Square Enix's future in online games

Half of the firm's revenues will come from networked games by 2010, president Yoichi Wada says, also confirming that Final Fantasy XII, Kingdom Hearts II and Dragon Quest VIII will all appear in the West.

Networked multiplayer games will represent half of Square Enix's revenues by 2010 at the latest according to president Yoichi Wada.

Although he says online games "are only in the nascent stage," Wada-san says he firmly believes that "the fun of communications" will be at the forefront of gaming within ten years.

"The structure of the industry is going to start changing this year or next year. We need to build up our strength to take advantage of the situation," he said last week.

"It's only going to grow from here," he added.

Microsoft and Sony's respective online console pushes have started to gather momentum in the past year, with Xbox Live in particular receiving much acclaim and totting up over one million subscriptions worldwide.

Meanwhile, Nintendo is widely tipped to make a serious move into online gaming soon on several fronts despite virtually ignoring it with the GameCube platform.

Sony's online service already owes a lot to Square Enix's efforts with Final Fantasy XI, which enjoyed huge success on PS2 Online in the Far East, while Microsoft's spirited attempts to gain a Japanese foothold with Xbox 2 are likely to make Xbox Live a more serious consideration for Japanese developers in future.

However Wada-san refers not only to online console titles. Square Enix has already enjoyed success with the PC version of Final Fantasy XI, which flew off the shelves in the USA in particular, and the company's targeting of mobile phones and other Internet-enabled electronic devices will also play a part in this growth.

In related news, Wada-san has said the company will have "eight major releases" over the next year, taking the US, European and Japanese markets as separate entities.

Final Fantasy XII, Kingdom Hearts II and Dragon Quest VIII will all appear in the West - in both US and Europe, according to Reuters' exchange with Wada-san - although by the time they do both FFXII and KHII will have launched in Japan. DQVIII was released there last year.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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