What does the future of gaming hold? Well, a quick gaze using Pachtermancy would suggest that gamers will in the future no longer own the right to play a game on disc, but will be going digital instead. Still, one developer/publisher is going to need to make that jump. And it looks like the house of Square Enix is looking to make a calculated leap.

In the Square Enix annual report picked up by AGB, President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda explained that Square Enix would be focusing more on mobile games and free to play games which happen to have “flexible pricing models”.

“Next, let me comment on the earnings model. In the online game area, including games for mobile devices, flexible pricing models represented by free-to-play (“F2P”) have become mainstream,” Matsuda said.

Sales units of F2Pbased games are not physical discs, but rather are in-game items or virtual currency. Therefore, the F2P model is flexible in that earnings are adjustable according to players’ demand without any restriction on distribution of game products.

My aim here is not to discuss the dichotomy between F2P and the fixed pricing model, but I would like to put emphasis on the major transformation of the game-playing environment in these days and big changes in consumer preferences regarding games.

Devices for playing games are undergoing a rapid evolution and customer requirements for game experiences are becoming diversified accordingly. Consequently, the time has come for us game makers to take more flexible approaches in offering games and to devise various earnings models conforming to customers’ game-playing environments, moving away from the limited outlet of disc-based distribution of games.

In this current of change, it is extremely important for the HD games category to enable transition from a disc-based earnings model to a more flexible one. This will define the future way we pursue HD games development.

Urgh. You’ll have to forgive me, as I happen to have no faith in a company that has left Final Fantasy in ruins over several iterations and considers Tomb Raider, which sold millions, to be a financial disappointment.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You don’t need to pour millions into a game in order to make it successful. I get that Square Enix needs to make money, as they are a business. But if you aren’t going to put out a decent product, then you don’t deserve my cash.

And quite frankly, I don’t believe that larger corporations have an inkling of an idea of how to do F2P properly, as their eyeballs magically transform into dollar symbols when they look at potential earnings. I’m more than happy to shell out cash for extras that add something to a game, but knowing Squeenix, this will be more cosmetic fluff than anything else.

But hey, it’s not about us anymore, the loyal consumers who funded publishers to this point of bloated self-interest. It’s about those mobile gamers out there, waffling around with those spare dollars in their bank accounts and a charged cellphone. They’re the real market to tap into. We’re just along for an uncomfortable ride.

Edit: Header flagrantly stolen from Rincethis. I’d apologise, but there’s not a damn thing he can do to stop me. NYANANANANA!

Last Updated: September 10, 2013

was reviewed on PC

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