Square-Enix: "What's In America Should Be Handled By Americans"
Square-Enix has been striving to expand well beyond Japanese boundaries this generation and in speaking to VentureBeat, head man Yoichi Wada explains the company's movement.
In addition to predicting the eventual end of "retail video games," Wada spoke about the aim and inherent difficulty of targeting a worldwide gaming population, which of course boasts different tastes and ethnicities. He also said that despite the attempts of some Japanese publishers to "globalize," the strategy didn't work because it remained mostly Japanese in nature. In fact, Wada cites several major companies that tried to expand to a global market and thus far, he believes no one - including Western publishers trying to cater to the Japanese - has succeeded.
"We have to appeal to customers with different preferences. Sega did not succeed. Konami did not succeed. Namco Bandai did not succeed. Western publishers have not succeeded in selling in Japan. Nobody has succeeded at globalization. But it hasn’t succeeded because it was always based on Japanese direction. It was Japanese people who commissioned the Western developers to make games."
Wada goes on to mention the recent purchase of Eidos and that by "becoming part of the family," there's a general melding going on. Eidos isn't a "slave" to Square-Enix; the studio is treated "as completely equal as the studio in Japan" and in the end, it's Square-Enix's goal to create a business environment "where completely different ethnic groups can coexist in the same company." And then, he said something that we know long-time fans of Square won't particularly like (although it won't come as any big surprise):
"It is important that what’s in America should be handled by Americans. The same goes in Europe and in Japan. These people who are deeply rooted in their own cultures can engage in their own dialogues. The mistakes I have seen so far are when Japanese people try to do everything the Japanese way, using Japanese workers in different areas of the world."
That, right there. Is this not the single biggest mistake Square-Enix continues to make? Isn't this what we've been screaming about the entire generation? Isn't this exactly what I said? Who wants to start up a petition that tells Square-Enix that not all Westerners always require distinctly Western games, especially when we all grew up with Japanese games?!
7/5/2010 10:19:55 AM Ben Dutka