Square Enix: “Item Charges Will Save Us”


Square Enix profits have plunged and its stock price is at rock bottom – fortunately CEO Yoichi Wada has a plan to reverse this, including a dramatic increase in the company’s reliance on micro-transactions and item charging in its games.

He enthuses about item charges in an address to investors, the same one where he revealed the company would be scrambling to regain lost trust:

“I get the impression that ‘Dragon Quest’ type users and ‘item charge’ type users have quite different feelings [about a business model based on charging for items]. With the likes of Facebook, you can easily introduce friends and things spread quickly, so I feel it’s well suited to item charges, with the game being free.”

He went on to suggest the proportion of revenues accounted for by item charges will be increased from 30% to 40%.

Just whether item charging will make its way into some of Square Enix’s traditional franchises (presumably what is meant by his “Dragon Quest” reference) seems difficult to predict, although even Wada seems cautious if his comments above are any guide.

However, Final Fantasy XIV in particular was designed from the outset to appeal to casual gamers, so a free version with charges for items, skills and other content does not seem entirely outside the realms of possibility.

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    Avatar of Esau
    Comment by Esau
    08:17 08/11/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    "We're doing horribly! Stocks are down, sir!"

    "I have an idea to save us from our situation: Let's cause people to lose more faith in us by using more microtransactions."

    "Sir! As always you intelligently think ahead!"

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:59 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Squeenix is SO ZETTA SLOW when it comes to realizing that FF14 is a lost cause.

    Avatar of fffan1
    Comment by fffan1
    08:06 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.7)

    so they are planing to fuck us again?...

    Avatar of Abel Liegod
    Comment by Abel Liegod
    08:14 08/11/2010 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Oh COME ON SQUARE ENIX, give up already!
    Wat the fuck is wrong with them?!
    I dont even play this game and they are gettin on my nerv...maybe i feel dissapointed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:20 08/11/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    They're trying to cut losses. It took them millions to make the game, just quitting without making some form of profit would mean they're screwing themselves up.

    So if they can screw players out of money asap for as much as possible even if they'll die from it, they'll be able to come out of it with less damage then if they'd just quit outright... In the short run anyways. Long run, their reputation suffers.

    Avatar of Abel Liegod
    Comment by Abel Liegod
    08:39 08/11/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Exactly like Schrobby said.
    How will SE make profit if they dont even have players left? And now they'll lose even more players with those item charges!
    i dont work with games yet but i think its better for them to just leave it alone, cancel the game, or whatever...

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    08:31 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.7)

    So Squeenix is now trying to charge players for items. The problem is - you actually need players to do that.

    Avatar of Ghost Dog
    Comment by Ghost Dog
    09:06 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I've seen how some of these item charge games can get: The players willing to shell out tons of cash will always beat you, so playing at a competitive level is certainly NOT free.

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    08:51 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Seeing Facebook mentioned is never a good thing. Soon we might have something like:

    "Update: megidola just raised a flock of horsebirds in FFXIVille"

    Avatar of Crim
    Comment by Crim
    08:40 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    F2P with Item Shop?

    Sounds about right, most bad MMORPGs are like this

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    08:52 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    looks that way to me so senpuku enix finally realize their demise and are probably going the F2P route? maybe this will be the thing that will save them? (doubt it though)

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    09:12 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    agreed ghost dog that was the very reason why i stopped playing zero online the players who had $$$ to pump into the game were always the ones that remained "on top" whats worse though was how they would "PK" you for little to no reason at all and after a while i decided to call it quits but only because it wasn't even worth spending money on...

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:27 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    SEnix have at least 2 facebook games, maybe they're seeing that its a good money making idea to use item charge to save ff14.
    as far as i know item charge has a bigger profit margin than pay to pay does...

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    22:29 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Square Enix...

    Here's a suggestion from a Hentai Fiend:

    * Make the clothes more varied with much more scantily-clad clothing geared towards females (and/or traps)...

    * If you want to copy-paste, at least put something to freshen up the place like maybe a few new locales/different environment color schematics and texture...

    * Option to turn History off...Permanently~

    * Option/Event that allows female x female character romance (and likewise for the guys~)
    That yields ability increases and/or benefits like better armor and weapon drops/rewards...

    * Everyone loves yuri/yaoi, so ADD IT DAMN YOU~

    * Get rid of the curfew and turn it instead into a "Masochistic Mode" option for certain groups of people...

    Do this...And I guarantee you shall bust your way out of the coffin like Uma Thurman from Kill Bill 2...

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    01:08 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A downvote marathon here as well? Some certain people really have no life...

    Avatar of Crim
    Comment by Crim
    09:49 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Facebook games are retarded but Zynga is one of the biggest money makers at the moment

    as depressing as that sounds

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:58 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At this point, the concept of an online game in general is looking bad right now. With their downhill record, they should be looking back on what they did wrong rather than... this.

    The concept of shelling out for equipment also makes the actual grinding of the game worthless (like Maplestory did) since all the best equipment is bought, not found instead of the other way around. In other words, its a bribe your way to victory game. Screw it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:59 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i pray one day someone would come along and... FIRE THE GUY ALREADY!!!!

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    09:02 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    A facebook game, maybe even FF cell phone games? No way.

    F2P might save it, but free chinese quality is still chinese quality - and what about all the people who actually bought the game?

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    08:45 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Most free MMORPGs are like this. Seems FF XIV is going to join their ranks soon.

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    08:45 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Most free MMORPGs are like this. Seems FF XIV is going to join their ranks soon.

    Avatar of toshironikko
    Comment by toshironikko
    15:55 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    When i heard they had this thing called "Crysta" or whatever used to buy things online I immediatly thought this was going the ways of - "Buy this $10 item and get +2hrs of non-fatigue exp." or "Buy this $20 item and get +30 to all stats." Micro-transactions were planned before the game was actually released so...

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:55 10/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I quit as long the BETA ended, that is TENSAI for you all whom still are on this crap.

    About selling items = SILKROAD COPY!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:53 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How the heck could it have cost them millions? They farmed out all the asset generation to Chinese slave labourers.

    Avatar of TenguSan
    Comment by TenguSan
    12:22 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And just when i thought Square Enix couldn't dig any deeper....

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    09:05 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    And those have probably ripped off other games according to chinese tradition, puzzled the pieces together into something "new" and used almost all funds to create the graphics. It would certainly explain why FF XIV is a shitty game with great graphics.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:48 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What's wrong with them is that they can't give up now. They've nearly emptied their vaults and, if they wish to stay in business, it is required to resort to this kind of measure. Not only that, they also launched an MMO, which, unlike an offline game, cannot be abandoned. Thus, they're stuck with trying to get as much as they can to pick themselves together before they can actually *do* anything.

    Avatar of Ukonkivi
    Comment by Ukonkivi
    09:04 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I can't believe people here who haven't even played this game at all are attacking Square Enix for a move kind to customers like this, instead of being Pay per Month.

    I can't believe you jerks and your negativity are telling people playing a game they have to simply stop a whole game, or even say something nice about a single action of Square no matter what it is.

    They could cure Cancer at this point and the lot of you would say "NOT AGAIN SQUARE JUST QUIT. STOP DOING THINGS. CURL UP INTO A LITTLE BALL AND DIE."

    Avatar of Kwonnie
    Comment by Kwonnie
    12:19 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I don't think you need to play the game if the company is hitting rock bottom in stocks due to said game. With that said, we don't want Square to die. We want them to do something right for a change.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:48 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Yeah, seriously, all this out cry against people prejudging the game is silly. The game is clearly bankrupting the company. The Company themselves have admitted the game isn't worth paying for before their patches that are supposedly going to fix everything that is broke.

    Now we have what seems to be the company stating they don't think the game will make enough off sales and subscriptions to be profitable and are turning to alternative money making measures. measures which would seem to foreshadow them admitting the game isn't worth anyone's money and making it F2P.

    Some of these points might be able to be interpreted differently, but on a whole, something is very obvious even to people haven't played the game: Something is very broke.

    So please, cut all the "Play it or you aren't allowed to have an opinion!" at least until after the company itself has decided the game is worth people's time and money.

    Avatar of Satonaka
    Comment by Satonaka
    18:14 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You know what I want? I want the OLD Squaresoft back... because the 'image' they had before became long and forgotten since the merger...

    Avatar of baeshin
    Comment by baeshin
    14:48 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I agree,most of the people crying and complaining havent even played it and are going off of hear say and exaggerated opinion.

    People need to get their own opinion instead of passing others opinions off as their own and fact.That said ,the game didnt live up to the hype.There are also no other new mmo's that look good on the horizon(yes i know guild wars 2 and star wars is coming and they look weak too. Glad i have a great one to play now.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:03 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    But in order to form opinion of it right now, means buying the shitty game D:

    If someone says the restaurant downtown serves horseshit, I'm not gonna go there and spend money to taste them just so I could form my "own opinion"

    Avatar of Riiku
    Comment by Riiku
    04:35 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    And I SOOOO would buy another single player FF game, provided Yoshitaka Amano or Tetsuya Nomura would still be involved, as Nobuo Uematsu.

    Hell, name me one single Squaresoft's game directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi that failed? And they've basically thrown the guy out (that what happens when you're not allowing the creator to work on his terms)

    Avatar of Vitamin
    Comment by Vitamin
    09:09 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "...are attacking Square Enix for a move kind to customers..."

    Oh, nice trolling there, almost got me.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Until you put some statistics in your argument, it is invalid. There is no evidence saying which one is better.

    Avatar of Ukonkivi
    Comment by Ukonkivi
    09:40 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Yeah, I mean, someone being forced to pay per month for a game is clearly nicer than than the Free to Play model that even Guild Wars abides by. Anything else must be a joke or a troll.

    Free to Play is the better model, period.

    Avatar of Bazzyrick
    Comment by Bazzyrick
    08:29 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    They just keep on failing. I hate the idea of mini transactions to buy small things that other games give for free. I dont mind paying for addons and expansions as they usually add quite a lot, I mean paying for daft little things like 1 item. After so many hideous failures from SE regarding this game I really am not suprised to see them doing this as well.

    I dont even want to try that game. Even if it was free, (which I think for 2 months it would be). Their reputation is not likely to ever recover.

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    08:33 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Only using the server is free, you still have to actually buy the game, though.

    Well, for now. If the price keeps dropping they can as well give it away for free. They might even get some players that way.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    09:29 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    if you want to see micro transactions done kind of right,look at everquest.

    you cant buy items, at least real items, you can only really buy looks (make items look different) and special buffs, and the buffs aren't combat orientated.

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    09:15 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    personally i think that would be a wiser decision on enix's part

    now if only they that from the start....

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    16:53 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is the end of Square Enix as we know it.

    RIP Square Enix.

    And welcome to our new JRPG saviors, Level 5 and Atlus.

    Avatar of Satonaka
    Comment by Satonaka
    18:19 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "And welcome to our new JRPG saviors, Level 5 and Atlus."

    In a way, i really hope companies like this don't become popular...

    actually scratch that... what i meant to say was... become "as known" as Squaresoft was back in the day.

    Right now they enjoy a small hardcore audience that for the most part... is keeping their companies in the business. My favorite series form Atlus being the Persona line up, is one I really enjoy, but also fear for, should it acquire a huge fanbase.

    Because once it get's too big, it'll peak like Squaresoft did, and then star to slowly crumble down like SquareEnix is doing now :(

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    16:27 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least with Persona series, the great thing is that the developers are sticking with their producers, developers, musicians. So they are in a strong group right now. No directors/devs leaving, no Uematsu leaving, no absence of someone crucial like Hironobu Sakaguchi.

    Also, the way Persona is always about the hip urban youngsters with murder/supernatural mystery is a pretty solid base.

    As long as they stick to those two basic fundamentals for Persona, they're in the right hands.

    Avatar of Ray
    Comment by Ray
    14:14 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is Yoichi Wada were talking about. He's the same guy/reason we had to wait so long for FFXIII, and why it went to the 360, while Nomura stood back, and facepalmed.

    He's also the reason where FFXIII VS. rumors began. :|

    Avatar of Ray
    Comment by Ray
    14:16 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If Nomura had the chance he'd punch him.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:40 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They can only fuck you if you let them.

    Avatar of Takumi
    Comment by Takumi
    01:54 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh my god...they going to ruin dragon quest too...wtf is wrong with SE?Dont they do marketing researchs,public feedback and stuff or they have a bunch of people that make extremely ridiculous ideas with their asses as source?!It looks like SE will have to pull a new "final fantasy" to get out of another bankrupcy...

    This remind me a namco-bandai employee:

    "Hurr durr lets sell the games ´piece by piece,we sure this will be the future of gaming and finances and our salvation""

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    22:22 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Perhaps one of their producers/directors will stand up like last time they were near broke, and make a grand game that will bring them back...

    I doubt it'll happen, but it's a nice daydream scenario.

    Avatar of Vicious
    Comment by Vicious
    08:09 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Their Revolutionary Idea is to Rippoff the Business style of Free to Play Mmo's? An Itemshop? lol

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    08:33 08/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Capitalism, Ho!
    Help poor Recette to pay her debts. ^_^

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:23 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    SE should be proud that I'm even coming to shop here. >xD

    I guess this'll make do. How much for this?

    >>SE charges FFXIV for 1000% of its original value

    Sigh, SE really don't know the value of things. :p

    Walks away.

    Avatar of Rya
    Comment by Rya
    18:01 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Recettear was more fun FF10-14 together. Sad but true.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:32 08/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    True that.

    And to think it's made by an indie producer with minimal budget.

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    01:14 09/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Recettear is really addicting, I still play it.
    The sister games (fufufu) are interesting as well. Take a look at Chantelise. Seems like the same universe. You're a female adventurer, complete with fairy of course, and it's 3D.

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