Square Enix Promises Multiple Blockbuster and Medium Games; MMORPGs Will Focus on User Retention
Square Enix teases major releases for established and new IPs, multiple blockbuster and medium-sized games, and a focus on retention for its MMORPGs.
Following the announcement of Square Enix’s fiscal year 2018 financial results this morning, the publisher provided the presentation slides for their briefing, and they included some interesting information on the plans for the upcoming fiscal year, which end on March 31st, 2019.
First of all, we learn that in the that the publisher intends to expand its IP portfolio through “major” releases of existing and new IPs, further improving profitability by boosting digital sales. On top of that, Square Enix expects an increase in revenue thanks to the launch of “multiple” blockbusters and medium-sized games.
The document goes on to list some of the already announced releases for the fiscal year, which are Octopath Traveler for Nintendo Switch coming on July 13th. Shadow of the Tomb Raider for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 14th, and Kingdom Hearts III confirmed for 2018.
Interestingly, we don’t see Toshifumi Nabeshima’s Left Alive, which was announced for 2018. At the moment it’s unknown whether this means that the game won’t come this year, or Square Enix simply did not include it in the list because it doesn’t have an official release date. That being said, Nabeshima-san himself mentioned in an interview last month that “the goal is in sight” development wise, so we’ll have to wait and see if we hear anything at E3. Historically, the lists in this kind of document tend to be partial, and we don’t see any mention of the western release of Dragon Quest XI either, which we know is coming.
Another interesting aspect is the mention of “major” releases of new IP. Octopath Traveler is certainly a new IP, but it’s probably a stretch to call it a “major” release. On the other hand, Left Alive would probably fit the bill better. Again, some surprises might also come at E3.
We also get some data on the plans for the publisher’s MMORPG portfolio, which includes Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X. During the past fiscal year, they saw major growth due to the launch of expansions, which led to strong disc sales and an increase of paying subscribers.
This year won’t have any expansion launch, so Square Enix expects a decrease in disc sales. That being said, they intent to “focus on user retention by taking various operational measures such as large updates.”
Final Fantasy XIV will receive its next major update numbered 4.3 on May 22nd, and the team has definitely been very good at providing large chunks of new content on a quarterly basis. Dragon Quest X will also get a large update numbered 4.2 this month, even if this is regrettably limited only to Japan.
In our interview with Dragon Quest XI Producer Hokuto Okamoto, he didn’t completely close the door to a western launch of Dragon Quest X if the new single-player game is successful in North America and Europe, but he didn’t exactly provide many reasons to hold our breath either.