Square Enix show even struggling developers can become hugely successful

Square Enix must be a very happy publisher. Why? Only because their sales increased by 41.7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2010 compared to 2008-2009. The Japanese giant’s sales total for the 12 month period came to £1.5 billion, or 192.3 billion yen if you think that sounds more impressive.

Of course, the release of Final Fantasy XIII – the first game in the series for current generation of consoles – was a huge boost for Square Enix as millions of copies have been sold worldwide and it’s still performing strongly in the charts. The companies’ acquisition of British publisher Eidos last year also means that Square Enix will have taken a slice of the profits from the hugely successful Batman: Arkham Asylum along with a number of other titles.

So, 2009-2010 was a highly successful year for Square Enix, who with the Final Fantasy series have a history of well selling, successful games. However, things weren’t always so rosy for Square – as the developer was known before the merger with Enix in 2003.

Back in 1987 Square was still a small developer and despite some moderate success with previous titles, the company was flirting with bankruptcy.  They thought the game they had in production would be their last, so they called it Final Fantasy. Fortunately for Square this ‘Final’ Fantasy was a massive it and went onto spawn one of the biggest franchises in gaming – big enough to help contribute to making £1.5 billion!

Train2Game students can definitely take something from this tale. After all, the games industry can be a tough environment to forge a career in – just travel back in time and ask someone from Square Enix circa 1987! But perseverance is the key, keep pushing and keep doing the right things and it’s possible to overcome even the most daunting barriers. Do you think you can help produce the next massive franchise? Does your current project have that potential? Let us know.

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