Square Enix went through some major restructuring in the wake of a disappointing FY2013, and European CEO Phil Rogers says more has changed than a few job titles.
“We are entering a new world – and I don’t just mean gaming here. It’s a connected world, consumers are hyper-aware. When we look at how we take Square Enix forward in this era we have to adopt openness and transparency,” Rogers told MCV.
“I think our games, brands and us as a company must talk openly, must engage and must be true to our promises. Of course many will point out that there’s risk in doing this but if we can do this we’ll capture hearts and minds, earn trust and command loyalty and premium.”
The executive said Square Enix needs to listen and respond to consumers, and is already doing its best to be more communicative. Rogers himself has begin posting on the company blog, and the publisher is more likely to comment on news stories.
“Take last week when a cancelled Hitman story appeared online – if I think back to a year ago we probably wouldn’t have commented on it but we’re changing that. I don’t want people to be confused about what we’re doing,” he said.
IO Interactive’s open letter regarding the new direction for the Hitman universe is another example, as is the direct fan relationship established by Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn boss Naoki Yoshida. The Thief reboot has also been very public over the last year, with developers hosting Q&As and openly discussing significant design changes,
The trigger for Square Enix’s rethink came in early 2013, when its major western titles failed to meet their ambitious sales targets. Then-new president Yosuke Matsuda announced a fundamental review of the company’s business, and senior executive managing director Yosuke Matsuda concluded that long development times, locked away from consumer feedback, are both unprofitable and dishonest. It’s interesting and gratifying to see the results of this change in thinking go into practice.