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Square Enix's three initiatives to reform its AAA business


With the epiphanic clarity that comes at the bottom of the third strawberry milkshake, Square Enix is reimagining the way it interacts with customers and the very definition of "AAA" games. As part of a recently translated results briefing, originally presented on the day the company announced a $134 million loss for the fiscal year, Senior Exec. Managing Director Yosuke Matsuda detailed three new strategic initiatives for the company's AAA business.

Square Enix plans to construct a portfolio tailored to consumer tastes in respective regions, after finding it "extremely difficult" to sell major titles worldwide. The company will focus on tablets and mobile. And, finally, it will overhaul large-scale, long-term development to increase asset turnover (i.e. get games out the door).

Regarding that final point, Matsuda brings up Kickstarter and Valve's Steam Greenlight/Early Access as models to interact with customers while a game is in development.

"We're no longer in an age where customers are left in the dark until a product is completed," said Matsuda. "We need to shift to a business model where we frequently interact with our customers for our products that are in development and/or prior to being sold, have our customers understand games under development, and finally make sure we develop games that meet their expectations."

Square Enix is in the midst of a major restructuring and executive power realignment, initiated by the very real financial loss previously noted, along with some questionably "weak sales" of AAA titles.

Matsuda concluded the strategy reformation presentation by saying, "I think it is necessary to review the definition of 'AAA Title,' and we need to pursue a new type of blockbuster title, in addition to the conventional-type of blockbuster."

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