Calling Final Fantasy XIV popular and successful is a huge understatement at this point. The MMO was named as the reason for Square Enix’s financial success in calendar year 2021. Now that the results for fiscal year 2022 have been released, we can see how important Final Fantasy XIV is to the company’s overall business model. Looking at how it performed from April 2021 to March 2022, it’s easy to see why Square sold its Western studios.
Financial results (via GI.biz) show that net sales rose nearly 10%, totaling ¥354 billion (just over $2.7 billion). That’s good overall, but the increase was due to MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV. Square credits an increase in subscribers and the release of the Endwalker expansion last November as the reasons for the increase.
However, when it comes to other games, the story is different. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Nier Replicant, and Outriders were specifically called out for having “declining net sales compared to the prior fiscal year.” Of those three, only Nier is an in-house product: Guardians of the Galaxy was developed by Eidos Montreal, and Outriders was created by People Can Fly, a Polish studio. That’s not to say the games weren’t still making a profit, but when you compare the “declining net sales” to the huge success of Final Fantasy XIV, you can see why Square would want to trim the fat, so to speak.
Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal and Crystal Dynamics were sold to the Embracer Group in early May. The reason for its sale was not given explicitly, but the numbers allow us to make an educated guess. Square has badmouthed Crystal Dynamics and its Tomb Raider trilogy in the past, so the sale can only be good for all parties involved.
As for Square Enix’s future, the company’s president has doubled down on the blockchain, citing user-generated content as a reason to pursue NFTs. Most gamers would prefer to see a focus on game creation, such as the trademark Tactics Ogre: Reborn that was recently introduced in Japan.