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Square Enix to prioritize focus on creating games for "global market" appeal

Japan's aging population is driving Square Enix to prioritize games that appeal to a more global market.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 31, 2022

2 Min Read
Promo image of Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII Remake.

In the pages of Square Enix's annual report for 2022 that released last week, president Yosuke Matsuda stressed the importance of releasing games that hit with global audiences. Competing primarily in the Japanese market has become a struggle, he said, due to the country's "graying demographics."

That "greying demographics" he's referring to would be Japan's elderly population. In September, The Japan Times reported that Japan currently has with the highest population of older people in the world. People age 75 and up account for 15 percent of the country's population at 19.37 million people. Adults aged 65 and up reportedly comprise 36.27 million people, or 29.1 percent.

Going further, he said that the courting Japanese market was "no longer sufficient" if the publisher wishes to turn a profit for any of its titles.

"It is critical for our business that we produce hit titles that speak to the global market, which offers greater scale in terms of both customers and sales volumes," wrote Matsuda. "We need to concentrate our limited resources on the development of strong and robust titles."

Matsuda's plan to make this happen involves a revamping of Square Enix's title and studio portfolios. He continued by saying the publisher will "quickly establish an organizational structure that enables us to consistently roll out high-quality content produced through selective and focused resource allocation."

That revamp, continued Matsuda, was one of the reasons that Square sold off Western developers Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal, and Crystal Dynamics earlier this year. The three studios were sold to Embracer for $300 million to "achieve further growth through the optimal allocation of our resources and the creation of a more robust product pipeline." 

In addition to plenty more Final Fantasy titles, part of Square's product pipeline will be products built on the blockchain and NFTs. As reported last week, Matsuda said the developer would be "aggressive" in making the technology part of its revenue stream.

"At present, we are positioning the blockchain domain as our most important focus. [...] Rather than limiting ourselves solely to blockchain games, we  intend to pursue a wide range of new types of entertainment under the banner of “blockchain entertainment.”

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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