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Have Square Enix got it wrong?

Submitted by on Monday, 12 January 20098 Comments

square enix logo 300x211 Have Square Enix got it wrong?“Dear Square Enix; I’m confused. And if I’m confused then maybe others are confused. And confusion – let me remind you – is the enemy of game sales.

You see, you have so many RPG titles coming out in 2009 for the PlayStation 3, I really don’t know which way to turn and what to buy…”

The best way to explain what I mean is to list out all the different products you have on your current release schedule for the PS3 alone.

  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Blu-ray – First Edition (includes a second disc with a Final Fantasy XIII demo, Final Fantasy Agito XIII trailer, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer)
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Blu-ray – First Edition Bundle (Japan only – includes all the above and a PS3)
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Blu-ray – Regular Edition (No extra disc – no demo etc. – no point?)
  • Final Fantasy XIII (Part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII Collection, but not a prequel or sequel to any other part of the collection)
  • Final Fantasy XIII Versus (Part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII Collection, but not a prequel or sequel to any other part of the collection)
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice
  • The Last Remnant

Add to that the third Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII Collection title – Agito – and the English release of Dissidia: Final Fantasy for the PSP and you have a whole bunch of RPG purchasing options to consider.

What else could be coming along this year that they haven’t yet confirmed?

If Square Enix are releasing three distinct packages for their Advent Children movie, just imagine what they’re going to announce when it comes to Bundles, Special Editions, Collector’s Editions and Exclusive Editions of each Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII Collection title.

It’s called ‘product overload’, and I personally don’t like it. Since Square Enix haven’t yet released a PS3 title, you might say they’re playing catch-up. In my book, they’re diluting the effectiveness of their titles and there’s a real chance that sales of their lesser titles will suffer accordingly.

Of course, you may say in reply to my argument that other publishers such as EA and Ubisoft will be releasing many more titles than this in 2009. But the key here is that each one of those titles is going to be a distinctly different game.

My worry for Square Enix is that they only really do one type of game, and even the most stalwart RPG fan must admit that having this amount of similar releases in one 12-month period is not the best tactic.

Add to that the fact that your typical Square Enix title is like getting married – it’s a full commitment and not something you can pick up and put down after a few hours – and that makes it worse. Final Fantasy XIII and Versus will clearly deliver their two flagship experiences, so where does that leave Disgaea and The Last Remnant?

And why bother with the already released Advent Children in high-definition without the special demo disc? You can pick up the DVD for almost nothing, so why spend top dollar on a slightly better quality version without the FF XIII demo?

Hype for the demo is already reaching fever pitch following the suggestion (apparently confirmed) that you will be playing the ‘teaser’ for longer than Advent Children actually lasts (110 minutes). It seems like a waste of time and production money to me, eating into the profits that will be created by the First Edition.

Add to this the news that the demo will only be released in Japan, and my desire to purchase Advent Children on Blu-ray at all is now in question.

So – have Square Enix got it wrong? Have they lined up too many releases at once? Is the amount of choice just a little overboard? Are they getting it wrong with their special editions and geographic release choices? Let us know in the comments…