Square Enix - Business Model

Business Model

See also: Localization of Square Enix video games

The business model of Square Enix is centered on the idea of "polymorphic content", which consists in developing franchises on all potential hardware or media rather than being restricted by a single gaming platform. An early example of this strategy is Enix's Fullmetal Alchemist manga series, which has been adapted into two anime TV series, two movies, and several novels and video games. Other polymorphic projects include Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Code Age, World of Mana, Ivalice Alliance and Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy. According to Yoichi Wada, "it's very difficult to hit the jackpot, as it were. Once we've hit it, we have to get all the juice possible out of it".

The standard game design model of Square Enix is to establish the plot, characters and art of the game first. Battle systems, field maps and cutscenes are created next. A typical game of the company involves a team of at most 200 people. Square Enix doesn't usually use other companies' engines, preferring to code from scratch. According to Taku Murata, Square Enix has settled into this game making model since Square's Final Fantasy VII in 1997 and did not try other approaches since, as Enix did not have any internal development studio. Similar to Sony's Greatest Hits program, Square Enix sometimes re-releases games under the Ultimate Hits label, a designation given to games that have achieved a certain level of sales, at a reduced retail price.

In 2004, Square Enix began to work on a "common 3D format" which would allow the entire company to develop titles without being restricted to a specific platform: this led to the creation of a game engine, named Crystal Tools, which is compatible with the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, Windows-based PCs and to some extent the Wii. Nevertheless, Square Enix has also begun considering other companies' engines and programming languages, licencing Epic Games' Unreal engine in 2007 for use in The Last Remnant, and using the Squirrel language for the WiiWare title Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.

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