Square Enix published its annual report today, and aside from what sounds like more Nier games in the future (My longest "yeah boy" ever), it also sounds like Square Enix is doubling down hard on multiplayer experiences and "games as service" models.
According to the company's report, "Gone are the days in which single-player games were of primary status and multiplayer games secondary. Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is the standard for games to be designed for long-term play."
As a result, Square Enix will apparently "endeavor to develop games designed not to be played once after launch but that customers can enjoy more and play longer." Square Enix didn't really detail what these plans might look like in the future, but you can already see some of these multiplayer focused philosophies in games like Final Fantasy with FFXIV one of the company's strongest MMORPG offerings, and FFXV with its steady stream of content DLC and planned online multiplayer mode.
Square Enix also talks about the rise of video game streaming and esports as another reason to start treating games with a mindset that it will be a spectacle. "Once the size of gaming spectatorship grows, gaming itself will gain value as a form of media. This conversion of gaming into a form of media is proceeding rapidly. We also have a great deal of interest in this field and intend to proactively work to turn it into an actual business."
What this means basically is that Square Enix sees the recent trend of games that are able to grow even years after the initial launch of the title. No doubt Square Enix is looking at games like Overwatch, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Grand Theft Auto Online that push new content onto the same base platform. This is a strategy similarly pursued by other video game companies, most notably Ubisoft which has been pushing games like Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor, and Rainbow Six Siege as potential games as services.
While we won't know what form this potential model could look like for Square Enix, we can at the very least expect more follow-up content to some of Square Enix's biggest new releases, or more MMOs, or both, or something else entirely. All we know is that games as service models are now a big priority for the company with Square Enix focusing their gaze on new potential business in streaming and esports.