Square Enix firmly believes that the only way forward in the video game industry is to create products for long-term user engagement.
“Gone are the days in which single-player games were of primary status and multiplayer games secondary,” president Yousuke Matsuda told shareholders in a recent address. “Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is standard for games to be designed for long-term play.”
The idea is to create a compelling experience that retains players for a longer period of time instead of giving them something to finish quickly and move on. According to the Japanese publisher, this “games as a service” model is perfect to not only increase customer satisfaction but also to generate value for the brand as well.
In that light, Final Fantasy XV is receiving an online multiplayer component through an expansion pack soon. In addition, Square Enix announced a new third-person “survival action shooter” called Left Alive at Tokyo Game Show (TGS 2017) this week. It features an offline mode with an ending that is based on decisions taken throughout by the three different characters, but may add online elements later on.
In short, Square Enix is doubling down on creating products that can generate revenue streams through post-release content packs. However, that does mean that the content must be compelling enough to convince players.
Elsewhere, Square Enix is also looking into the recent surge in streaming. It hopes to carve out a business model for its own games where players can enjoy watching each other play.
“Watching the advanced techniques of professional gamers and the unique broadcasts of game streamers is another way to enjoy games,” Matsuda said. “Watching gaming is growing into a major form of entertainment thanks to considerable advances in the online streaming environment. It is the presence of e-sports spectators that make this meaningful.”