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Square Fails To Circle Around Profitable Rectangles

It’s pretty weird to hear the news that Square Enix made a loss in the last half year. £42m in fact. You don’t have to have consulted for them to recognise they’ve got a bunch of strong titles on their lists. But then when you think about 2012, it’s a year when not too many of them appeared. Human Revolution was last year, Hitman’s still to come, and Tomb Raider disappears ever further into the future. Sleeping Dogs put in a good showing, but wasn’t a massive blockbuster, and a bunch of Final Fantasy re-releases presumably drew in crowds, but seemingly not ones big enough. Although quite how Mensa Academy (Square keep promising me our review copy is on its way, but it never seems to show up!) didn’t keep them afloat I have no idea.

However, even though it hasn’t been a strong year in terms of Western releases, they’re still a publisher that handles many of the big name releases in Japan. And they still forecast sales of £475m. That’s loads! What are they spending it all on?

Square reports that “sales of console games as a whole fell short of the target for the six-month period”, but described sales of Dragon Quest Monsters and Terry No Wonderland 3D as “favourable”. Well, with a name like Terry No Wonderland 3D, how could it not? They also report that PC sold well for them, but development costs meant “stagnating profitability”. Arcades in Japan didn’t do well for them either, and they’re now banking on MMOs to “establish its profit base”, we assume mostly in Japan. You can root through their figures here and here.

If they get can Tomb Raider out in March 2013 as planned, hopefully the next six months will look up for them. And, I don’t know, perhaps spend less on idiotic advertising.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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