest ever for the company, as shown in this slide:
This year's 26.66 million units worldwide easily beat out the 16.93 million units of the year ending March 2007.
What's interesting about this year's figures, though, is the balance between territories. Wada noted that whenever a Dragon Quest game is released, the sales figures tend to lean towards Japan. This year, overseas markets held their own despite the 4 million plus exclusive Japanese sales of Dragon Quest IX.