Premium games our focus on mobile, opportunity in India is massive: Square Enix
Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda insisted that the recipe for Square Enix’s success in the future relies on producing new, unique games and making it available on as many platforms are possible.
Iconic Japanese video game maker Square Enix wants to find an audience with Indian gamers, it wants to do that by being present on all possible platforms. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda and Final Fantasy series brand manager Shinji Hashimoto who visited India early in February said that the company wants to understand and connect with the Indian consumer better.
"Our focus right now in India is the end consumer, we want Indian audiences to experience the best games we have on offer across all platforms; the PC, mobile and home consoles," Matsuda said.
Premium not freemium
The largest of India's gaming audience are on mobile platforms but the cut throat business of mobile gaming can be an extremely challenging landscape. The most popular mobile games are free to play initially and rely on micro-transactions to make money. The so called 'free to play' model is detested by hardcore gamers as game design in often dictated my micro-payments rather than the fun quotient.
Square wants to do things differently, "Our focus is on offering premium games on the mobile. This allows us to offer the best gameplay experience to the consumer without the annoyance of micro transactions."
Square currently offers older games from it's iconic Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series on both iOS and Android at prices that range between ₹300 to ₹1200.
"We will of course continue to offer free to play games when and where it makes sense, like we recently did with Mobius Final Fantasy," Matsuda said.
"We want to see gamers who play our games on mobile eventually try out our big home console and PC games. We also want our console and PC gamers to try out our mobile games." he added.
Breaching the Indian market
"India is a growing market for video games, this is our first time here and we want to learn what gamers in the country want. The opportunity for us here is massive, even if a fraction of the people in India buy our games the country can become one of our largest markets." Matsuda said.
On being asked about Steam offering Square's bouquet of PC titles at lower prices in India, Matsuda expressed surprise, "I was not aware of this, but if that is something that Indian consumers are reacting positively to, then we might consider doing something similar on our store."
Both Hashimoto and Matsuda said they understood that there Japanese content like anime was popular in India, partly because of successful localised dubbing to Indian languages.
"There are 22 official languages in India, localising games, especially Role Playing Games, that have tens of thousands of lines of dialogue will be very challenging and expensive. But we understand that a large population in India consumes media in English as well," Hashimoto said.
On being asked about possibly including elements of Indian mythology into future Final Fantasy titles, Hashimoto replied with a cheeky smile, "We have a large team of creators from all around the world, may be you will see some elements of Indian culture pop-up in Final Fantasy games in the future."
Matsuda insisted that the recipe for Square Enix's success in the future relies on producing new, unique games and making it available on as many platforms are possible. "We are even looking at the Final Fantasy VII remake not as a traditional remake. We are allotting of resources to ensure that when it comes out, it will be as good as any modern blockbuster."