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Sony to acquire 19% of Square

The news from Japan is that the deal is almost done

Squaresoft have been in the news a lot over the last couple of months. First there was bickering over their PlayOnline service, which Sony beached by demanding control of online facilities on the PlayStation 2, and then recently it looked as though the brooding company had found its way to the doors of one of Sony's competitors, with Seiken Densetsu and Chrono Cross sequels starting development. And then just last week, the company admitted that their big-budget sci-fi movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within had broken the bank, and that its ongoing failure at the box office would effect the company's financial results for the worse. All this was rendered meaningless this morning, however, as reports rained in from Japan about the Sony/Square relationship. According to the newswires, Sony is in the final stages of securing a 19% interest in Squaresoft, taking advantage of the company's financial state. The investment of 14.9 billion yen (approximately $124 million) will make Sony the second largest shareholder, second only to Square's founder, and it seems logical that with this will come a change in allegiances. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that for better or worse Square won't be developing RPGs for Nintendo or Microsoft any time soon. Uncertainty still lingers over Square's PlayOnline service, however. Sony are unlikely to quash it now that they have a stake in it, but the chances are if Square runs with it Sony will protect it jealously from rival formats, meaning that partners in crime Enix and Namco who had been planning to develop games for the service may be limited to PlayStation 2 also. Related Feature - First and Final Fantasy