Square-Enix announces it will “aggressively pursue” multiplatform release strategy in the future

Posted on May 14, 2024

According to Japanese publisher Square Enix’s latest earnings release, the company has experienced a profit drop of -69.7% in the most recent year. In response, it has announced that it will “aggressively pursue” a multiplatform release strategy after making many of its landmark titles PlayStation and Nintendo Switch exclusives, and evidently not seeing the kinds of profits it was seeking.

The report suggests several reasons for the drop in profits. In addition to reduced earnings from its console-exclusive major releases, other potential causes include a decline in net sales and profits in its MMO division, weak performance of its free-to-play mobile games and high development and marketing costs for its HD titles. To remedy this, Square Enix has announced, among other things, that it will “aggressively pursue a multiplatform strategy that includes Nintendo platforms, PlayStation, Xbox, and PCs” in order to “build an environment where more customers can enjoy our titles.

More than most other third-party publishers, Square Enix has formed a habit of releasing its major titles as console exclusives. These include 2018’s Octopath Traveler on Nintendo Switch and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth on PS5 this year. It is a strategy which has aided it in forming strong relationships with Japan-based console manufacturers Nintendo and Sony, albeit often at the expense of the Xbox and PC markets. However, despite whatever benefits that Square Enix has reaped from such exclusivity deals, it evidently isn’t making up for the substantially reduced potential audience for its games.

This isn’t to rule out potential exclusivity deals in the future, particularly with the Nintendo Switch’s successor on the horizon. However, with development budgets ballooning, it is evidently becoming unsustainable to limit a game’s audience to just a single console install base, even just for a limited time. In addition to cost-cutting endeavours, such as “cancelling the development of some content “, Square Enix signals a “shift from quantity to quality“. This suggests a focus on fewer releases which will be (hopefully) more individually successful. It will remain what this shift to a multiplatform release strategy will mean for in-development projects, such as Dragon Quest XII and the HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest III.