Square Enix has transformed considerably over the past years. Originally a very Japanese focused company (as SquareSoft), Square Enix has revamped its image to an internationally relevant developer/publisher. Much of the company’s current status has to do with the efforts of Yoichi Wada, the Chairman of Square Enix.
Wada is in India to inaugurate the fifth Nasscom Game Developers Conference in Pune, and iLLGaming gets a chance to interview him exclusively. Our Editors Ansh Patel and Chirantan Raut take up the responsibility.
Video gaming is still pretty much a luxury consumable in a country like India. Having massive potential for growth, there is a lack of Indian-specific IPs, and Wada agrees, “With a market having such a massive potential as India.” He adds “We would definitely love the idea of having an Indian-specific IP in the future.” This goes in line with Square Enix recently setting up an office in Mumbai, India.
For a country obsessed with Bollywood, Wada sees an opportunity. “We realize that Bollywood is big here and we are certainly open to the idea of having tie-ins with movie franchises” says Wada, although he makes its clear that gaming and movies don’t principally go hand-in-hand. “Bollywood movies and games are completely different things and we don’t think they may serve as an adequate long-term strategy” Wada continues.
Indians are generally averse to online transactions, and finding the right solution for it has been a challenge to many multinationals entering the country. But Wada is optimistic that Square Enix can find a solution, “We are aware it is an important issue for this region but it’s also a very difficult one to implement. We are definitely considering devising better strategies to market our games to reach out to the Indian audiences.”
Wada agrees that India’s infrastructure is lacking, but is confident that India will get there. On the subject, he continues “Infrastructure is the major problem here and while it is going to get better eventually, nobody can predict how fast. Unless we can predict the growth curve, we cannot plan investments beforehand and that’s the major negative so far.”
With the takeover of Eidos International, Square Enix has added Tomb Raider and Hitman amongst its portfolio. Asking which franchise is more favoured in India, Wada responds, “We believe that Hitman and Tomb Raider are far more favoured in this country than Final Fantasy is.” Asking the reasoning behind this statement, “We think that is because gamers in this country tend to prefer games where they can interact and influence action rather than play through a refined but a linear experience.” Wada answers.
On the topic of Square Enix setting up shop in India, we ask their motives and plans. “Our plan is to develop a game in partnership with a studio here in the next year”, and Wada assures that SE is confident in taking their plans to completion. He adds, “It’s going to be a difficult task but considering we have established a foothold and setup here, we think we can achieve it.”
Developers and publishers alike look at India as being a massive potential exclusively for the mobile platform, and that is the core of Square Enix’s strategy, as Wada says, “It’s going to be a difficult task but considering we have established a foothold and setup here, we think we can achieve it.”
It is only a matter of time to see whether Square Enix can fully implement their plans in the country and whether they’re successful at it. For now, lets play the waiting game. iLL out.