Just when things were looking up for Square Enix, someone has to go and potentially pull the rug out from under us again. Sony has come to an agreement with one of Japan's largest brokerage firms, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., to pass off 9,520,000 shares of Square Enix's stock.
The value of the stock is estimated at roughly 4.8 billion yen (approx. $47 million), and the actual price will be revealed this week. This transaction will reflect on Sony's records next year in 2015.
No reason has been given yet, but Sony has spoken of streamlining its operations in the face of staggering financial figures. Sony and Square Enix have enjoyed a partnership for nearly 20 years ever since they found mutual success with Final Fantasy VII and pretty much every subsequent game from the company since. It was a match made in heaven with a future that remains in question after this transfer.
More frightening, though, is wondering how Square Enix is going to be operating from here on out. With other investors beyond video game companies now encroaching in on its territory, other interests are going to have to be addressed.
President Yosuke Matsuda recently admitted the company had made a few mistakes over the years and reaffirmed his commitment to the fans and the JRPG genre that made Square Enix a household name. With such a huge new investor, how closely is Square Enix going to be able to focus on pushing this new agenda, and will it be able to save everything that has lost money over the years?
The Western games weren't exactly lighting up the charts, and I won't be happy if I have to see Cloud Strife or any of my other iconic heroes cheaply slapped onto a Pachinko machine.
Tough times and a lot of questions from Square Enix are sure to follow, but how can we spin this in a positive light? Without such a commitment to the PlayStation brand, Square Enix will feel a bit less pressure in breaking into the PC market it has avoided for so many years. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is tearing up the charts, and Final Fantasy XI is the company's most profitable game of all time. Both can attribute their success to the PC releases.
At any rate, I'm hoping the company stays the course and keeps pushing for quality JRPGs on consoles and handhelds. Think Square Enix has it in them?