Square Enix now making their handheld games as multiplatform handheld/mobile games

#1
Especially with RPGs and other turn based games, "among others": http://www.hd.square-enix.com/eng/pdf/ar_2016en.pdf

To note, this is for premium mobile games. They're still making f2p mobile games, but that's a separate business initiative.
Square Enix said:
1) Enhancing our offering of premium apps for smart devices

Currently, the global market for smart device games is dominated by F2P (free to play) games, and the
market for premium games that players pay to purchase is practically nonexistent. However, our Group
has for some time been offering premium games for smart devices, including brand new titles. When
viewed across the Group, these offerings represent a considerable volume of earnings.

F2P games have achieved remarkable growth thanks to their massive download numbers and
significant active user bases that generate fee revenues. Many companies entered the market
because of the perception that F2P games cost less to develop than traditional console games while
also offering the potential for significant earnings. As a result, the market as a whole saw major growth,
but competition reached excessive levels. Meanwhile, marked advancements were made in smart
device performance, and consumers of F2P games grew more demanding. As such, the market
ceased to provide major returns for low-budget development.

However, the picture for premium games is different. Initial development costs for both F2P and
premium games are roughly the same as or even higher than those for new games for dedicated
handheld game machines.
In other words, the level of investment required cannot be considered low
risk. The risk involved in F2P games is even higher than for premium games because of the need to
spend on ongoing operational and additional development efforts.

F2P games generate massive download numbers because basic play is free. They thereby
establish significant active user bases and present major earnings potential. Premium games, meanwhile,
offer the advantage of generating purchases over a long period of time after their initial development
costs have been fully depreciated.

Premium games naturally need to be modified to keep pace with frequent OS updates and require
ongoing marketing spending to generate user awareness. However, smart devices still provide a
better platform for playing greatly loved games for many years than dedicated game consoles do
because of the latter’s issues with backward compatibility.

Continuing the comparison with dedicated handheld game machines, we note that significant
advances have been made in both the specs and operability of smart devices and that this evolution
is likely to continue unabated. Moreover, smart devices have a much greater installed base globally
than dedicated handheld game machines. The smartphone-native generation already sees smart
devices as all-in-one game consoles.

For these reasons, it makes sense for game manufacturers such as ourselves to supply
games that we have traditionally developed for dedicated handheld game machines not only for
such consoles but also for multipurpose smart devices.

We believe that the operability of smart devices makes them a good match for turn- and
simulation-based RPGs, among other games. We see turn-based RPGs as a style or format of
game and do not believe them to be outdated at all. The development of such RPGs is something
that our Group has exceled at for some time.

By releasing new RPGs not only for dedicated handheld game machines but also for smart
devices, we hope to develop the premium game market into a pillar of our business on a par with
the F2P market. In so doing, we believe that we can enrich the portable game market in the
broader sense in order to respond to a variety of customer needs.
 
Mar 13, 2013
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#2
Whilst this move seems inevitable I'm not sure premium experiences are ever going to be as important as F2P on mobile. It will also be very interesting how they price them on both/either platform.
 
#7
I'm picturing gross "Free to Play" microtransactioned to hell games on the 3DS.

...gross.
This is for their premium mobile game initiative, where they're going to start putting their handhelds games out as premium mobile games as well assuming they can get a workable control scheme.

They're still making mobile f2p games, but they didn't announce plans to start porting those to handhelds en masse.
 

Man God

Non-Canon Member
Nov 2, 2007
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#12
They've arguably been doing this for years by porting over whatever DS/PSP/3DS/Vita games they made. Now its more concurrent development and the future will be more mobile first/handheld seconds.

The real question is if there is actually a market for premium priced games on mobile. Almost all previous attempts have failed miserably besides a very few ports with gigantic pedigree like GTA.
 

jooey

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Jun 10, 2004
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#13
Premium games naturally need to be modified to keep pace with frequent OS updates and require
ongoing marketing spending to generate user awareness. However, smart devices still provide a
better platform for playing greatly loved games for many years than dedicated game consoles do
because of the latter’s issues with backward compatibility.
Are we supposed to believe they're going to keep games compatible with new smartphone OSes indefinitely?
 
Jan 25, 2012
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#15
I don't see how this would work unless SE is just going to develop mobile games and port them.

Whilst this move seems inevitable I'm not sure premium experiences are ever going to be as important as F2P on mobile. It will also be very interesting how they price them on both/either platform.
SE doesn't have a problem charging high prices on mobile games lol.
 
Mar 29, 2009
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#17
So future handheld titles will be made with touchscreen controls compatibility in mind?

No need for a dedicated portable for their games I guess.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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#18
Great, a new generation of poorly programmed, poorly optimised Unity cross platform games on iOS/Android/NX/PS Vita.

However, smart devices still provide a better platform for playing greatly loved games for many years than dedicated game consoles do because of the latter’s issues with backward compatibility.
A bit hypocritical, this? Square Enix seems happy enough to drop support for titles when they stop earning them revenue.
 
Jul 16, 2014
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#20
Considering that Nintendo maybe moving away from "traditional" handhelds entirely, this seems somewhat expected. It feels like we're moving to a console/mobile space rather than a console/handheld/mobile one.
 
Jun 27, 2011
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#21
Wonder what this means for NX, since it's both handheld and a home console. after NX launches, handhelds in traditional sense will disappear, all we have will be NX, a portable console with power supposed to be close to console level.
 

Pancake Mix

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#30
Nintendo won't be publishing any SE handheld titles in the West next gen, no doubt.

SE will have to pick up the slack themselves, as that nice arrangement will obviously be ending.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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#32
I'm guessing this is good for NX, assuming it's what we've heard it to be (mobile architecture and all).
I think it's a bad thing. Vita was powerful enough to run Unity, and it gave Square Enix an excuse to be lazy and just port over the exact same game from mobile to Vita. It resulted in a poorly optimised experience, Chaos Rings had a poor framerate, Final Fantasy Adventure had no effort put into it to redesign its (actually great) touch UI to suit a button-first interface.

NX, being more than powerful enough to run these games, will probably receive the same lazy porting treatment. And the games will be built to suit the lowest common denominator, which is probably going to be low end Android devices. Smartphones in particular lack ample storage space, too.

3DS, with its bespoke hardware, forced Square Enix to make games from the ground up for it. Dragon Quest VIII, for example, has nothing in common with the terrible Unity port for iOS/Android, instead they hired Cygames to reimagine the game for 3DS with a new visual design and improvements which make good sense for the platform.
 
Mar 13, 2013
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#33
Nintendo won't be publishing SE handheld titles in the West next gen, no doubt.

SE will have to pick up the slack themselves.
Well I mean Nintendo is putting on stuff on mobile so I'm not really sure this will stop it. DQVII is a mobile game as well and Nintendo could easily get timed exclusivity in exchange for offering support.

EDIT: Actually it might be important to note that he doesn't say they should release simultaneously. We're presumably going to see Setsuna and World of FF on mobile in the next year.(SaGa probably too).
 

RedSwirl

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Mar 29, 2009
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#34
If this is what it looks like to me, I've been waiting for this for a while. Someone should at least attempt to sell a brand new $30 game on iOS and Android just to see if publishers can get away with it. We've basically only seen it with re-releases of years-old games. A good way to attempt this would be with a multiplatform launch alongside 3DS/Vita -- just make a mobile version that's the same price and see how the sales work out.

I don't expect any games like this to be the top grossing things on the store, but it would be nice if they at least made survivable profits, or were as profitable as they are on traditional handhelds.

And I think Square Enix's RPGs are perfect for the job, even a sort of experiment. A new FF spinoff or a game of the same quality as Bravely Default would be a perfectly fine experience on a phone.
 

Man God

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Nov 2, 2007
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#40
Well I mean Nintendo is putting on stuff on mobile so I'm not really sure this will stop it. DQVII is a mobile game as well and Nintendo could easily get timed exclusivity in exchange for offering support.
Nintendo has been publishing Square games in the west, usually at the end of the generation, since the GBA. They help pay for it to come out, i.e. the localization costs, and those localizations are almost always used as the basis of other ports. Plenty of PSP/Mobile/Steam versions sold in the west came about in this way.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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#41
If this is what it looks like to me, I've been waiting for this for a while. Someone should at least attempt to sell a brand new $30 game on iOS and Android just to see if publishers can get away with it. We've basically only seen it with re-releases of years-old games. A good way to attempt this would be with a multiplatform launch alongside 3DS/Vita -- just make a mobile version that's the same price and see how the sales work out.

I don't expect any games like this to be the top grossing things on the store, but it would be nice if they at least made survivable profits, or were as profitable as they are on traditional handhelds.

And I think Square Enix's RPGs are perfect for the job, even a sort of experiment. A new FF spinoff or a game of the same quality as Bravely Default would be a perfectly fine experience on a phone.
They've already been doing it with Adventures of Mana and Romancing SaGa 2's remake, and I'm guessing it's been working for them. I wouldn't be surprised if the followup to I Am Setsuna was released on iOS and Android as well, since the original game was built using Unity and a touch-driven interface could work for the series like it did Dragon Quest and Adventures of Mana.
 

Pancake Mix

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#42
Well I mean Nintendo is putting on stuff on mobile so I'm not really sure this will stop it. DQVII is a mobile game as well and Nintendo could easily get timed exclusivity in exchange for offering support.
DQVII isn't coming to mobile in the West for a good long time, as you went on to say there, while VIII is also an enhanced port whose extra features might always be exclusive. Both Bravely titles were full exclusives.

Is SE going to accept that in the West for all their mobile/handheld titles coming up after saying this is their future for non-console titles? I really doubt it. During the early DS era, SE self-published pretty much everything. It's not out of the question if they want simultaneous mobile releases, because those make zero sense for Nintendo.

Does that mean DQ VII mobile is coming soon?
Absolutely not.

It was free on Android like 2 weeks ago
No, that was VIII.
 
Jan 9, 2012
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#44
I'm very excited for the NX, but I'm glad they are going this route. As long as they keep the games updated to work on new hardware and OS versions... Square has not been the best at doing this so far. Some games have not been updated in years.

Yes, smartdevice games offer greater potential for sales over the long term... but in exchange, they need to keep them updated to work. This is the trade-off, and they need to invest in that properly.
 
Jun 29, 2009
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#45
Premium games naturally need to be modified to keep pace with frequent OS updates and require
ongoing marketing spending to generate user awareness. However, smart devices still provide a
better platform for playing greatly loved games for many years than dedicated game consoles do
because of the latter’s issues with backward compatibility.
Surprised to see this stance after TWEWY iOS.

Do they really intend to keep those premium games up-to-date and playable a decade from now? Or just those classics whose vocal fanbase will call them out when they eventually become unplayable?
 
Mar 13, 2013
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#46
DQVII isn't coming to mobile in the West for a good long time, as you went on to say there, while VIII is also an enhanced port whose extra features might always be exclusive. Both Bravely titles were full exclusives.

Is SE going to accept that in the West for all their mobile/handheld titles coming up after saying this is their future for non-console titles? I really doubt it. During the early DS era, SE self-published pretty much everything. It's not out of the question if they want simultaneous mobile releases, because those make zero sense for Nintendo.
Right but Matsuda's statement doesn't necessarily say they should be released simultaneously. The strategy seems more based on maintaing a long tail so releasing later on mobile probably isn't an issue for them.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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#48
I'm surprised this is being seen as a good thing.

What would you rather have? A game that's sloppily made to uncomfortably fit on to five formats (iOS, Android, PC/Steam, NX, Vita) or a tightly designed game for one that takes into account its unique strengths, interface and capabilities?

Think back to last gen: Square Enix rarely made multiplatform DS/PSP games, instead they made games which suited the strengths of the bespoke hardware at play. TWEWY wouldn't have worked on PSP, Final Fantasy Type-0 wouldn't have worked on DS, Space Invaders Extreme 2 wouldn't have worked on PSP, and so on...

There was so much to appreciate about every aspect of those games, from the touch- or button-driven interfaces, to the quality programming, to the visual design that was made to suit a fixed resolution and screen size. That'll all be gone.