East and West can succeed at globalization with collaboration, says Wada

By Stephany Nunneley
7 July 2010 21:09 GMT


Square Enix president Yoichi Wada feels that neither Japanese nor Western publishers have “succeeded at globalization”, due to parent companies having to much control over development studios.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Wada said that globalization can only be obtained by becoming “network-centric” and promoting collaboration between a firm’s worldwide studios.

“As a company, we are pursuing globalization and a transformation to become network-centric,” he said. “To do that, we are working on collaborative projects between Eidos and our Tokyo studio. We think this will be very interesting.

“The Tokyo studio created the trailer for Deux Ex: Human Revolution. Eidos is making the game in Montreal. This type of collaboration enhances a dialogue among our studios and that will lead to something new.

“That is a challenge of globalization, which is a different problem from revenue models. We have to appeal to customers with different preferences. Sega did not succeed. Konami did not succeed. Namco Bandai did not succeed. Western publishers have not succeeded in selling in Japan. Nobody has succeeded at globalization. But it hasn’t succeeded because it was always based on Japanese direction. It was Japanese people who commissioned the Western developers to make games”.

Wada said the way to make it work, is not by trying to do “everything the Japanese way”, but instead to take a more cultural approach to collaboration, which he has emphasized in the past.

“We acquired Eidos. By doing this, we have incorporated them in our group. They have become part of our family. It was not like we acquired slaves,” he said.

“In fact, the former CEO of Eidos is the European head of Square Enix. Eidos as a studio is treated as completely equal as the studio in Japan. What I wanted to do is create an environment where completely different ethnic groups can coexist in the same company. That is why we have made Eidos into a fully owned subsidiary. It is important that what’s in America should be handled by Americans. The same goes in Europe and in Japan. These people who are deeply rooted in their own cultures can engage in their own dialogues.

“The mistakes I have seen so far are when Japanese people try to do everything the Japanese way, using Japanese workers in different areas of the world.

“Today, 30 percent to 40 percent of our employees are non-Japanese. And when I limit that to game software only, then 50 percent are Japanese. I get to talk to people from different cultures and I get business ideas from all of them. It’s very interesting”.

Eidos officially became part of Square Enix in April 2009, after stockholder approval in March 2009, followed by the reorganization of Square’s European operations.

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