In a note to its shareholders following the publication of its 2017 annual report, Square Enix has expressed an increased interest in multiplayer games, “games as a service” model, and gameplay streaming/esports. The company has said that it’ll invest in all three areas and will design games that encourage long-term user engagement.
Gone are the days in which single-player games were of primary status and multiplayer games secondary. Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is standard for games to be designed for long-term play. The terms “multiplayer” and “Games as a Service” themselves have existed for some time, but they are now being used in reference to game designs that place a strong emphasis on longer-term user engagement. We will also endeavor to develop games designed not to be played once after launch but that customers can enjoy more and play longer. In so doing, we will increase customer satisfaction and enhance the lifetime value of the games themselves.
With reference to esports and gameplay streaming services, Square Enix acknowledged that people don’t necessarily have to play games themselves to enjoy them, and said that games are becoming a form of media.
Watching gaming is growing into a major form of entertainment thanks to considerable advances in the online streaming environment. It is the presence of esports spectators that make this meaningful. Once the size of gaming spectatorship grows, gaming itself will gain value as a form of media. This conversion of gaming into a form of media is proceeding rapidly. We also have a great deal of interest in this field and intend to proactively work to turn it into an actual business.
You can read the full message in Square Enix’s annual report below, which also makes mention of Nier: Automata‘s sales success and potential as a franchise.
[Source: Square Enix]