Square Enix Is Going Multiplatform; The Layoffs & Its Past Don’t Inspire Confidence

Fingers crossed.

Story Highlights

  • Square Enix decided on multiplatform after missing out on several sales targets for recent titles.
  • As a long-time Final Fantasy fan, I’m excited to play the next game on day one.
  • Square’s history with PC ports leaves me worried about the future.

After a rather disappointing arc, Square Enix seems to have realized the truth. The company announced its intent to “aggressively pursue multiplatform strategies” which of course includes Nintendo, Xbox, and PC platforms. It doesn’t take much to figure out what this means but I’ll spell it out anyway.

The next Final Fantasy game won’t be a timed console exclusive. 

I can already hear the audience giving huge applause while the series’ purists agonize over how it’s no longer turn-based. That said, we need to review what it took for Square to arrive at this decision.

It Took Multiple Sales Failures For Square Enix To Come Back To Its Senses

Well, calling Final Fantasy 16 a failure would be disingenuous. The game initially had momentum and sold millions despite being restricted to PlayStation 5 on top of being a full-blown action game. According to Square Enix, however, that momentum slowed down. 

Square Enix President: “FF16/FF7 Rebirth Fell Short of Expectations”
byu/AudioGoober88 inFFXVI

Regardless, the game seems to be on track to meet its initial 18-month sales target

Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth and Foamstars don’t seem to be faring well though. There’s a solid reason for why this happened too. I’ll talk about the latter first.

In simple words, no one cares about a live-service shooter clone based on Splatoon that offers no real value. Yes, there may still be some players who stuck around but it was never going to be the next Destiny or even something similar to Helldivers 2. This is reflected by the game’s player count plummeting in just two months post-launch.

Square Enix is finally incentivized to go multiplatform.
Square Enix is finally incentivized to go multiplatform. | Source: eXputer

Not to mention the company being allergic to marketing its games.

But Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth failing to sell may come as a surprise to many. In my opinion, the reason it happened is due to how Square Enix is handling the remake trilogy. Furthermore, restricting the game to an ecosystem that not only hasn’t sold as much as its predecessors but also has other titles drawing player interest has severely impacted its sales.

It doesn’t help that the players you want to bring in are part of the new blood. Most of the older purists still adamantly support the turn-based direction for Final Fantasy which pulls them away from newer, action-based titles.

Turnbased doesn’t define Final Fantasy
byu/Ammathorn inFinalFantasy

And then the other main issue—spacing out your game over three separate entries in a period of a decade isn’t a good strategy. 

There are a lot of reasons for it but I won’t be getting into that. Why? It’s dark.

But you know …

As A Final Fantasy Fan, I Couldn’t Be More Excited For Day One PC Releases

To an extent, exclusives can prove beneficial for a brand. That may be true but the industry is at a point where exclusivity does more harm than good. Why? Established brand identities, artificially ballooned costs for developing AAA blockbusters, and a saturated & exhausted market.

Since the launch of the Xbox Series and the PlayStation 5, I’ve been extremely critical of this generation. The initial COVID setbacks followed by a lack of games halfway through the generation along with companies hyper-fixating on visual fidelity and other tech have soured my experience. I’m sure that’s the case for many. Not to mention pointless mid-gen refreshes.

Sony PlayStation 5
I’m honestly tired of console exclusives | Source: Sony

With those things as my foundation, I refused to purchase a PS5 for the exclusives, instead opting to wait for the eventual PC release. As a past fan of Square Enix and still being connected to Final Fantasy, being unable to experience FF16, FF7 Remake, and FF7 Rebirth at launch was fairly disappointing.

Now that Square has changed gears and decided to focus on going multiplatform, I’m elated at the thought of being able to play the next Final Fantasy on day one.

It’s what I felt when Atlus announced SMT V: Vengeance for all platforms. 

But that’s where the positivity comes to a halt and despair takes over. Unlike Atlus, Square going multiplatform doesn’t inspire confidence because … 

Square Enix Is Horrible With Optimization & I’m Tired Of Bad PC Ports

Believe what you will but the list of bad PC ports by Square Enix is quite long. I’m exhausted by how companies disregard consumer interest and release titles despite being aware of their garbage state.

Is there an actual reason as to why the port quality of Square Enix games is so inconsistent?
byu/TheyCallMeRadec inpcgaming

That said, I know people want examples even if the proof is in the pudding so here you go: Final Fantasy 13, Final Fantasy 7: Remake, the remasters of classic FF games, Forspoken, and the list goes on.

It took around 5 years for Square Enix to release Final Fantasy 13 on PC after the original launch. Half a decade and the port still turned out to be utterly horrible. As for FF7: Remake, it had texture issues.

Then we come to Forspoken and I don’t have to speak for you to know how big of an atrocity that game is. Not just from an optimization perspective but as a product as well.

Forspoken was not that big of a leap we were made to believe.
Forspoken on PC was not a good experience. | Source: Luminous Productions

It’s 2024 and corporations love to make more money. It’s time they acquired some wisdom and invested in premium PC ports. Square Enix already announced its intent to focus on quality earlier this year. Combined with a multiplatform strategy, the future is looking bright.

Even so, the resulting layoffs due to the restructuring of its Western offices are saddening. It’s like a never-ending streak of letting people go. Or perhaps this is the result of bad decisions finally rearing its head.

Hope You’ve Learned How To Increase Sales, Square

All in all, this should serve as an example of how exclusivity hurts good games. Disabling titles from achieving growth in favor of “competition” isn’t the direction this industry needs to go in. 

Alongside these changes, I hope Square also realizes the significance of solid marketing in tandem with making quality video games.

Time will tell whether that happens. Fingers crossed.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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