Friday, 29 March 2013

Square Enix CEO Resigns

I wonder if what they say about these sorts of things coming in threes might be right....

Although this one is nowhere near the level of publicity as John Riccitiello's recent decision to step down, I believe that this news might be just as important. Earlier this week Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada was revealed to be stepping down from the position. While Wada certainly didn't have the same reputation (or notoriety) among gamers as Riccitiello did, it seems to me that a lot of people have been unhappy with Square Enix as of late, stockholders included.

Some have been laying the blame on the poor performance of the company's games, but I myself find it somewhat hard to believe since even controversial titles like Hitman: Absolution which made one hell of a bad impression thanks to some of the trailers, have sold over 1 million copies on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Likewise, their Tomb Raider reboot seems to have been received well by critics and also be selling at a decent clip.

Yet, despite this, the company is posting a loss off its projected numbers. As the article talking about his resignation states: "Today, Square Enix revised its fiscal forecast down by ¥16.5 billion ($175m/£115m) following the poor performance of major console titles in Europe and North America since its last forecast in October 2012."

I can't help but feel that, as in the past, that expectations regarding the sales of these titles might be far too high, all things considered. With the massive amounts of money that have been going into making even one game, it seems to be a problem of dwindling returns more than anything else. A problem which could easily be exacerbated by the upcoming shift into the next generation of consoles.

Now whether or not he's doing so of his own volition is up for debate, as one article that I've read notes that, "Square Enix said it "expects" Wada to leave the position of CEO, which he has held since Square Co. and the Enix Corporation merged in 2003." This leaves some room for contention as to whether or not he's being scapegoated. Such a thing isn't unheard of, but it's ultimately hard to say, and probably doesn't make a difference in the long run either.

It's true that the Final Fantasy series, which has been a mainstay of the company, hasn't exactly been a critical darling lately, with the sequels to Final Fantasy XIII getting poor reviews as far as the series goes. Still, even with that having been said they've sold like gangbusters, so I'm wondering what could be causing a company to go into the red when they really shouldn't be. Perhaps I'm missing something, but it's a very strange situation ... one that doesn't seem to be limited to Square Enix these days either.

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