Square Enix CEO Resigns Over Colossal Losses

youichi-wada-resigning_0

Square Enix CEO Youichi Wada has announced he is finally taking responsibility for the company’s disastrous financial performance by resigning, after the firm posted a 13 billion yen loss in its most recent fiscal quarter.

He will be succeeded by 49-year-old Yousuke Matsuda, Square Enix’s chief accountant, who is unsurprisingly promising to turn around the company with a program of drastic reform.

Whether Matsuda – who was presumably not without influence over the company’s direction during his 10 year tenure on its board – is any improvement of course remains to be seen.

His public disclosure of owning a mere 200 shares (presently trading at 1,100 yen each) does not seem a huge vote of confidence in the company’s future.

Wada for his part has not commented on his future employment plans, although a face-saving sinecure seems likely to be all he will manage.

Although no discussion of Square Enix’s failings is complete without mentioning Final Fantasy, continued weak performance from just about all of their latest releases – most recently Tomb Raider and Dragon Quest X – seems finally to have made Wada’s position untenable.

As with the recent “resignation” of EA’s CEO, there is also a strong suspicion that whatever the public facade of voluntary resignation, he has been ignominiously sacked.

Also echoing EA, the CEO in question leaves behind a devastated company in his wake, widely reviled by gamers and having a rock bottom stock price – although given the notorious difficulty of extricating a Japanese CEO from their position, the scale of his incompetence likely dwarfs even that of the great helmsman of “America’s worst company.”

Leave a Comment

170 Comments

  • To: Square-Enix
    From: Your Customers

    Subject: Instant Cash.

    Body: Chrono Break, Final Fantasy Versus XIII (or hell, release it as XV), Parasite Eve 3 (that PSP disaster was NOT a PE game), Final Fantasy VII R, The World Ends With You 2, Kingdom Hearts III (for crying out loud), Final Fantasy Tactics 2 (the Advance games don’t count for this number system), a GOOD “World of Mana” game, Dragon Quest X (outside Nippon-land), Final Fantasy V & VI on 3DS/VITA, reboot of Star Ocean (without all that 4th dimension BS), hiring-on Tri-Ace more often, and GOOD GAMES IN GENERAL.

    Do it.

    • Don’t hold your breath. The people responsible for the bad decisions are the same people who will accept this resignation. It’s typical corporate politics to fire the CEO in order to appease the investors, while the board of directors can just continue business as usual.

      • They put an accountant in charge. Are you seriously going to sit there and say it’s a good thing Monou…? Explain in any way how an accountant has ever truly improved jack shit from being the head of a company ever. Then take the result of answering that question and apply it to videogame companies.

        I would stick with Wada anyday.

        • Matt Ouimet just led the Cedar Fair group of amusement parks into a net increase in profits of 9.5% with a net decrease in attendance over the last year. He also did this while having an increased capital expense of 6.2% and increased working capital from a deficit of $100mil to positive assets of 3 million in 12 months again with increased capital expense and lower attendance figures. He is former CFO for Disney.

        • what they really needed to do is find an inventinve and creative director and put him in charge then they might be able to descern between an interesting title and the pure shit theve been crapping

      • Honestly, Tetsuya Nomura is one of the few talented people left at that company. A lot of the original FF teams have already left because of mistreatment. The only “Fantasy” type franchise that is still making them any money is the KingdomHearts games (they pretty much print money). If they ever release Versus (which will probably be on PS4) That’s an assload of capital right there. Both of those are Nomura’s projects, and they’re really the only things I care about from that company atm.

        • I have to agree here. Kingdom Hearts has yet to be ruined though they tried by putting off 3 for so long.

          At least most of the side stories we got were actually pretty good.

          Versus as well, when it was first announced everyone was more excited by it than FFXIII. They may actually be able to come back a little if they release versus and KH3 fairly soon.

    • I think it has less to do with the games going downhill and more to do with a preferential change their target demographic. The people they’re used to selling to have changed, the types of devices have changed, and people’s preferences have changed.

      If square enix focuses on developing a really good game for Android and iOS they’ll get out of this rut rather quickly.

      • They’re already been doing this since the start of the gen (The world ends with you) as have many companies including EA. Mobile development hasn’t been the answer to any of their woes. Most games don’t break even on Google play or iOS without major backing from a publisher and even then those games don’t break even either, or have small profit margins.

        It isn’t demographic changes so much as its been incompetent management; while they rehash the same franchises over and over again. Not to mention they have archaic pipelines for creating content that keep games in development hell. Couple that with devs like Toriyama trying to “CoD” FF and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

        What Square-enix really needs right now is a complete shake up in management, and more Devs like YoshiP.

        • @09:50
          Actually, I do play those PS1 games still. Even ones that I’ve never played before have been more enjoyable than the newer games. And if you use an Emulator you can improve the graphics quality when you feel like it.

          It’s a lot like the reason why indie games have been increasing in popularity. They’re focused more on doing interesting things with gameplay than spending all their budget on graphics, because they know that’s the only way they can compete, and it’s been working for them.

        • @9:50

          I have played the old FF games MANY times and they are still just as awesome as ever. The recent FF games are still shit in comparison.

          Square Enix fucked up when they stopped making the games they wanted and started to try to cater to western audiences. What they didn’t realize is that the people in the west that liked their games back then liked them because they were jrpgs and DIFFERENT. Catering to the west was and still is the worst thing they can do.

        • multi-platform is not the most important, take for example the Apple, They only make SO to Mac platforms. I think that the most important is the quality of the software, if it is not very good, not will be sold. In the last releases, they were good, but not very good.

        • Then why don’t you sit down with your PS1 and play the old awesome games?
          Because the quality is poor in comparison with modern games. No one wants to play those old ultra repetitive games. You’re probably even afraid of ruining the fond memories of those good old times by playing it again and end up hating it.
          Face it, it’s us who have changed for the worse. We’ve probably become tired of those kind of RPGs or we’ve just become too fucking demanding. Or both…

        • At this point every game has to be built with a multi platform approach in mind from the beggining, efficient coding that will reduce costs of development and porting.
          There’s no other way, they need to release everything on as many systems as possible.

      • I disagree with that notion. As a person who grew up playing virtually all the games that square enix (when they were squaresoft) had made and once being a huge final fantasy fan, I believe that the quality of the franchise took huge hits. Square let franchises like Brave Fencer Musashi and Xenogears go to the way side only to get stuck in long development cycles to water down their final fantasy product. I’m all for being innovative in your product and not stagnating it but the crap that they’ve come out with since ff10 has been inexcusable.

  • So he’s being replaced by…an accountant? Somehow I’m managing to keep my expectations in check. If anything, I just picture them becoming even MORE formulaic and releasing an increasing number of “sequel” titles. That’s generally what seems to happen when you put a numbers guy in charge.

    Honestly, Square is no longer the only big-name in the RPG (or even JRPG) world, and I don’t think they really know how to stand out anymore. Maybe, ironically, they could do so by simply releasing a down-to-earth, traditional JRPG without all the ridiculous combat systems and crazy gimmicks that seem to be all the rage among JRPGs nowadays.

    • I doubt a FF7 remake would be a big hit or even sell in big numbers. It is easy to talk nostalgia on the Internet and how cool something would be like this. But when all is said and done, people’s taste in video games is constantly evolving. The older crowd will talk about how cool it would be, then end up fickle about actually buying it & putting in the time to play. The youngin’s won’t care at all about it. I remember playing Twisted Metal a TON on Playstation. I was stoked when they made a new one for PS3. I bought it. I played it for about an hour total. I regrete buying it. Nothing worong with the game that I could see in the hour I played it. I just realized I am not into it anymore. You can’t go home again.

      • Agreed, If FFVII was to have any chance it would need to keep the original atmosphere and story. Characters need to stay in Anime form. VA’s should be picked from those who voice actual Anime’s

        I could so see Yuffie being voiced by Rie Kugimiya, that alone would attract all of the Japanese audience and any Westerner who knows anything about Anime.

        Full HD towns down to the smallest detail and a Fist person view for the towns so you can really feel involved in the story. That is all. everything is copy and paste.

    • Wada himself was a law grad.

      Stockholders ain’t gonna look for game dev experience in a CEO. All they care about are profits and they’ll vote for someone who can give them that. In that sense, ‘accountant’ is the most sensible choice. You get someone who can manage money well, and he will trim budgets to the min and refrain from new ideas… I mean, risky endeavors.

      No matter. The Square side of SE had been bleeding top talents for some time now while hacks remain trying to prove that they have what it takes. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Toriyama you motherfucker.

    • It’s less about Tomb Raider and more about FFXIV. That game was the most collosal failure for SE since Spirits Within. Version 1 went to stay free to play for more than a year and A Realm Reborn is still not yet released while they spend more time and money to finish it.

      For what it is, Tomb Raider is actually successful. It went to stay at UK top charts for weeks before getting dethroned by Gears of War, and even then it still only fell to second place. HITMAN ABSOLUTION on the other hand…

  • Anonymous says:

    For Tomb Raider I don#t know the reason since it’s pretty good actually..but Dragon Quest X shows why not every fawking RPG series should be made into an MMO. Srsly I hate this Online Shit more and more. Yeah go ahead call me grandaddy, at least I#m a game who’s still willing to pay more than $20 for a game.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like to print westernized junk of what was once a great title. My storylines now suck. I use the same proto-atongnist type characters over and over again. I’m no longer shocking but predictable.

    All I can do is throw pretty-boy type girls and guys out. I drain dumb gamers of their money and ruin a title in the process.

    I am Final Fantasy. The Last title of the 90’s. Behold my stinky lame storyline, battle-lines and over-rendered CGI graphics instead of real-time rendered graphics.

    How far have I fallen.

  • I remember when FF7, FF8, FFX were awesome, After FFX, it got boring and dull… Over half of the other Square Enix were good too. But the recent ones… Meh. I’m holding out for CAPCOM to show me more.

  • It’s about time, I think they should sack loads more people over what they’ve done to Final Fantasy – the criminals who sunk their flagship should all be thrown to the dogs.

    THAT IS ALL

  • Finally this stupid, uncompitent, good for nothing piece of shit got fired.

    Why, for the fuck’s sake, why you don’t see what makes good jRPG game? Why you so inclined to make utter shit?

    You won’t ever make me believe that remaking FFVII with FFXIII graphics would take more of a budget than making FFXIII, FFXIII-2 AND FFXIII-3 for fucks sake. Stupid fucking piece of shits.

    I’m done crying.

  • I’ve got as many problems with this guy as the next person, but surprisingly the immediate problems weren’t due to FF or other JRPG series, but to well made well received games just not selling as well as they should have. Specifically, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider and Hitman Absolution all missed their sales targets despite being great games that seemed popular. In this case it seems less a failure of the making of the games and more a problem of demographics and marketing.

    The new guy they’re putting in doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence, though.

  • Am I the only one who wants a Legend of Dragoon Sequel? It took four years to make the first one, and it was beautifully done. It’s popularity was snuffed by the release of the new Final Fantasy game at the time. It might have been re-released on the PSN but that means nothing to the new generations. Keeping track of how many downloads that gets instead of working on a true sequel and giving the real fans what they want, revamping the first game’s innovative combat and tactical challenges. Making Dragoon form more significant than in game one, and giving more game freedom over all while maintaining the games amazing story telling ability.

  • Lets think… Less focus on Graphics. More Focus on GOOD GAME and GOOD STORY…

    Point: PlayStation I and II never worried about over-achieving the Graphics level in place of the Game’s Story and Gameplay… so why did PlayStation III force SE into retirement?

    You’ve already resurrected FFVI, and FFX. How about going back to another fan favorite FVIII? I know it wasn’t FIRST in America, but it did get FIRST in Japan… which seems to be where you guys are strongest. [In Making JAPANESE GAMES]

  • Once the accountant moves in, you can bet the remaining directors will suck all the company funds dry but doubling/tripling their own paychecks and giving themselves the ‘golden parachutes’, they’ll reduce the shareholders shares to the value of used toilet paper and the company will go belly-up. As has done with EVERY other company I’ve seen in similar situations. Don’t expect this company to be a company much longer, it’s only wishful thinking. Farewell Square.

  • Oh don’t resign :)…..JUST WORK UP THE FUCKING BRAIN POWER TO RELEASE YOUR GOOD SHIT I don’t know hmm maybe OUTSIDE OF JAPAN!!!
    They have made good games they just lacked brain cells and released crap like All the Bravest instead of Bravely Default more FF XIII instead of working out FF Type-0. I can only lol at this point because there are some crazy idiots in charge of getting ppl what they want and don’t get me started on Nomura and his exclusive KH mix titles and region exclusive DLC

  • If you ask me, it serves them right. Remember how Square-Enix forbid creative thoughts for the games years ago? It all comes back to them…
    A perfect karmic punishment in my eyes.
    All what is now needed is a big nail to the coffin.
    With the destruction of Square-Enix, people in Japan will finally remember what Keiji Inafune once said.
    He warned them all.

    Regardless, the ashes of the fools will fertilise the ground for creative creators of a new generation. The decaying era will finally meets its end. How approciate, that it all happens now after the supposed apocalypse of 2012.

    Fufufu… Myahahaha… HAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • They also just blamed North America for their financial troubles. Citing Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Sleeping Dogs as games that really hurt them, despite selling over 8.75 million copies, not counting downloaded copies. The racism and poor business sense on their part is showing.

  • I guess their non-RPGs weren’t enough. Then again, when you screw up that badly, even with Sleeping Dogs and Just Cause 2 doing as well as they have done, then you deserve to be fired.

  • They will face bankruptcy if they keep making a shitty final fantasy games, please Square Enix, Final Fantasy must back to PS1 and SNES era, not “long tunnel linear semi-action adventure game” like XIII and XIII-2, or stupid MMORPG like XI and XIV, there is too many good MMORPG out there, but sadly, Final Fantasy -Online- is the BAD ones.

    • Who, open your ideas.

      There are always expetion, this is one of them, specially changing the games to appeal to the “chaning market” (western changes to be soecific) is whats the issue.

      They have changed thing to appeal to the western changes in the gaming world, which is whats the issue here, westernizing games and ditching the roots.

  • Thank GOD!

    …although, I doubt his his replacement will be any better. Honestly I don’t think there is any saving this company without a complete overhaul of management.

    …and no they shouldn’t remake FF7 as they are now, unless you want another shitty always-online game with day 1 DLC.

    • Sad but true.

      Thankfully, a lot of the folks who made Final Fantasy great ARE still out there and making great games – they just don’t work at Square-Enix anymore.

      I’ll be pretty happy if Squeenix collapses into bankruptcy after nobody wants to buy their PS4-exclusive “Final Fantasy XV” – an action game in a cyberpunk future where you ride a mecha chocobo, that integrates with Facebook and requires you to enter all your personal info to play, and all parts of the game past the opening cutscene are paid DLC.

      Meanwhile, gamers are enjoying playing “Last Story II” on the Wii U, which has absolutely nothing to do with the first one but is still a great game.

      (And maybe Armor Project can go work for Mistwalker or Level-5 after Squeenix’s collapse, and make the sort of games they want, rather than being forced to work on yet another MMO that nobody wants.)

      • I’d prefer a complete restructuring of the company with drastic reductions in both budget and development time. Force some trimming down of those bloated dev teams filled people whose sole purpose is to get everybody lunch. Plus I like Dragon Quest,;-) FF can rot though.

  • Now I’m worried about western companies owned by square..

    All games had their faults but they all had potential.

    However if new owner decides to drop quality and prolong games by grind as all japanese seem to do i can see square going down quite soon.

    (Then again it might be worse they might decide games are too easy and force japanese style controls or that we in the west like easy games and make them even easier then they were..)

  • Maybe release Kingdom Hearts 3 and stop being faggots about it. Once that comes out, THEN your grace will be saved.

    Also, DRAGON QUEST 1-3 PORT TO THE IPAD. I will buy them all instantlyyyyy.

  • I’m kind of worried that they’re replacing him with a mere accountant. If money is the only thing the CEOs care about, then I guess a accountant makes sense. But as gamers, we loved and felt that squaresoft had flourished most when it was run by the team with the computer science, engineering, literature/mythology backgrounds of : Masashi Miyamoto, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Hiromichi Tanaka. A mere accountant will not be enough to satisfy our need for immersive and beautiful worlds littered with allusions to our own through the role play of the development of heroes.

      • Why would you WANT a FF7 remake? They will just butcher it. They will make the characters look retarded somehow, they will add shit that will urinate all over what made the original great and probably do a bunch of other stuff that will water it down and otherwise ruin it. No thanks. If I want my FF7 fix I will play the original, thank you very much. S.E. needs to just stop with FF altogether. They have wrecked it beyond recognition. They need to stop beating this dead horse. FF7 was the last good one and everything since has been a steady, down-hill slide away from what made the old ones good.

        Goofy combat systems, silly looking characters, strange, busy-work leveling systems, nonsensical plots, lazy world design and the worst of all…sequels! Final Fantasy games should NOT have sequels!

        I used to want them to make a true sequel to Crono Trigger but now I dread it. They will just hike their kimonos on it and cover it in piss like everything else they’ve done these days. And no, Chrono Cross was not a faithful sequel. (no, really…it wasn’t. it was also a urine soaked mess)

        Take off the blinders Square fanboys. Square is DEAD and gone. We now have SquareENIX and they don’t make final fantasy games. They make mediocre JPRGs under the Final Fantasy name.

        • Why I want a FF7? Easy, so I can play a same game in high definition, PS3 graphic..

          I know they can butcher the game, but if the FF7 HD remake is that bad I can always jump back to play the old one anytime.

          Asking Square Enix to remake a FF7 HD is risky,it is either we get a great FF7 HD or a bad FF7 HD that lose its root..

          Still, I am willing to take the risk, seeing SE doing alright with their recent remake(FFX/FFX2 HD PS3/Vita trailer look great), and there are still chances the game end up fantastic.

          SE is expert in gorgeous graphic, so I am not too worried about FF7 remake, as the main challenging part is to rebuild the engine, character model and environment. The dialog, plot, old school turn based combat, characterize is already top notch in old FF7.

          If SE decide to only rebuild the graphic and keep the other things the way they are(and I think they should), FF7 HD remake have a potential to be a great game.

    • they did not learn the quote “customer always right”..

      When they decide to go the way that dismay customer, not fulfilling customer request, and the deal is gone. We customer are paying no more, no money flow inside for SE, which lead to them losing 13 billion yen..

      Not shocking at all.

    • inflation, exchange rates, global market collapsing, bad economy, recession… Most electronic companies like Sony and Panasonic are on the same boat. Particularly global companies because of exchange rates. They make profit on some part of the world while they sell at a loss on others.

      None of this is their fault though, this is just a global change that is occurring due to its global nature. These companies like Sony were so heavily dependant on certain markets like America that when the recession started due to Bin Laden’s attack and the raise of price of the petroleum they were one of the very first companies to take the hit because of the bad economy in the US. And in this case Square is a company making big budget games and after FF13, which sold pretty well, all their other games (including FF13-2) have been flops and if it weren’t for Eidos games like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex HR selling well in the west the company would be 6 feet under right now.

  • Squaresoft has honestly been making shit games since ps2, their last decent rpg was ff9, all the good stuff from the square-enix merger has been coming out of the enix side. Square focuses way to much on graphics and not enough on the rest of the game, that is why they have been failing. Where-as enix focuses more on the more important gameplay aspect. I personally don’t think much of jrpg storylines since its pretty much the exact same story in every single one just worded diffrently. Story wise the average visual novel easlly trumps any jrpg.

  • FF7 FF7….WTF there is much hypertards of FF7 here, there be more FFs who deserve a remake, for example ff4, FF6and inclusive FF6 is tons better to FF7 in story, left the hype and your pillows of Sephirot.

    • I’ve never understood why there’s quite so much hype around FF7. The game was a massive step down from what the series had done so far, from its hideous polygon blob people to its pretentious mess of a story.

      I think it’s that, thanks to Sony’s massive marketing campaign, it was “baby’s first RPG” for a lot of people… for them, FF7 seemed to invent the idea of storytelling in games, as opposed to being a confused midpoint.

      (These people also had no idea that Final Fantasy is totally different every time, which might explain the bizarre amount of hate FF8 got, despite being a huge improvement over 7 in every way.)

      It is particularly strange that, post-SNES, every time the systems get more powerful, more and more features seem to go missing from Final Fantasy. The PS1 reduced the number of party members, the PS2 decided that having an overworld was too much work, and PS3 couldn’t handle having towns. If these trends continue, the next one on PS4 will be a single character action game that takes place in a single room.

    • …just shut up, and let other voice their desire. Remember free speech?

      Also, FF7 is a very popular FF game, it manage to:

      1. spawn two spin off game (Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core)

      2. two movie (Advent Children, On The Way To A Smile Episode: Denzel)

      3. an anime (Last Order: Final Fantasy VII)

      4. be the one and only FF chosen to demonstrate PS3 ability..

      Final Fantasy VII is that popular, and have a homogenous fanbase, so it is understandable once in a while there will be voice suggesting SE to remake FF7..

      • It’s too late to remake FF7. Toriyama will just butcher the remake so that his character will be the most powerful, most beautiful, most whatever shit he comes up with. Mark my words. You don’t want to ruin your childhood memories. Squeenix doesn’t respect fans or the classic games.