Square Enix shuts down Shinra cloud-game service

Once a promising technological arm of the company and potential middleware provider; now, it's shut down and its assets will be liquidated.

Today Square Enix announced that it's shutting down Shinra Technologies, its cloud-gaming technology subsidiary. The company was established in 2014 to provide technology solutions to allow developers to process their games in the cloud.

The division was headed up by former CEO Yoichi Wada, who spoke to Gamasutra about the tech in 2015. The company released its dev kit in July 2015, and its services went into beta test in the U.S. after that. This is how it was going to work

The company will book a loss of 2 billion yen ($16.9 million) related to the business in its next financial results, for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. Square Enix had invested $15 million in the U.S. division of Shinra, and a further 80 million yen, or $671,716, in its Japanese branch, according to the release.

The company had worked with external studios, such as Republique developer Camouflaj, to test its tech -- which was also nominated for Japanese trade association CEDEC's engineering award for 2015 (it ultimately lost out to Microsoft's Visual Studio.)

The short press release [PDF] on the shutdown of the company gives this justification: "STI, as a cloud platform operator, has been trying to raise funds necessary for further business operations from third party investors. However, STI has found no prospective investors at this point, and therefore has to discontinue its business."

Gamasutra has reached out to Square Enix to seek more details on the shutdown, and will update this story if any are forthcoming.

Update: Gamasutra received this statement from a Square Enix spokesperson: 

Square Enix Group today announced that Shinra Technologies, Inc. has discontinued its business and is currently under a liquidation process.

Shinra Technologies was established with the aim to build a cloud-gaming platform with supercomputer-class capabilities. To retain its neutrality and independence as a platform, Shinra Technologies was formed independently from other content-creating Square Enix entities, and set a goal to raise additional funds for further business operations from third party investors. However, Shinra Technologies has not been able to find prospective investors, and have taken the difficult decision to discontinue its business.

Square Enix Group will keep its confidence in cloud-gaming, and we will continue to develop our business using cloud technologies to deliver the new gaming-experiences to the world.

This is an unfortunate situation and we are offering all the assistance possible to any employees affected by this. We want to thank them for their hard work and sincerely wish them well in the future.

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