Square-Enix On Exclusives: "That Time Is Already Over"
Likely due to the release of The Last Remnant for the Xbox 360 this week, Square-Enix has been in the news an awful lot lately. You may recall them saying they don't prefer any one console, and now, U.S. boss John Yamamoto has taken this sentiment one step further.
According to a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Yamamoto spoke about the company's need to go multiplatform. Last generation, with the PS2 dominating from start to finish, developers and publishers could release exclusive titles for the system and still come out with a substantial profit. But no longer, says Yamamoto.
"Not so long ago the PS2 dominated the market so if we developed an exclusive game for PS2 then we could enjoy a very good profit. But that time is already over. To maximise and spread our games to as many users as possible I think we have to go to multiformat - the Xbox 360, PS3 and also the PC as well. The Japanese market is very strong and back when we could concentrate on developing games for just one console, business was very good. But the one-console market is over."
Yamamoto also spoke about the recently opened Los Angeles studio, which will cater specifically to Western tastes. We hadn't heard anything about the first project of theirs, but we now know it will be an "action-oriented" downloadable title for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and WiiWare. Yamamoto believes Square-Enix is one step ahead of other Japanese developers who "focus too heavily" on their homeland and ignore the needs of the Western gaming audience. This is the reason games like Final Fantasy XIII are coming to the Xbox 360 (but only in North America, not Japan). Yamamoto finished-
"I wouldn't make a generalisation about all Japanese developers, clearly, some have had continual success worldwide. However, I do feel that there is a tendency for Japanese developers to focus too heavily on the domestic market. With increased competition from overseas developers, Japanese companies must recognise the need to appeal to a broader audience."
Well, all of this makes plenty of sense to us, but we have one final question: if there's a pressing need to go multiplatform, and you don't have one favorite console, than why do PlayStation 3 owners continually feel left out...? The Last Remnant debuting on the 360 first? Star Ocean: The Last Hope a 360 exclusive? ...this doesn't sound like a multiplatform business philosophy, guys. I mean, we're just saying.
11/20/2008 Ben Dutka