Features / Weekly Musings

Square Enix Now Mainly A Portable Developer

Square Enix Now Mainly A Portable Developer

Written by Darryl — 25 Apr 2009

When looking through a list of Square Enix games that have been released or are in development on their official Japanese website, it was actually quite surprising to see how things have changed so dramatically in one generation. Squaresoft, Enix and then Square Enix were all strong supporters of the Playstation 2 and other home consoles such as the NES and SNES. However, this generation has seen a stark change in Square Enix's process and they've gone completely against their strategy for the previous 20 years.

For the first time, Square Enix has chosen to support hand-held consoles over the home console and they have shown their support mainly by backing the Nintendo DS to extreme proportions. According to Square Enix's Japanese website, Square Enix are majorly involved with 95 titles on nine different platforms. It was actually quite amazing to see that 54 of these (56.8%) were for the Nintendo DS. A further 13.6% of titles were also concerning the Sony Playstation Portable, which brings their total involvement to just over 70% of all Square Enix's activity.

When looking at the above graph, it's clear to see that development for the home consoles (Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) really isn't overly important to Square Enix this time around. Despite the Wii selling like crazy, Square Enix seem reluctant to capitalise on this, despite them doing similarly with the DS. Only 19% of their games are being developed for these three consoles, and some of them are repeated, for example The Last Remnant and Final Fantasy XIII.

It may not necessarily look that bad on its own merits as it makes sense that Square Enix would go essentially where the money is. However, they appear to be one of the only big Japanese publishers actually following that strategy. When looking at Capcom, for example, they aren't throwing all their eggs in one basket.

Capcom is actually most involved with developing games for the three next-generation home consoles, but they also have a higher level of interest in downloadable software, with a lot of activity within the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

E3 might throw up some surprises, and Dragon Quest X is of course coming out for the Wii alongside a new Front Mission game for the Xbox 360. However, it doesn't look like Square Enix will be changing their focus any time soon. Hopefully it isn't to their detriment though.

Darryl was playing Final Fantasy before he was even born - quite a feat! Often very opinionated on the Final Fantasy franchise, you will often find him musing about small details. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.