Square Enix as a company has produced many hits. The studio has developed the likes of the Final Fantasy series which sold over 176 million copies worldwide.
However, the game developer often focuses on the Japanese market first when developing games. These titles often lean heavily on Japanese culture and are mostly just translated into other languages.
During the most recent financial report from Square Enix, the company mentioned a shift in its focus to increase sales numbers. While the company has confirmed that it has "set new records for full-year net sales", Square Enix wants to "enhance [its] presence in the global market."
The company cited that Japan has "graying demographics" for video games. The Japanese population is the oldest in the world with 29% of its population being over 65 years old.
Square Enix said in its annual report that it is "critical for [its] business that [it] produce hit titles that speak to the global market." The company statement adds, "for our Group to better focus on developing titles for the global market in this changing environment, we need to concentrate our limited resources on the development of strong and robust titles."
The company plans to increase its presence in the global market by creating an organizational structure that will be focused on rolling out quality content for audiences outside Japan. The company intends to revamp its portfolio towards one that targets a global audience.
"In other words, the Japanese market is no longer sufficient for achieving a level of earnings that enables us to recoup our development investment and generate a profit, and we, therefore, need to approach our development efforts based on the assumption that we have to succeed in the global market," the company said in its report.
According to company president Yosuke Matsuda, blockchain entertainment will "play a key part of [SE's] strategy for future growth." The company said that it has "identified AI, the cloud, and blockchain as focus investment areas."
Interestingly, Square Enix has sold off three western studios to the Embracer group. The deal, worth $300 million, sees some of SE’s IP becoming part of Embracer’s portfolio. The company has said that it plans to establish new studios and acquire others with the proceeds of the sale.
Square Enix also mentioned that the goal of the deal was to "achieve sustained growth through selection and concentration of company sources, better align overseas publishing function with the organization in Tokyo, and transform group business portfolio."
It remains to be seen how the company’s push towards developing new titles that appeal to the global market will affect its existing portfolio of games. Square Enix does have titles like the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts which have been proven successful in the western markets. It needs to find a formula that caters to a global audience but also retains its appeal in the local Japanese video game industry.
The company may also look towards outside inspiration in games like FromSoftware’s Elden Ring as a very successful title outside Japan. Elden Ring has won the Game of the Year award at the Japan Game Awards and looks to be a strong contender at The Game Awards. Elden Ring has been one of best selling games in North America this year.