Large gaming publishers such as Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive have already thrown microtransactions into predominantly single-player experiences. Take-Two even pledged to put a similar system in place for all of its games going forward. But if you’re looking for a more traditional gaming experience free of “service” elements, Square Enix looks like the company for you.
Speaking to MCV, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda said he believes there is a fundamental difference between console games and those on mobile devices. While mobile games typically use a free-to-play model that makes microtransactions less objectionable, that’s not the case when it comes to $60 releases.
“Overall, it really comes down to customer perceptions,” Matsuda continued. “What people expect and want in a home console game is perhaps quite different from what people want in a mobile game, and it’s looked at in a different way. The way that console games are made, the volume of content and how much effort goes into them, there’s something in that which doesn’t fit in the mind with microtransactions.”
Square Enix games aren’t completely free from microtransactions on console. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is available on PlayStation 4 and features optional items purchasable at the “mog station.” This is an exception rather than the rule, and Square Enix likely views the game differently due to its multiplayer status and the fact that it’s also on PC.
In the same interview, Matsuda said that Square Enix has worked to tread a line between sequels and brand-new game experiences, using Nier: Automata as an example. Though the game has the brand recognition associated with the original Nier and director Yoko Taro, it is still largely an independent experience that doesn’t require players to have the earlier games.
“For Final Fantasy it’s a little bit different. They have numbers on them, but they’re essentially all new IPs in their own way. Everything about them is different each time,” Matsuda added.
If Square Enix is still committed to single-player, story-based games, it will be interesting to see if it continues to support “underperforming” series. Previously, Matsuda said the Deus Ex series was being put on hold, but this is likely due to Square Enix’ work on a new Marvel Avengers project rather than the death of the Deus Ex brand. The Tomb Raider series, which last had an installment in 2015, has been whisper quiet ever since, but there will be more news on Lara Croft and her next adventure in early 2018.
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