Well, you didn't mention Final Fantasy XIV in the post that preceded mine, so it really looked like nobody was thinking about it.
FF XIV should remain strong for a while longer, because I think there isn't any serious competitor in the making right now. It's even likely that the only game that will replace FF XIV as the go-to MMORPG is its sequel that runs on a more modern engine, so Final Fantasy XVII or whatever S-E chooses to call it.
I am not convinced that buying S-E outright is more profitable than targeted moneyhats in the long run. Many of S-E's big projects suffer from mismanagement that results in development times much longer than their original target, and being under the safe umbrella of SIE may lead to even more prolonged development times because there's less financial pressure to deliver on time.
As for the threat of another platform holder buying them, there's really only Microsoft who would do it, but I doubt they would want to ruin the goodwill they've been able to build in the past few years. Acquiring Square-Enix would put them right back in the place of being the soulless corporation that buys things to lock them away from other platform's fanbases. There's a reason why Microsoft has been so ambigious in response to the question whether PS will lose access to Call of Duty and the like. And the other threat - SE pulling a Konami - is simply unrealistic. Konami has always been a company about more than video games, so video games have not been their core business like it is the case for S-E. The biggest threat that I see is that S-E makes self-destructive business decisions with the pursuit of blockchains and the like, which would devalue the IPs that they have.
Like I said, I put the odds for an acquistion at 50/50. There are reasons why it can make sense for both Sony and Square-Enix, but there are also good reasons for why it is a redundant/unnecessary buyout.
I think SE is making a mistake with their plans to heavily support an already outdated game for the next 10 years, it will be a challenge to maintain such high levels of engagement for the better part of the decade. But maybe the graphics and mechanics updates will be more substantial than I'm expecting. Hopefully I'm wrong but I don't know if we'll hear anything about a proper FFXIV successor until the end of the decade.
MS, Nintendo, Facebook, Amazon, and Tencent are all potential buyers. But all things considered, I agree that Sony doesn't needs to panic yet. Won't be easy for foreign Platform-holders (or potential platform-holders) to acquire a Japanese publisher the size of SE. I doubt the Japanese government would allow that to go smoothly, and chances are Nintendo isn't interested.
By pulling a Konami I meant doing something that effectively kills the SquareEnix we once knew and loved. SE is a shadow of their former selves as is, and things might get uglier via poor management and decisions. Out of "the 3 3rd party Japanese kings" if you will (Capcom, Square, Konami), only Capcom managed to bounce back as a consistent quality company. Konami is practically dead (not as a business, but as a relevant gaming company), and SE's fate is unclear.
I don't see how MS hypothetically acquiring SE would change the gaming community's perception of them. If Zenimax and Activision Blizzard didn't, SE wouldn't either. CoD and other stuff possibly remaining multiplatform would be the result of pressure from regulators, or just MS not wanting to lose the revenue generated from Playstation consoles (skipping PS might lead to huge declines), as opposed to anything relating to their pro-consumer image and whatnot. The countless people who justified the acquisition of Zenimax and AB by blaming it on Playstation's 3rd party exclusives and Sony acquiring 2nd parties and smaller studios won't stop justifying it when MS acquires SE. And it's easier to justify now that Sony acquired Bungie.
I'm by no means an expert on how major acquisitions are handled, but perhaps it can be reasoned that Eidos studios and IP's selling for as cheap as they did is a result of Sony offering to buy SquareEnix at a very high price with the condition of SE quickly selling their western studios so Sony can bypass some FTC complications.
I think it's only a matter of time before Sony starts gobbling up a few Japanese studios (Arc System Works, Kojima Productions, and FromSoftware are other candidates). Then again, the FTC giving Microsoft trouble might have the exact opposite effect of Sony trying to pick up big studios or publishers.
If this does go through, I don't think Nintendo fans have much to worry about. SE could remain semi-autonomous and these smaller 2D/HD2D games, ports, and remasters, will continue releasing on Nintendo platforms, except they wouldn't be exclusive anymore. The few Xbox fans who care about SquareEnix stuff will probably get screwed worse than they already are. And PC will remain king.
I can see DQ12 going timed exclusive on PS5 before getting ported to PC and Switch 2, but even this is unlikely.
Isn't Sony only now just receiving the same investigation from the FTC that MS got? (When Sony bought Bungie).
I can definitely see them buying out some more Japanese studios. Seems like the past few years, 2 of the big 3 have been making consolidation power moves, that and the other publishers have more or less shot themselves in the foot or weakened themselves in some other manner.
I think when it comes to SE in general, Xbox fans get screwed almost all the time. I remember during 7th gen they got a lucky break by getting that one exclusive game from SE (the name escapes me atm), and then after Sony came back strong near the end of that gen, SE sided with them again and it's been like that since (of course with Ninty getting some love on the side as well).
Not sure about their PC side though, as their ports are middling at best, and their newfound focus on upping the prices doesn't exactly sound enticing on PC. It more or less paints a picture that SE care greatly for Sony, with Nintendo in 2nd, PC a distant third and Xbox dead last.
But that's on them really, the other markets are viable and exist to pander to, but I guess SE only cares about 1 & 1/2 of the entire market.
Yes Sony is going through similar investigations, hence buying Crystal Dynamics at this time could have been a bad move (for both Sony and MS). I'm assuming there wouldn't be as many complications with the FTC if the company in question is Japanese.
PC being a bigger player than it has ever been and the growing base of Japanese-game fans on PC will naturally compel SquareEnix to improve their support and optimization for the platform. SE's biggest game plays best on PC (FFXIV). And if we're counting ports, then PC is already THEE place to play SquareEnix games coz it keeps getting games that usually skip one or two of the 3 consoles. It's pretty much the only place where you can play almost any SquareEnix game. A notable advantage.
Last edited by Kyuu - on 08 May 2022