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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Square Enix - The Next Generation? 31

Thanks to GameSpot for its feature regarding a Square Enix analyst's attempts to grow the company into the online and mobile arenas. This new strategy "...has two main themes - one that recognizes the limitations of the current-console platforms and one that acknowledges the fascination consumers have with online gameplay." The analyst, Ichiro Otobe, discusses the importance of community above all: "You need to have something like a Final Fantasy XI that can attract a certain community of people. In a way, our content is more a kind of bait to attract strong community, and the actual content is offered through the communication with these communities [of players]", and also has interesting theories on the perceived decline of the Japanese games market, suggesting it's "...actually a shift of users' interests. Most of the people spend time and money for mobile content, but most of the money is actually going to packet fees, which, in turn, go to network carriers."
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Square Enix - The Next Generation?

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  • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @07:42PM (#8827521) Journal
    It's Squeeeeenix!:)

    Erdrick's masamune? Meteomore? Ahh, the possibilities are endless!!!
  • So in other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @07:54PM (#8827580)
    one that recognizes the limitations of the current-console platforms and one that acknowledges the fascination consumers have with online gameplay."

    So in otherwords, the acknowledgement that running a MMORPG game without a hard drive built in is very hard and the fact that people are amazed at the fact that PC gamers have been playing RPGs with OTHER PEOPLE for years now. Basicly meaning that console MMORPGs will eventually mimic and merge with PC MMORPGs, as console RPGs have generally focused on strict linear storylines for one player.

  • Hear that Nintendo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Get on the Online bandwagon
  • by C0rinthian ( 770164 ) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @08:50PM (#8827816)
    Will Advent Children suffer the same fate as The Spirits Within? "We learned a lot from the movie experience," Otobe said. "This is really a new type of movie content." Reflecting more on The Spirits Within, Otobe said, "We should have created something that looked more animation-like. Think of artists. They have the ability to create realistic pictures, but they don't. They create artistic expressions. We should have done the same thing, but we didn't. That was a huge mistake."
    This makes me very hopeful that Advent Children will be what The Spirits Within should have been. I bet aiming for a DVD release instead of theatres will give Advent a much better chance of being commercially successful, as the break even point won't be as astronomically high as a theatre release.

    For the record, I thought The Spirits Within was a good movie, and a fantastic technical achievement. However I can see why it failed miserably in the box office. The themes were very much in line with those of the rest of the FF series, unfortunately those themes are not that accessible to American audiences. Gaia spirits are a little too deep for Joe Popcorn I think.

    BTW, why is it that we can render near photo-realistic faces on characters, but their hands look like rubber? I guess hands are REALLY hard to get right. I know that was one of the traits that really popped at me watching Spirits.
    • Gaia spirits are a little too deep for Joe Popcorn I think

      Or maybe the movie just wasn't that good at all?
      If you enjoyed it, more power to you. But you'd be the only person I've ever heard say it was anything less than 'bad'.

      Most people have much more strong terms to use for its quality level. And none of them ever mention Gaia as a shortcoming. It has everything to do with the lame characters, the insipid dialogue, the predictable story path, and the overall feeling of 'whatever' that occurs when a s
      • Well, make that two people. I actually liked the movie. Yes, it was cheesy at parts, I'll definetly admit that. However, it did have its good parts, and I did enjoy the animation quality.

        I think it would have done better if they hadn't put the "Final Fantasy" name on it, but that's all in the past.
        • I liked it as well, and I agree with the point about the Final Fantasy name. Not only do I think it would have done better without it, I think I would have personally preferred a different title.

          Sure, it shares a grand theme with the rest of the Final Fantasy series with Gaia. But the rest of the movie doesn't fit with the series at all. The games are all fantasy worlds with a bit of sci-fi thrown in. Some have more sci-fi than others, sure, the first part of FF7 was very modern, for example. But on the wh
          • Well, don't forget that Advent Children is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy VII. Yes, I do think they have gotten it right this time, because I have talked to all my friends, avid video game freaks, who are just drooling at the possiblity of a sequel to FFVII, movie-form or game-form.

            I have the "Making of..." book and I am quite sure it said something about Sakaguchi basing the whole Gaia idea on his own ideas on the afterlife.

            However, I am looking forward to seeing Advent Children. Hopefully, people who
      • I also enjoyed the film, more so after watching it a second time.

        Although, one time watching it with a friend, we pondered muting it and watching the animation. After it was finished we discussed why we thought it wasn't successful while realizing it did have potential. The points, however, I do not recall.

      • It was an enjoyable movie, with a less predictable plot than many blockbuster movies, better action sequences than the average sci-fantasy movie, and I'm sure I could remember other things to mention if I was more awake. The people I know that know the Final Fantasy series all at least liked the movie. None of them thought it was "bad". I think being a "video game movie" killed it with the general public more than anything else. My friend worked at the theater at the time and asked people who were seeing a
      • I also liked the movie a lot, but I agree that the content was a little different than what normal movie-goers expect. They obviously used the Final Fantasy name because it was recognizable by many people but ended up cursing it as a so called video-game movie. Another thing that stood out about this movie is that it was a joint-collaboration between US animators and Japanese producers at Square, unlike Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children which I believe is an all Japanese venture (and it looks very good).
        • American animators need to wake up and stop pumping out animations that are always kiddie-oriented and start making some more mature content like that which is represented in Anime. Well, that's what I think.

          Wonder what Pixar has in the pipes after their contract with Disney is up? (2 more films I believe)

          The problem is more to do with public expectation. When people see an animated movie, they expect it to be aimed at a younger audience. Comic books and video games are experiencing the same probl

  • Mobile technology (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperMo0 ( 730560 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <0omrepus>> on Saturday April 10, 2004 @09:25PM (#8828023)
    I honestly don't see mobile technology being accepted as fast in America as it was in Japan. Americans seem to view their cell phones as a portable home phone, and not much else. In Europe, you see a rise in SMS/Text messaging that AT+T seems to be trying to emulate by pimping Ryan Seacrest on American Idol.

    In Japan, people were more accepting of downloading things to their phone, but I think a lot of people are wary of the current payment scheme for much of these things, which is a large minute-by-minute charge for the download. It goes against a lot of what Americans seem to enjoy paying for (i.e. a set price for each one instead of an unknown amount of time).

    If mobile entertainment catches on in America, I see it as catching on on a much smaller scale... of course, brands like Square Enix, EA, and Sega getting into the mobile field might help draw people into it, but they need something better than the N-Gage to let people know that cell phones are ready for video games.

    (Apologies if I ranted a bit, been a while since my last /. post)
  • by tekunokurato ( 531385 ) <> on Saturday April 10, 2004 @09:46PM (#8828117) Homepage
    Wow. What they don't mention AT ALL in this article is that squenix has a major online venture in china which is making up a big chunk of their revenues and winning fans and security in a market with four times as many people as the US.
  • Here's a real simple way Square Enix could go to another level with their company.

    Develop games for the Xbox!

    • Given the fact that the Xbox sells poorly in Japan [], I wouldn't count on it. Any game that Square Enix makes for GBA or PS2 is going to sell thousand of copies because the user base for those consoles is much, much larger: why spend money on porting the game to a platform that has a small user base when I could use that same money to make (or remake) a game that has the potential to sell a thousand times more if I release it in a console with a larger user base? That's why we have stuff life Final Fantasy I
      • Exactly. Square Enix is a Japanese game company first, an American company second (as evidenced by the large number of games that haven't made it to American shores). They will only make a decision that will work in Japan, and given that XBox sells 500 units a week according to that chart, they don't have much incentive to develop for them.
      • Well, 1) Rockstar Games made a ton of money when they ported GTA3/GTA Vice City to the Xbox. 2) The Xbox user base is not exclusive to Japan. There are other countries in the world that sell the Xbox.

        It's true that Companies like Square Enix base their game development on Japanese based Consoles. However, there would be a larger demand for their games if games were developed for multiple platforms.

        • Support this "ton of money" idea. Even if they had 100% penetration in the Xbox market ,they made 5 times more in the PS2 market. It's a nice secondary income. and a garenteed seller like GTA is a no brainer to port. btu the Xbox is a also ran, that will not get many premium titles. Most people with an Xbox also have a PS2. they aren't losing out much by not publishing on the Xbox plus sony offers lucrative licencing deals if it's PS2 only and it's a marque franchise.
  • by GaimeGuy ( 679917 ) on Sunday April 11, 2004 @01:42PM (#8831244) Journal
    The only people who want online are the HARDCORE community: the guys who we all are: the guys who actually follow the news in the industry, and the guys who talk about video games on message boards all over the internet. The percentage of gamers who actually use online is less than 10%. Yeah, overall sales of online games are up, but really, you can't tell me that Madden's millions of sales this year (again) are due to online play in the Ps2, right? People are buying games which HAPPEN to include online features, that doesn't mean that they're buying to play online, or that they're playing online.

    I find it really stupid how many people and companies think that online gaming is something that's being embraced and desired by everyone, despite the fact that games which heavily use online features, such as MMORPGs, usually peak at about 500,000 units in sales.

    Of course, the sole exception to this is FFXI, which people buy just because of the FF name. The sad thing is, I actually know about five guys who bought the game, and now can't play it because they didn't know it's an MMORPG.

    I'd like to see developers pay more attention to the online ACTIVITY of their games, monitoring that ratherthan the sales of their games which have online features. I'm sure they'll get a better idea of the popularity of online, then.
    • Agreed. I often see the opinion on Slashdot that online play is the be-all-end-all of games, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because PC games are more popular here. FPSes and RTSes are more suited to online play than, say, Japanese style RPGs or platform games.

      Online play often seems more like a marketing gimmick than a neccessary gameplay ingredient. Yes, it has its place, but not every game needs to be online.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.