It’s a time of change in the video game industry. As large companies adapt their business models around streaming services, we’ve seen huge acquisitions in the world of gaming. Microsoft netted big with Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, while Sony trailed behind with Bungie Studios. But the latest set of studios to trade hands come from the pockets of one of Japan’s most iconic publishers, Square Enix. Renowned as the home of JRPG favourite Final Fantasy, Square Enix enjoyed a spell of success, having acquired Eidos and its franchises back in 2009. But the company is now looking to new horizons and as it shifts its focus towards the NFT game market, it has decided to offload the majority of its Western development studios. But what has brought about this change? What will happen to the franchises it sold off? And what does the future look like for the Japanese giant? Read on below to find out!
Some of Gaming’s Biggest Franchises
As one of gaming’s biggest publishers, Square Enix held some of gaming’s most successful franchises in its portfolio. These include the likes of Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain, Thief and gaming icon Tomb Raider. All these games came through the publisher acquiring Eidos and their Crystal Dynamics studio back in 2009. Since then, the world of gaming has shifted a lot and Square Enix seemed quite disappointed with the results that these acquisitions brought in. Legacy of Kain remained dead in the water, Thief’s reboot failed to gain ground, while Deus Ex enjoyed a couple of lukewarm releases. The crown jewel, Tomb Raider was the only IP to perform well, though the studio clearly did not deem the results good enough anyway. In fact, Square Enix has now sold off Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal to Embracer Group for $300 million. The franchises will hopefully find new life with the Swedish company, though Square Enix will still hold on to western franchises like Just Cause, Life is Strange and Outriders.
A New Direction for Square Enix
Square Enix has been very vocal about its interest in entering the NFT game market. Though other major publishers have shied away from expressing interest, the Japanese publisher has made its intent very clear in this regard. Square Enix President, Yosuke Matsuda expressed the following, Blockchain games, which have emerged from their infancy and are at this very moment entering a growth phase, are built upon the premise of a token economy and therefore hold the potential to enable self-sustaining game growth,”.
The End of An Era
This change marks a new era for Square Enix and gaming in general. Although many publishers, including juggernauts like Ubisoft have expressed interest in investing in NFT games, none have taken the plunge just yet. Square Enix is the first to do so, though whether or not this risk will pay off remains to be seen.