Square Enix announced today that current President and CEO Yoichi Wada is expected to resign by the 33rd annual general meeting of shareholders that will be held this June. The candidate for his replacement is the current Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda, that previously held roles as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer within the company since 2001 (You can see him pictured below, courtesy of his corporate profile on Yahoo Japan. He sure has a nice smile)
The news come together with the announcement of a revision to the consolidated results for the quarter about to end to a large loss of 13 billion yen (about 138 million dollars), including “extraordinary losses” due to an impending restructuring of the company’s development policy, organizational structure and of some business models, estimated in 10 Billion Yen (about 106 Million Dollars).
Surprisingly a large percentage of the losses seems to be due to (relatively) weak sales of games developed in the West like Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider. Apparently the problem lays mostly in North American, as two thirds of the western sales were located in Europe. What can I say… we have good taste here.
While part of the internet is already exploding in the usual silly sport of “Blame the ex-CEO” (like it recently happened with Electronic Arts’ John Riccitiello), accusing Wada-san to be the culprit of every problem Square Enix ever suffered since its foundation, I have to say that he should also be remembered for one of the best actions I’ve seen done by a game publisher in a long time.
Without Wada-san’s support, we’d most probably still be playing an incomplete and half-baked free to play version of Final Fantasy XIV, while the complete redesign that will be A Realm Reborn would have never existed.
Under Wada-san’s presidency Square Enix did a complete U-turn and took severe losses (that very possibly are between the causes of his resignation) in order to bring those that purchased FFXIV a game worthy of their money and time, while opening considerably to dialogue with its fans. This can only be praised.
Many disliked him and his policies due to some of the mistakes the company has made, but I personally will remember his funny skits with Naoki Yoshida during the “Letter from the Producer Live” Webcasts, in which he didn’t refrain from making fun of himself and showing us his most approachable face. That’s something you don’t see very often from a Japanese company executive, and something I will miss.
Hopefully, at least in that and in his support for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, that many of us are waiting quite eagerly, Matsuda-san will follow his footsteps.