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Square Enix kicks off 2024 by pledging to be "aggressive in applying AI"

As part of its President's New Year letter, we can catch a glimpse of the company's future.

In a New Year's letter released to the public, president of Square Enix Takashi Kiryu has pledged that the company will be "aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions".

Kiryu states that this will enhance the productivity of development and "achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts" in the short term. So don't expect any AI games soon, although the long-term intention to do exactly that is also noted.

So what does this actually mean? Well, it's no surprise that Square Enix (like many companies in the gaming industry) is planning to investigate the use of AI as a development tool. The technology is out there and has cemented itself over the past few months as a big new discussion topic across the industry.

For consumers and of course investors in Square Enix - the latter being a key group as far as yearly pledges are concerned - this New Year's letter acts as a indicator of where the company will be headed. Nothing is set in stone - just look at Square Enix's prevusly expressed aspirations to go hard in the NFT and Metaverse spaces - but it lets interested parties know the company isn't slacking on the big new thing.

That's not to say dedicating oneself to the pursuit of AI is going to go over well with everyone. Quite the opposite! AI has been very controversial in the video game industry, both for workers and consumers. The wave of AI generated content has proven unpopular and lacking quality that many gamers desire, resulting in many projects coming under scrutiny. Video game voice actors have even moved for strike action over in the US due in large part to AI, as union representatives at SAG-AFTRA continue negotiations.

Just how hard Square Enix pushes into the AI space is something to keep an eye on in the future, but the company has paid dearly in its pursuit of industry trends. As mentioned before, its attempt to break into the NFT space has born no fruit as that particular trend crumbled last year. In addition its live service push hasn't exactly been going great either, with games like Chocobo GP and Babalon's Fall being hastily shuttered post-launch.

The full letter is worth a read for any and all Square Enix fans out there. It notes a lot of the struggles from COVID in 2023, as well as how the company as a whole is shifting going into the new year. Here's hoping Square Enix can pick up some much-needed positive momentum as 2024 progresses.

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