Square Enix has announced its earnings results for the nine-month period ended on December 31, 2015. The company hit 152.7 billion yen ($1.3 billion), up 28.5 percent year-over-year, with 13.5 billion yen ($115.8 million) in profit. The Digital Entertainment division, which contains Square Enix' game business, was up 46 percent over last year, coming to 110 billion yen ($942.6 million). Operating income jump 64 percent, landing at 23.1 billion yen ($198 million).
For the company, mobile and PC was where the big gains were this year. Over the course of the nine-month period, Square Enix launched Mobius: Final Fantasy, Hoshi no Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius for mobile platforms, all of which were successful for the company. Otherwise the earnings report says that PC and mobile continue to show "strong performance" for the company. Its major online games, Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X, are still making great money for company.
Square Enix announced its shift to online and mobile production back in 2014, focusing on making more premium mobile titles in its Japanese studios. The title listed above look to be the result of that change and it looks to be working for the company. You can probably expect more smaller mobile titles, mining other characters and worlds in Square Enix' back catalog.
If there's a low point in Square Enix' report, it's in the console titles. According to the company, Just Cause 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider only had a "solid start". That's probably means that both games sold under expectations. Microsoft's head of Xbox marketing Aaron Greenberg has already said that Rise of the Tomb Raider sold "well over 1 million units" in December, but Square Enix has always had huge expectations for its major console titles. Rise of the Tomb Raider will probably be the game that picks up the most outside of 2015, as it recently launched on PC and should be coming to PlayStation 4 later this year.
Other than major long-running development projects like Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix looks to be heading in a different direction. Hitman and Final Fantasy VII Remake are both episodic games, possibly following the solid success of Life is Strange. Triad Wars, the online-only follow-up to Sleeping Dogs, was recently cancelled. Nosgoth, an online-only multiplayer action game based in the Legacy of Kain universe, just launched into Open Beta, but Square Enix doesn't seem to be pushing the title all that hard.
The company is also looking to bring more of its older titles to PC, following the success of its Final Fantasy releases on Steam.
The future of Square Enix looks to be mobile games, continuing support for its MMOs, and more episodic gaming. That's not to say we won't see big titles anymore, in addition to Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, the company is working on Dragon Quest XI. It's just those titles are either already in production, or relatively safe bets for Square Enix.
For example, more Dragon Quest seem to be relatively safe. This year, it's doubling down on Dragon Quest for its anniversary, so we have games like Dragon Quest Builders, Dragon Quest Heroes 2, and Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3. But the company that would make bets on console titles like Parasite Eve, Front Mission, or Vagrant Story seems to be gone. Instead, it's making cheaper games or focusing on solid sequels, like Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness.
I'm honestly surprised that Nier: Automata is happening at all.
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