Square and Enix together

YTD doesn’t take into account Nintendo’s strong Holiday 2001 sales in Japan. Their installed base is approaching 3 million in Japan now. Considering the stranglehold Sony has there, and the imminent release of Zelda next month, they’re doing just fine.

Why point out one GC title in the top ten when one can easily point to no Xbox games cracking the Top 30 there in the last couple months?

–Dave

It’s true that the Cube hasn’t done particularly well in Japan, but Nintendo has a bit of hope. The PS2 had been selling about 60K per week for a long time, with the Cube less than 10K per week. Recently, the PS2 has trended down to about 30K per week, and the Cube is doing about 15K per week.

Not earth shattering, but at least things are going in the right direction for Nintendo in Japan. Mario helped a bit, but didn’t turn it around. Maybe Zelda still has some magic, though…

The Xbox is still looking dead over there, but maybe these giant robot games will help? Dunno. Maybe MS will have to wait for Xbox2 to mount a comeback.

I wonder if the rumored “big announcement” from Nintendo has anything to do with Square-Enix? Probably just a fanboy rumor…

I think the “megaton” announcement is real though I have no clue what it is. There were rumors of Konami working on something major for the Cube, specifically Kojima dropping everything to do whatever it is. Given that Konami is the last of the big Japanese studios that has yet to announce any kind of Nintendo ties with one of their franchises (Capcom did Zelda for Gameboy Color, Sega with F-Zero and namco with Star Fox), there could be something like that in the works.

No one knows what Miyamoto is working on other than the rumors of a brand new entry in the Mario series that is groundbreaking and a complete reworking not unlike the jump from Super Mario World to SM64. His input is evident in all the Nintendo titles, but he’s definitely producing a title himself too.

There’s new rumors floating around about Retro’s next project after Metroid Prime being even bigger and better. No clue what that is though I don’t think it’s a sequel to Prime. Nintendo has done what they always do, play their cards close to their chest for next year’s lineup. It’s very cloudy what will be coming up. Same with the other publishers for that matter. We’re clearly in that quiet period before the Holiday season ends when announcements will start to fly in the new year leading up to E3.

–Dave

Why point out one GC title in the top ten when one can easily point to no Xbox games cracking the Top 30 there in the last couple months?

I’m merely pointing out that the distinction between “crappy” (GC Japan sales) and “really crappy” (Xbox Japan sales) isn’t a meaningful one. No console other than PS2 has shown economic viability in Japan.

As in all things, I guess we’ll wait until the dust clears and see what happens after the Xmas numbers are in.

so, reading it that way, the opposite point is that the Xbox is kicking ass and taking names in the U.S. without exclusive games, right? :P

only article i saw in today’s issue. no idea why it seems written with a Microsoftian slant; guess probably b/c Microsoft is the 800 lbs gorilla in the U.S.

No console other than PS2 has shown economic viability in Japan.

Well, that’s where you’re wrong since the Gamecube is economically viable as long as it keeps selling since Nintendo isn’t losing money on every one they sell. They can keep on supporting it with games that continue to sell up to a million copies or more since they don’t have to eat the cost of the unit like Sony/Microsoft.

I’m sure we’re going to hear about Xbox 2, even if it’s only in whispers, as early as February of next year. That’s going to put an immediate crimp in whatever momentum Microsoft can gain through the Holidays. If they’re on this 2004 plan, we have to know something before E3 at the very latest.

–Dave

FF Tactics 700k
FF Anthology 361k
FF Chronicles 260k
FF 10 - 1.4m
FF 9 - 1.3m
FF 8 - 1.9m
FF 7 - 2.4m

Caveat: there’s a definite downward trend at work here. Each release sells consistently less.

Well FF7 has been around for four or five years and has been budget priced for a long time so it makes sense that its the leader. FF9 was released at a time when people’s attention had already shifted to the upcoming PS2 and received much less attention than the rest. FF 8 is widely considered the worst of the series so its phenomenal sales show how much cache the name “Final Fantasy” holds.

FF 10 in less than a year on the other hand has already outsold FF9 and has only just become a “Greatest Hit.” Once its been out for a few more years it will likely be second only to FF7 in sales.

FFT is now a greatest hit and is selling pretty well. It’s also the best game Square ever created, IMO, and quite possible the best console game I have ever played. Can’t wait for the GBA version.

The Enix/Square combo bothers me a bit though. I liked the competition going on there. I hope this doesn’t mean that the Dragon Warrior/Quest series will go away, since it used to directly compete with FF. I like both series, but I lean toward DW a little bit. OTOH, if the Enix games continue to be made, they could receive a huge boost in production values by being part of Square. That would be nice. Who makes the Breath of Fire series? I would think they would be third on the Japanese RPG market. Is it Capcom? Someone above talked about Namco, and mentioned Xenosaga, but I thought Xenosaga was related to Xenogears, which was a Square game. Am I confused here?

FFX-2. What the hell? Is this going to be like a lame PC rehash where you pay full price for a game that looks and plays fairly similair to it’s predecessor? Shouldn’t the title use decimals and it be Final Fantasy X.V?

Wow am I tired of this series. Where is FFT -2 or -II or -Two? Dammit! The above numbers support how well it sold and it is seen on sooo many ‘Best of’ lists.

I guess Square does what Square wants. The movie failure was not enough. They are putting a lot of eggs in the Online FF XI basket, are they not?

Final Fantasy Tactics 2 is “Final Fantasy Tactics Advance” on the GBA.

Not good enough. I want a full-fledged PS2 title with all the graphical bells and whistles. I would settle for Final Fantasy Tactics I-2.

Yes, OR…you can stop yer whinin and be happy you can enjoy a new FF Tactics game that happens to be portable as well.

Of course I certainly would be happy to see a next generation console SRPG hit market myself. Something that isn’t Ring of Red of course…

Could this mean Final Fantasy on the Xbox?

Ninja please… I think its very unlikely that we will ever see a FF game on the Xbox. I see the Xbox as more of a sports/action title system. RPG’s will most likely stick to the systems that sell well in Japan because RPG’s sell well in Japan.

-magus

Who makes the Breath of Fire series? I would think they would be third on the Japanese RPG market. Is it Capcom? Someone above talked about Namco, and mentioned Xenosaga, but I thought Xenosaga was related to Xenogears, which was a Square game. Am I confused here?

Breath of Fire is from Capcom. I think the first was actually developed by Square for the SNES, but Capcom took over development a while ago. Xenosaga is related to Xenogears, but unofficially so. A bunch of the developers that worked on Xenogears for Squaresoft are now working for Namco as Monolith Soft. The Xenosaga are basically prequels to the Square game. There was an art book published in Japan that outlined like 6 episodes in the history of Xenogears. But Namco and Monolith don’t have the rights to the original IP, so we’re all pretending that Xenogears and Xenosaga are unrelated products. I imagine there must have been some sort of gentlemen’s agreement over the matter so Square wouldn’t sue. It’s a confusing situation so don’t feel bad that you didn’t know.

For my money Xenogears was the best game Square ever produced. FF Tactics is a close 2nd, and I may have liked it better if only the English translation hadn’t been so horribly mangled. This was before the days of Square EA, mind you, which saw a marked improvement in localization quality.

But Square Enix may eventually have to support the Xbox. The U.S., the largest and fastest-growing videogame market, is becoming increasingly important for Japanese game makers at a time when their home market is shrinking. That eventually could pressure the company to back the Xbox, which counts its largest user base in the U.S.

It’s largest user base may be the US, which may be a very important territory, but it is still a distant, distant 2nd to the PS2. The author is implying things which have no basis in reality. As long as there are 17 million PS2s in the US, I doubt Square Enix will sweat the 4 million Xboxes there.

I’m new to the whole Square thing- hated the first american FF game back on the NES, and didn’t see another one until the PS1, when FF7 rocked my world. FF8 sucked, and FF9 was a little better, but it seemed most of it’s appeal was nostalgia for long-time fans. I just didn’t get it.

To my mind, Vagrant Story is the best game they’ve done. It was well-written, had sharp graphics, great combat system, loads of customization, etc. This was the first game that the character design in the books looked anything like the in-game graphics. A sequel to it on just about any console would probably induce me to buy one. I wonder why this hasn’t happened yet- it seemed to get great reviews, and I imagine it sold well…

Vagrant Story didn’t sell well (220,000 copies) so it didn’t even qualify as a Greatest Hit. I doubt we’ll see a sequel. I purchased it based on the great reviews but I haven’t gotten the chance to play it yet.

I haven’t played Vagrant Story yet either, but I hear it is great. I’ll try it one of these days. It’s supposed to look a lot better on the PS2 as well.

I want to thank Brad for clearing up the publishing stuff for me. It seems like a lot of big Japanese companies are merging and/or exchanging IP nowadays. Is that part of the problems the Japanese economy is/was facing? Square is obviously still a powehouse, which is why we always cite their sales figures as the standard, but surely 220k copies would be respectable for most companies, wouldn’t it? I mean you can make a profit on that if you don’t have Square’s huge production costs, couldn’t you?

The reason I ask is because it seems odd to me that Enix would need to merge with Square. Dragon Quest 7 was a huge seller in Japan, though it faired much worse here in the U.S. Other Enix games do well in Japan too, so why this move? Does the U.S. market really affect these Japanese companies at all? I know sales might hurt the U.S. branches, but I don’t see how it affects the main offices. Anyone have a real idea why Enix would need to do this?

I doubt Enix needed to do this. Square was more financially vulnerable than Enix was, and as I read it Enix did the eating. One way to look at it is once the merger is complete they’ll be able to cut out the redundant publishing infrastructure, and cut operating costs without affecting distribution or sales. There should be lots of way to cut cost simply through the consolidation of departments like that. You can save a lot of money and increase the profit margine.

Additionally, Square’s name does go further in North America than Enix’s, so it could help their sales State-side. Software is a high margin business, so the home office is going to see a big chunk come back to them whatever market you’re talking about. And the US is a big one where there’s a lot of money to be made.

One thing I think is interesting is that Enix is working on Dragon Quest VIII for the PS2, but they’re working on it with the assistance of Level 5, the company that does the Dark Cloud games for Sony. I’m kinda stunned that they’d outsource anything for a DQ game. From the screens at the magic box, though, I’m thinking maybe they just really like Level 5’s celshadded graphics.