Not long after selling off several studios and prominent IP to the Embracer Group, Square Enix has announced plans to “establish new studios” in its most recent Financial Results Briefing Session. The company may also be looking at acquiring new existing studios in the future.
According to the briefing, one of Square Enix’s “medium-term business strategy” objectives is to “boost game development capabilities by establishing new studios, [mergers and acquisitions], etc.” The document also describes the reason behind the recent sale of three of its western studios was to “achieve sustained growth through selection and concentration of company sources, better align overseas publishing function with organisation in Tokyo, and transform group business portfolio“.
Square Enix’s third objective following the sale is to “accelerate launch and monetization of new businesses by moving forward with investments in focus fields (blockchain, AI, and the cloud)“. This isn’t the first time Square Enix has expressed interest in technologies like NFTs and blockchain; earlier this year, its president Yosuke Matsuda advised that he hoped that NFTs would become a “major trend” in gaming. Considering the massive drop in value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in recent days, the company may be better served looking at safer investments.
It isn’t quite clear exactly what kind of studios Square Enix may be looking to buy or merge with. Despite selling off three of its major western studios, it has not totally cut off its western publishing division, continuing to publish games like the Life is Strange series. Considering the smashing critical and financial success of Final Fantasy XIV, purchasing a studio to work on more MMOs or live service experiences would certainly be on the table.
Rumours abound that Sony’s next big studio acquisition is going to be Square Enix, which wouldn’t be totally out of left field. Square Enix’s flagship Final Fantasy franchise has long been associated with Sony’s consoles, so a formal merger would seem fitting. Owning such an iconic JRPG developer would be a real feather in Sony’s cap in terms of future PS5 exclusives. In any case, we will have to wait and see what Square Enix’s next move will be.