New Square Enix Annual Report Shows Company Shifting Focus to Multiplayer Over Single Player

The latest annual report from Square Enix has revealed the massive Japanese company is apparently shifting their overall focus in game development from single player RPGs to multiplayer experiences.

Square Enix has traditionally been known for large scale RPGs and other types of games, all of which have mostly been focused on a single player-driven story. Now, they’re apparently changing gears:

“Gone are the days in which single-player games were of primary status and multiplayer games secondary,” reads the new report.

“Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is standard for games to be designed for long-term play. The terms ‘multiplayer’ and ‘Games as a Service’ themselves have existed for some time, but they are now being used in reference to game designs that place a strong emphasis on longer-term user engagement. We will also endeavor to develop games designed not to be played once after launch but that customers can enjoy more and play longer. In so doing, we will increase customer satisfaction and enhance the lifetime value of the games themselves.”

This actually reflects their change in development for Final Fantasy XV, which during its decade-plus of development went from a more orthodox Japanese RPG to a monolithic, trans-media property that is also getting a large multiplayer expansion next month, a full-fledged PC port, and possibly a Nintendo Switch port.

Square Enix is seemingly adding more and more content to Final Fantasy XV, and not just via traditional single-player expansions (despite the core game being single player), some are even timed events made available through exclusive and seasonal events – like the Assassin’s Festival content.

Final Fantasy XV is currently available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In case you missed it, you should check out our written and video review for the game here.

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • oh lordy

  • Verus

    can’t wait for the enhanced edition™ on PS5

  • Sergio Nacher Fernández

    I don’t like the sound of that.

  • catazxy

    No surprise there, every big company is getting with the trends, but since they don’t really have fps games we’ll probably see some more 3rd person action stuff….

  • Loli the (42) Hedgehog

    that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how they go about it.

    As long as they don’t go the Overwatch route of Ignoring Story and Single Player or the EA route with dickish microtransactions I don’t have a problem with it.

  • RIP Square Enix.

  • Thoon Thoon

    A rich ass company that was known for putting out games focused on story have decided to ditch what got them so far and make games that try the same but there’s someone next to you shouting ‘hurry up faggot’, stop the presses, whats next, scientists discover rain is wet?

  • Feniks

    Long time play?

    I think they mean long time pay!

    It’s too bad, I don’t enjoy being around people much and other gamers just annoy the shit out of me. I don’t find online gaming relaxing.

  • Travis Touchdown

    Hard to believe that Final Fantasy XIV of all things is their big moneymaker right now.

    Paying a one time fee for DLC is not enough for them. Now they want you to pay a monthly fee for ALL OF THEIR RELEASES.

  • malbhet

    microtransactions and greed that’s why….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7c5f0LfAzk
    AAA companies like EA, WB, Activision, TakeTwo, Blizzard and Square Enix have been investigating ways to get more people addicted to gambling in video games so they get as much money from stupid people who play their games.
    I’m boycotting every last single game by these publishers from now on.

  • malbhet

    You can thank GTA online and their retarded fanboy whales for this crap.

  • Alex Drake

    If you want real story in your games then just go to Falcom

  • NuclearCherries

    It’s understandable, since FFXIV is making them money.

    What I hope they realize is that FFXIV is making them money not because it’s an MMO, but because it’s a good game.
    But this is Square Enix here so that may be asking a little too much…

  • *_brutal3_*

    You can thank GTA online and their retarded fanboy whales for this crap.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    How?

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Square should invest in salt based on the comments here.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    VIDYA IS A PRODUCT NOT A FUCKING SERVICE AND ANY EXEC WHO SAYS OTHERWISE DESERVES THE ROPE JUST AS MUCH AS THE CASUALS THAT SUPPORT THIS KIND OF KIKERY
    >FFVI went from a more orthodox Japanese RPG to a monolithic, trans-media property
    everyone just wanted an orthodox JRPG…
    It’s the only thing everyone’s been expecting from Squenix since the beginin of the 7th gen
    Nobody wanted a WRPG. nobody wanted a fuckton of trans media spinoffs
    we all just wanted a JRPG

  • Nanashi

    Ugh, the number one thing that I hate about Final Fantasy XV is the “seasonal” events that have a deadline. It’s single player content – it should be played according to MY schedule, not the game’s schedule. And besides, I’ve been waiting to do a proper first playthrough until they’ve stopped patching in all the extra story and cutscenes and stuff. But I can’t really do that with this timed stuff. Grrr…

  • Madbrainbox

    Shark cards made them hundred of millions $ if I recall the numbers correctly.

  • bdp

    Square is dead

  • ProxyDoug

    Oh, for fuck sake!

  • ProxyDoug

    If they invested on the salt, they wouldn’t had come to this conclusion.

  • Magnifico Ginormous

    Thanks Valve for not only unleashing hats and loot box cancer onto this industry but starting this games as a service bullshit.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    I wasn’t aware Square Enix was involved with GTA V.

  • reckloose

    GabeN: “Piracy is a service problem not a pricing problem.”

    If games are services, you can’t pirate them I guess

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Man, gamers fed this when we bought expansion packs. Remember guys, Diablo II’s expansion came out at the same price as the original game but came with significantly less content in comparison.

    Gamers did it to themselves 20 years ago and people bitch about it in forums now because they wanna complain about how much modern gaming sucks to look cool. Modern gaming has been reaching for your pockets from the jump. Back then wasn’t as bad because shit was better. Back then was great because we were kids and a lot of us had our parents buy our games.

    Valve doesn’t get the blame for this.

  • Madbrainbox

    It isn’t but big companies are now copying Rockstar.I guess that was the point.

  • Neojames82

    I would find it debatable when talking about Lord Of Destruction having less content.

  • Captain Vidya

    But… FF14’s a thing that gets expansions every couple years. And FF11’s STILL a thing, even if it’s not getting anymore expansions. Does FF16 ALSO need to be an MMO?

    Just give me a complete fucking game. That’s all I want. If you want to do a “Final Mix” or “International Version” or whatever a year or so later that adds some things, then fine, but don’t do this timed event shit in a single player game like in FF15.

  • totenglocke

    That’s fine, more money to spend on other games if they want to make online-only trash.

  • Mechonis

    Good thing the last game I want from them is KH3. I’m not buying anything from them again

  • Magnifico Ginormous

    They don’t get the blame for this because you love Santa gave in his bag of sales so you construct merit of the wassail why blame

  • Magnifico Ginormous

    They don’t get the blame for this because you love Santa Gabe and his bag of sales so you construct anti-gamer filled narratives to wash away their absolute role in this.

  • OldPalpy

    It was the obvious point how anyone can miss it is questionable at best.

  • Psyramics

    That’s not what he meant. He meant back in the day it was easier to pirate games than buy them. So Valve made it easier to buy them.

  • lucben999

    So Valve made it easier to buy rent them.

  • Alistair

    This is gonna end in salty tears.

    Not everybody has broadband Square Enix. And with censorship and now this you just piss more people off.

    Congrats for being a tool Square Enix.

    Hmm multiplayer and free to play games is while is at.

    Then how FFBE is still down, that no way to treat games.

  • Dr. Roswell. W

    “Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is standard
    for games to be designed for long-term play. The terms ‘multiplayer’ and
    ‘Games as a Service’ themselves have existed for some time, but they
    are now being used in reference to game designs that place a strong
    emphasis on longer-term user engagement. We will also endeavor to
    develop games designed not to be played once after launch but that
    customers can enjoy more and play longer. In so doing, we will increase
    customer satisfaction and enhance the lifetime value of the games
    themselves.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1a87fbc1eb6aec96b8d47edc3d2f540497ec5668e0e34f51fac4e633c34c484.png

    How about just make a simple fucking game.

  • MusouTensei

    Sad.

  • CrimsonX4

    This sounds pretty bad. Rather than focusing on selling us a complete final product they just want to scam us into buying incomplete games and selling us additional bits of content slowly?

    I really hope Atlus stays strong they can fill out the void SE is going to leave behind.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    How? LoD had 2 classes, an extra Act and some more weapons/items.
    D2 had 4 acts 5 classes and the rest of the base game. For the same price, its not even debatable that LoD had less content/

  • Jack Thompson

    Legend of Heroes’ story is overrated because of the plot’s complexity.

  • Jack Thompson

    You know they’ll take both roads.

  • Marine

    Gotta milk those overproduced assets.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Looks like Crystal Chronicles might end up being revived.

  • Captain Vidya

    I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if they made an online Crystal Chronicles.

  • Alex Drake

    You sir are full of shit. The story spanning several games is fantastic and the intricacies and world building are second to none.

  • FF16 doesn’t need to be an MMO but if it has online multiplayer co-op i won’t complain.

  • Neojames82

    Two new classes that took awhile to master.
    One act, yes I agree, but it is an Act that really kicks your ass and gives you some of the best loot in the game.
    “Some” more weapons/items?! I would say a lot more, not to mention more rune and gem combinations.

    It may seem like there was less, but honestly with LoD it pretty much made already a great game at least ten times better and now since Diablo 2 was a great game to begin with, yeah, we would be willing to pay for more at the same price.

    Sadly, nowadays, a lot of modern games feel like they were unfinished pieces of shit to begin with and then they wanted to milk it out with ten times the DLC.

  • malbhet

    I feel the exact same way about Monster Hunter World and how Capcom is planning to do the same for that game. No one should have to be forced into a time period in order to access time limited content, especially when you don’t have the luxury of free time and days off like most of these whales who spend their parents money as they live with them.
    Majority of gamers have jobs and families that require tending to daily, gaming is supposed to be for down time when everything is taken care of and there’s nothing left to do, but these [email protected] devs and pubs can’t seem to comprehend these basic facts of life in today’s economic state.

  • Astralwyrm

    I didn’t buy XV and i won’t buy any other ‘Multiplayer’ games SE produce. The industry can crash and burn for all i care if this is going to be the new norm.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Still though, the content for the price is my point. LoD if it came out by itself as a solo game would not be worth the price. Age of Empire’s expansion pricing was much more fair. Same with the Sims.

  • Neojames82

    *shrugs* Valid points.

  • Nanashi

    Wait, Monster Hunter World is going to do the same thing? This is the first I’ve heard of it…

  • malbhet

    Hopefully they allow everyone to download those events later to play whenever they want like on MHGEN, but if not then yeah their events have a time limit before disappearing.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Even with all the expected DLC?

  • Nanashi

    Well that’s just bloody lovely. I hadn’t heard anything about these events. Do they unlock exclusive rewards?

  • malbhet

    Most likely yes. The USJ events were limited time events, but were later released to the public in Japan to download. What I’m worried about is Capcom capitalizing on this and either making them time limited only or turning them into paid dlc.
    Since this is Capcom I wouldn’t put it past them to try to screw fans over this way. I love MH but I will never trust Capcom to do right by the consumer without any backlash from the fans driving them to do so, I mean they literally sold customers discs with dlc locked away behind a paywall even though the customers now own the disk.

  • Jack Thompson

    It’s basically a bunch of generic JRPGs each with mountains of generic characters all glued together. Making a more complex object out of average parts just means they can sell more average games. Investment in the story is a big selling point and basically ensures a loyal consumer base.

  • Jack Thompson

    It’s basically a bunch of generic JRPGs each with mountains of generic characters all glued together. Making a more complex object out of average parts just means they can sell more average games. Investment in the story is a big selling point and basically ensures a loyal consumer base.