HOME
TheInfoList



is a Japanese
video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device to generate visual feedback for a player. This feedback is shown on a video ...
holding company A holding company is a company that owns the outstanding stock of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies to form a corporate group. However, in many j ...
and entertainment conglomerate, best known for its ''
Final Fantasy is a Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games. The first ...
'', ''
Dragon Quest ''Dragon Quest'', formally published as ''Dragon Warrior'' in North America until 2005, is a series of Japanese role-playing video games created by Yuji Horii. The games are published by Square Enix (formerly Enix), with localized remakes and ...
'', and ''
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (originally by Square). It is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix employee. ''Kingd ...
''
role-playing video game A role-playing video game (commonly referred to as simply a role-playing game or an RPG as well as a computer role-playing game or a CRPG) is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character (or several party members) immer ...
franchises, among numerous others. In 2009, Square Enix Holdings acquired British game publisher Eidos Interactive, which was absorbed into
Square Enix Europe Square Enix Limited (trading as Square Enix Europe; formerly Domark Limited and Eidos Interactive Limited) is a British video game publisher, acting as the European subsidiary of Japanese video game company Square Enix group. It manages Square Eni ...

Square Enix Europe
to publish titles such as ''
Tomb Raider ''Tomb Raider'', also known as ''Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'' between 2001 and 2008, is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, ...
'', ''
Deus Ex ''Deus Ex'' is a series of role-playing video games formerly owned by Eidos Interactive and after 2009 by Square Enix Europe. The first two games in the series were developed by Ion Storm, and subsequent entries were developed by Eidos Montréal ...
'' and ''
Just Cause Just cause is a common standard in United States labor law arbitration that is used in labor union contracts in the United States as a form of job security. Labor union contracts The standard of just cause provides important protections against ...
''. In 2005, Square Enix acquired arcade gaming corporation
Taito is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based out of Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. It ...
, known for games such as ''
Space Invaders is a 1978 arcade game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan and licensed in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Within the shooter genre, ''Space Invaders'' was the first fixed shooter an ...

Space Invaders
'', ''
Bubble Bobble is a 1986 platform arcade game developed and published by Taito. It was distributed in the United States by Romstar, and in Europe by Electrocoin. Players control Bub and Bob, two dragons that set out to save their girlfriends from a world known a ...
'', and '' Darius''. Outside of video game publishing and development, Square Enix also is in the business of
merchandise Merchandising is any practice which contributes to the sale of products to a retail consumer. At a retail in-store level, merchandising refers to displaying products that are for sale in a creative way that entices customers to purchase more i ...
,
amusement 300px, ''Amusement'', by Viktor Vasnetsov Amusement, from the old French ''à muser'' – to put into a stupid stare, is the state of experiencing humorous and entertaining events or situations while the person or animal actively maintains the ex ...
and the publication of
manga Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan. Most manga conform to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century, and the form has a long prehistory in earlier Japanese art. The term ''manga'' is used i ...
under its
Gangan Comics is a manga imprint owned by Square Enix. It originated as a manga imprint for Enix before the company re-branded as Square Enix. It publishes manga in several magazines aimed at different reader demographic groups in the Japanese market. Its magaz ...
brand. Several of its games franchises have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the ''Final Fantasy'' franchise selling 144 million, the ''Dragon Quest'' franchise selling 78 million and the ''Kingdom Hearts'' franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix is headquartered in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in
Shinjuku is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. It is a major commercial and administrative centre, housing the northern half of the busiest railway station in the world (Shinjuku Station) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the administration ce ...
, Tokyo and has over 5000 employees worldwide through its base operations and subsidiaries. The original Square Enix Co., Ltd. was formed in April 2003 as the result of a
merger In corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are transactions in which the ownership of companies, other business organizations, or their operating units are transferred or consolidated with other entities. As an aspect of strategic mana ...
between
Square In geometry, a square is a regular quadrilateral, which means that it has four equal sides and four equal angles (90-degree angles, or 100-gradian angles or right angles). It can also be defined as a rectangle in which two adjacent sides have eq ...
and
Enix was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the ''Dragon Quest'' series of role-playing video games. The company was founded by Yasuhiro Fukushima on September 22, 1975, as . The n ...
, with the latter as the surviving company. Each share of Square's
common stock Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently outside of the United States. They are known as equity shares or ordinary shares in the UK and other Comm ...
was exchanged for 0.85 shares of Enix's common stock. At the time, 80% of Square Enix staff were made up of former Square employees. As part of the merger, former Square president
Yoichi Wada is a former president and representative director of the Japanese video game and publishing company Square Enix as well as its subsidiary Taito. He is also the former chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA), the forme ...
was appointed the president of the new corporation, while former Enix president Keiji Honda was named its vice president. Yasuhiro Fukushima, the largest
shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of the share capital of a public or private corporation. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corpor ...
of the combined corporation and founder of Enix, became chairman. In October 2008, Square Enix conducted a company split between its corporate business and video game operations. Square Enix reorganized itself as Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., a
holding company A holding company is a company that owns the outstanding stock of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies to form a corporate group. However, in many j ...
, while its internally domestic video game operations were formed as a new subsidiary called Square Enix Co., Ltd.


Corporate history


Origins and pre-merger (1975–2003)


Enix (1975–2003)

Enix was founded on September 22, 1975, as Eidansha Boshu Service Center by Japanese architect-turned-entrepreneur Yasuhiro Fukushima. Enix focused on publishing games, often by companies who exclusively partnered with the company, and is perhaps most famous for publishing the ''Dragon Quest'' series of console games developed by Chunsoft. Key members of the developer's staff consisted of director Koichi Nakamura, writer Yuuji Horii, artist
Akira Toriyama is a Japanese manga artist and character designer. He first achieved mainstream recognition for his highly successful manga series ''Dr. Slump'', before going on to create ''Dragon Ball''—his best-known work—and acting as a character des ...

Akira Toriyama
, and composer
Koichi Sugiyama is a Japanese composer, conductor, and orchestrator. Sugiyama is known for composing the music for the ''Dragon Quest'' video game series, along with several other games, anime, film, and television shows. Classically trained, Sugiyama is consi ...
, among others. The first game,
Dragon Warrior ''Dragon Quest'', formally published as ''Dragon Warrior'' in North America until 2005, is a series of Japanese role-playing video games created by Yuji Horii. The games are published by Square Enix (formerly Enix), with localized remakes and ...
, in the Famicom-based RPG series was released in 1986, and would eventually sell 1.5 million copies in Japan, establishing ''Dragon Quest'' as the company's most profitable franchise. Despite the announcement that Enix's long-time competitor Square would develop exclusively for
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, as well as a media center, an online service, a line of controllers, two handhelds and a phone, as well as multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony Interactive Ent ...
, Enix announced in January 1997 that it would release games for both Nintendo and Sony consoles. This caused a significant rise in stock for both Enix and Sony. By November 1999, Enix was listed in the
Tokyo Stock Exchange 150px, Logo used prior to JPX merger The Tokyo Stock Exchange (), abbreviated as Tosho () or TSE/TYO, is a stock exchange located in Tokyo, Japan. It is the third largest stock exchange in the world by aggregate market capitalization of its listed c ...
's 1st section, indicating it as a "large company".


Square (1983–2003)

Square was started in October 1983 by
Masafumi Miyamoto is a Japanese investor and businessman best known as the founder of the video game developer Square. Miyamoto graduated from Waseda University in 1983, and joined his father's electric power conglomerate, Den-Yu-Sha as a programmer in their softwa ...
as a computer game software division of Den-Yu-Sha, a
power line An overhead power line is a structure used in electric power transmission and distribution to transmit electrical energy across large distances. It consists of one or more uninsulated electrical cables (commonly multiples of three for three-ph ...
construction company owned by his father. While at the time game development was usually conducted by only one programmer, Miyamoto believed that it would be more efficient to have graphic designers, programmers and professional story writers working together on common projects. In September 1986, the division was spun off into an independent company led by Miyamoto officially named Square Co., Ltd. After releasing several unsuccessful games for the
Famicom The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit third-generation home video game console produced by Nintendo. Nintendo first released it in Japan as the commonly known as the in 1983. The NES, a remodelled version, was released interna ...
, Square relocated to
Ueno, Tokyo Image:KaneijiPagoda1270.jpg, Pagoda of Kan'eiji, now in Ueno Zoo is a district in Tokyo's Taitō Ward, best known as the home of Ueno Park. Ueno is also home to some of Tokyo's finest cultural sites, including the Tokyo National Museum, the N ...
in 1987 and developed a
role-playing video game A role-playing video game (commonly referred to as simply a role-playing game or an RPG as well as a computer role-playing game or a CRPG) is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character (or several party members) immer ...
titled ''
Final Fantasy is a Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games. The first ...
'', which was inspired by
Enix was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the ''Dragon Quest'' series of role-playing video games. The company was founded by Yasuhiro Fukushima on September 22, 1975, as . The n ...
's success in the genre with the 1986 ''
Dragon Quest ''Dragon Quest'', formally published as ''Dragon Warrior'' in North America until 2005, is a series of Japanese role-playing video games created by Yuji Horii. The games are published by Square Enix (formerly Enix), with localized remakes and ...
''. ''Final Fantasy'' was a success with over 400,000 copies sold, and it became Square's main franchise, spawning dozens of games in a series that continues to the present. Buoyed by the success of their ''Final Fantasy'' franchise, Square developed many other widely known games such as ''
Chrono Trigger is a 1995 role-playing video game developed and published by Square. It was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as the first game in the ''Chrono'' series. The game's development team included three designers that Squ ...
'', ''
Chrono Cross is a 1999 role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. It is set in the same world as ''Chrono Trigger'', which was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. ''Chrono Cross ...
'', ''
Secret of Mana ''Secret of Mana'', originally released in Japan as is a 1993 action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the sequel to the 1991 game ''Seiken Densetsu'', releas ...
'', ''
Legend of Mana ''Legend of Mana'' is a 1999 action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the PlayStation. It is the fourth game in the ''Mana'' series, following 1995's ''Trials of Mana''. Set in a high fantasy universe, the gam ...
'', ''
Xenogears ''Xenogears'' is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. The debut entry in the larger ''Xeno'' franchise, it was released in Japan in February 1998, and in North America in October the sam ...
'', '' Brave Fencer Musashi'', ''Parasite Eve (video game), Parasite Eve'', ''Saga Frontier'', ''Romancing Saga'', ''Vagrant Story'', ''
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (originally by Square). It is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix employee. ''Kingd ...
'' (done in collaboration with Disney Interactive Studios, Disney Interactive), and ''Super Mario RPG'' (done under the guidance of Shigeru Miyamoto). By late 1994 they had developed a reputation as a producer of high-quality role-playing video games. Square was one of the many companies that had planned to develop and publish their games for the Nintendo 64, but with the cheaper costs associated with developing games on CD-based consoles such as the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation, Square decided to develop titles for the latter system. ''Final Fantasy VII'' was one of these games, and it sold 9.8 million copies, making it the second-best-selling game for the PlayStation.


Merger (2003)

A merger between Square and Enix was in consideration since at least 2000; the financial failure in 2001 of Square's first movie, ''Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within'', made Enix reluctant to proceed while Square was losing money. With the company facing its second year of financial losses, Square approached Sony for a capital injection and on October 8, 2001, Sony Corp purchased 18.6% stake in Square. Following the success of both ''Final Fantasy X'' and ''Kingdom Hearts'', the company's finances stabilized, and it recorded the highest operating margin in its history in the fiscal year 2002. It was announced on November 25, 2002, that Square and Enix's previous plans to merge were to officially proceed, intending to mutually decrease development costs and to compete with foreign developers. As described by Square's president and CEO Yoichi Wada: "Square has also fully recovered, meaning this merger is occurring at a time when both companies are at their height." Some shareholders expressed concerns about the merger, notably Miyamoto (the founder and largest shareholder of Square), who would find himself holding a significantly smaller percentage of the combined companies. Other criticism came from Takashi Oya of Deutsche Securities who expressed doubts about the benefits of such a merger: "Enix outsources game development and has few in-house creators, while Square does everything by itself. The combination of the two provides no negative factors but would bring little in the way of operational synergies." Miyamoto's concerns were eventually resolved by altering the exchange ratio of the merger so that each Square share would be exchanged for 0.85 Enix shares rather than 0.81 shares, and the merger was greenlit. The merger was set for April 1, 2003, on which date the newly merged entity Square Enix came into being. At the time of the merger, 80% of Square Enix staff were made up of former Square employees. As part of the merger, former Square president Yoichi Wada was appointed the president of the new corporation, while former Enix president Keiji Honda became its vice president. The founder of Enix and the largest
shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of the share capital of a public or private corporation. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corpor ...
of the newly combined corporation, Yasuhiro Fukushima, was made its honorary chairman. As a result of the merger, Enix was the surviving company and Square Co., Ltd. was dissolved. In July of that year, the Square Enix headquarters were moved to Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo, as part of the process of combining the two companies.


Post-merger and acquisitions (2004–2012)

Since the merger in 2003, Square Enix has acquired several companies, as well as creating several subsidiary companies. To strengthen its wireless market, Square Enix acquired mobile application developer UIEvolution in March 2004, though it was sold in December 2007, and the company instead founded its own Square Enix MobileStudio in January 2008 to focus on mobile products. In January 2005 Square Enix founded Square Enix China, expanding their interests in the People's Republic of China. In September 2005, Square Enix bought the gaming developer and publisher
Taito is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based out of Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. It ...
, renowned for their arcade hits such as ''
Space Invaders is a 1978 arcade game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan and licensed in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Within the shooter genre, ''Space Invaders'' was the first fixed shooter an ...

Space Invaders
'' and the ''
Bubble Bobble is a 1986 platform arcade game developed and published by Taito. It was distributed in the United States by Romstar, and in Europe by Electrocoin. Players control Bub and Bob, two dragons that set out to save their girlfriends from a world known a ...
'' series; Taito's home and portable console games divisions were merged into Square Enix itself by March 2010. In August 2008, Square Enix made plans for a similar expansion by way of a friendly takeover of video game developer Tecmo by purchasing shares at a 30 percent premium, but Tecmo rejected the proposed takeover. Instead, in February 2009, Square Enix announced a takeover deal for Eidos plc, the
holding company A holding company is a company that owns the outstanding stock of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies to form a corporate group. However, in many j ...
for Eidos Interactive, the UK-based publisher of the ''
Tomb Raider ''Tomb Raider'', also known as ''Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'' between 2001 and 2008, is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, ...
'', ''Hitman (franchise), Hitman'', ''Deus Ex (series), Deus Ex'', ''Thief (series), Thief'' and ''Legacy of Kain'' franchises, along with its multiple subsidiary development studios that developed the games The acquisition of Eidos was completed in April 2009, and in November the publisher was merged with Square Enix's European publishing organization to form
Square Enix Europe Square Enix Limited (trading as Square Enix Europe; formerly Domark Limited and Eidos Interactive Limited) is a British video game publisher, acting as the European subsidiary of Japanese video game company Square Enix group. It manages Square Eni ...

Square Enix Europe
. In March 2011, Square Enix founded mobile development studio, Hippos Lab and Square Enix Montréal in 2012. A mobile studio called Smileworks was founded in Indonesia in June 2013, however it was closed in January 2015. In July 2011, it was reported that Square Enix closed their Los Angeles Studio. In March 2013, Square Enix India opened in Mumbai, however the studio was closed in April 2014.


Restructuring (2013)

On March 26, 2013, citing sluggish sales of major Western games, Square Enix announced major restructuring and resignation of President and Representative Director Yoichi Wada, who was replaced by Yosuke Matsuda. Phil Rogers, who became CEO of Americas and Europe, was elected as a new Director among others. It said with the fiscal year report in March 2013, sales of ''Tomb Raider'' (2013) and ''Hitman: Absolution'' were weak, despite critical acclaim and North American sales force was inefficient, with two-thirds of number of units sold in Europe. Price pressure was strong, which forced spending additional channel costs such as price protection. With the restructuring, Square Enix of America CEO Mike Fischer left the company in May with former Square Enix Europe CEO Phil Rogers becoming CEO of Americas and Europe. With the consolidation of Square Enix Western divisions, Square Enix Ltd. and Square Enix Inc. are collectively referred to as Square Enix West. Matsuda noted the long development time of their major games, and said they need to shift to a business model with frequent customer interactions, noting Kickstarter as an example, and finally, make sure games meet customer expectations.


Post-restructuring (2014–present)

In 2014, Square Enix signed a strategic alliance with French video game company Ubisoft, it was served as the Japanese publisher of video games since 2009. In 2015, Square created a new studio known as Tokyo RPG Factory to develop what was then dubbed ''I Am Setsuna, Project Setsuna.'' On February 21, 2017, the formation of new studio Studio Istolia was announced. The studio, headed by Hideo Baba, would be working on the new RPG ''Project Prelude Rune''. Baba departed the studio in early 2019, and shortly after this Studio Istolia was closed and ''Project Prelude Rune'' cancelled following an assessment of the project, with its staff being reassigned to different projects within the company. In 2019, Square Enix opened an Indian office again, which expanded into publishing mobile games for the Indian market in 2021. Forever Entertainment, a Polish studio, was reported to be working to bring several of Square Enix's properties to modern systems in March 2021.


Corporate structure

On October 1, 2008, Square Enix transformed into a
holding company A holding company is a company that owns the outstanding stock of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies to form a corporate group. However, in many j ...
and was renamed to Square Enix Holdings. At the same time the gaming and publishing businesses were transferred to a spin-off named Square Enix, sharing the same corporate leadership and offices with the holding company. The primary offices for Square Enix and Square Enix Holdings are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in
Shinjuku is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. It is a major commercial and administrative centre, housing the northern half of the busiest railway station in the world (Shinjuku Station) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the administration ce ...
, Tokyo.


Development organization

After the merger in 2003, Square Enix's development department was organized into eight Square and two Enix , each focused on different groupings of games. The divisions were spread around different offices; for example, Product Development Division 5 had offices both in Osaka and Tokyo. According to Yoichi Wada, the development department was reorganized away from the Product Development Division System by March 2007 into a project-based system. Until 2013, the teams in charge of the ''
Final Fantasy is a Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games. The first ...
'' and ''
Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (originally by Square). It is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix employee. ''Kingd ...
'' series were still collectively referred to as the . The 1st Production Department was formed from the fall 2010 combination of Square Enix's Tokyo and Osaka development studios, with Shinji Hashimoto as its corporate executive. During December 2013, Square Enix's development was restructured into 12 Business Divisions. In 2017, Business Division 9 was merged into Business Division 8, while Business Divisions 11 and 12 merged to become the new Business Division 9, while a new Business Division 11 was created with some staff from Business Division 6. In 2019, Square Enix announced that their eleven Business Divisions would be consolidated into four units by 2020 with a new title, Creative Business Unit. Naoki Yoshida, who was previously the head of Business Division 5, became the head of Creative Business Unit III. The current structure for the development and production division called Creative Business Unit is as follows: * Creative Business Unit I is led by Yoshinori Kitase who was the head of Business Division 1 and focuses on ''Final Fantasy'' single player titles, spin-offs, and ''Kingdom Hearts'' games. The department comprises the former Business Division 1 (Mainline single player ''Final Fantasy'' series), Business Division 3 (''Kingdom Hearts'', ''Final Fantasy'' spin-offs, The World Ends with You, ''SaGa'' series), and Business Division 4 (''Final Fantasy'' spin-offs produced with external companies, e.g., ''Dissidia Final Fantasy NT'', ''Theatrhythm Final Fantasy'', ''Final Fantasy Record Keeper''). * Creative Business Unit II is led by Yuu Miyake who was the head of Business Division 6 and focuses on the ''Dragon Quest'', ''Nier'' and ''Bravely'' series, as well as arcade games. The department comprises the former Business Division 6 (''
Dragon Quest ''Dragon Quest'', formally published as ''Dragon Warrior'' in North America until 2005, is a series of Japanese role-playing video games created by Yuji Horii. The games are published by Square Enix (formerly Enix), with localized remakes and ...
'' series, ''Nier (video game), Nier'' series), Business Division 7 (''Lord of Vermilion'', ''Gunslinger Stratos'') and Business Division 11 (''Bravely Default, Bravely'' series, ''Octopath Traveler''). * Creative Business Unit III is led by Naoki Yoshida who was the head of Business Division 5 and focused primarily on MMORPGs, transitioning in 2020 to the single player ''Final Fantasy XVI''. It mainly comprises the former Business Division 5 (''Final Fantasy XI'', ''Final Fantasy XIV'', ''Dragon Quest Builders'' series). * Creative Business Unit IV is led by Hirokazu Nishikado and focuses on the ''Mana (series), Mana'' series, along with remasters, ports, and mobile games. It comprises the former Business Division 8 (''Mana (series), Mana'' series, along remasters and ports of different franchises), Business Division 9 (''Schoolgirl Strikers'', ''Grimms Notes''), and Business Division 10 (''Million Arthur'').


Business model

The business model of Square Enix is centered on the idea of "polymorphic content", which consists of developing franchises on multiple potential media rather than being restricted by a single gaming platform. An early example of this strategy is Enix's ''Fullmetal Alchemist'' manga series, which has been adapted into two anime television series, two movies, and several novels and video games. Other polymorphic projects include the ''Compilation of Final Fantasy VII'', ''Code Age (disambiguation), Code Age'', ''World of Mana'', ''Ivalice Alliance'' and ''Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy'' subseries. According to
Yoichi Wada is a former president and representative director of the Japanese video game and publishing company Square Enix as well as its subsidiary Taito. He is also the former chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA), the forme ...
, "It's very difficult to hit the jackpot, as it were. Once we've hit it, we have to get all the juice possible out of it". Similar to Sony's List of Sony Greatest Hits games, Greatest Hits program, Square Enix also re-releases their best selling games at a reduced price under a label designated "Ultimate Hits". The standard game design model Square Enix employs is to establish the plot, characters, and art of the game first. Battle systems, field maps, and cutscenes are created next. According to Taku Murata, this process became the company's model for development after the success of Square's ''Final Fantasy VII'' in 1997. The team size for ''Final Fantasy XIII'' peaked at 180 artists, 30 programmers, and 36 game designers, but analysis and restructuring were done to outsource large-scale development in the future.


Business


Video games

Square Enix's main concentration is on video gaming, and it is primarily known for its role-playing video game franchises. Of its properties, the ''Final Fantasy'' franchise, begun in 1987, is the best-selling, with a total worldwide sales of over 110 million units as of June 2014. The ''Dragon Quest'' franchise, begun in 1986, is also high-selling; it is considered one of the most popular game series in Japan and new installments regularly outsell other games at the times of their release, with a total worldwide sales of over 71 million units. More recently, the ''Kingdom Hearts'' series (developed in collaboration with Disney's Disney Interactive Studios, Interactive Studios beginning in 2002) has become popular, with over 20 million units sold as of March 2014. Other popular series developed by Square Enix include the ''SaGa'' series with nearly 10 million copies sold since 1989, the ''Mana'' series with over 6 million sales since 1991, and the ''Chrono (series), Chrono'' series with over 5 million sold since 1995. In addition to their sales numbers, many Square Enix games have been highly reviewed; 27 Square Enix games were included in ''Famitsu'' magazine's 2006 "Top 100 Games Ever", with 7 in the top 10 and ''Final Fantasy X'' claiming the number 1 position. The company also won IGN's award for Best Developer of 2006 for the PlayStation 2. Square and Enix initially targeted Nintendo home consoles with their games, but Square Enix currently develops games for a wide variety of systems. In the history of video game consoles (seventh generation), seventh generation of video game consoles, Square Enix released new installments from its major series across all three major systems, including ''Final Fantasy XIII'' on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and ''Dragon Quest X'' on the Wii. Square Enix has also developed titles for handheld game consoles, including the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita. Also, they have published games for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers, and various models of mobile phones and modern smartphones. Square Enix mobile phone games became available in 2004 on the Vodafone network in some European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. Before its launch, Michihiro Sasaki, senior vice president of Square Enix, spoke about the PlayStation 3, saying "We don't want the PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them, but we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much." Square Enix continued to reiterate their devotion to multi-platform publishing in 2007, promising more support for the North American and European gaming markets where console pluralism is generally more prevalent than in Japan. Their interest in multi-platform development was made clear in 2008 when the previously PlayStation 3-exclusive game ''Final Fantasy XIII'' was announced for release on the Xbox 360. In 2008, Square Enix released their first game for the iPod, ''Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes''. Square Enix made a new brand for younger children gaming that same year, known as Pure Dreams. Pure Dreams' first two games, ''Snoopy DS: Let's Go Meet Snoopy and His Friends!'' and ''Pingu's Wonderful Carnival'' were released that year. After acquiring Eidos in 2009, Square Enix combined it with its European publishing wing to create
Square Enix Europe Square Enix Limited (trading as Square Enix Europe; formerly Domark Limited and Eidos Interactive Limited) is a British video game publisher, acting as the European subsidiary of Japanese video game company Square Enix group. It manages Square Eni ...

Square Enix Europe
, which continues to publish Eidos franchises such as ''
Tomb Raider ''Tomb Raider'', also known as ''Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'' between 2001 and 2008, is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, ...
'' (63 million sales), ''Deus Ex (series), Deus Ex'' (4 million), ''Thief (series), Thief'' (2.5 million) and ''Legacy of Kain'' (3.5 million). As of 2017, Square Enix no longer publishes games for the ''Hitman'' franchise. Its rights were sold to the games developer, IO Interactive. Square Enix has also served as the Japanese publisher for Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft games since 2009.


Game engines

Square Enix has developed two notable in-house game engines. In 2004, Square Enix began to work on a "common 3D format" that would allow the entire company to develop titles without being restricted to a specific platform: this led to the creation of a game engine named Crystal Tools, which is compatible with the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Windows-based Personal computer, PCs and to some extent the Wii. It was first shown off at a tech demo shown off at E3 2005 and was later used for ''Final Fantasy XIII'' based on the demo's reception. Crystal Tools was also used for ''Final Fantasy Versus XIII'' before its re-branding as ''Final Fantasy XV'' and its shift onto next-gen platforms. Refinement of the engine continued through the development of ''Final Fantasy XIII-2'', and it underwent a major overhaul for ''Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII''. Since that release, no new titles have been announced using Crystal Tools, and it is believed that development of the engine has halted permanently. The second major in-house engine is Luminous Engine, intended for Eighth generation of video game consoles, eighth-generation consoles, which was originally unveiled at E3 2012 through a tech demo titled ''Agni's Philosophy''. The first major console title to be developed with Luminous Engine was ''Final Fantasy XV''; the engine's development was done in tandem with the game, and the game's development helped the programming team optimize the engine. In addition to Luminous Engine and custom engines made for individual games and platforms before and since, Square Enix often uses other companies' engines and programming languages for their video game properties. Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 was used for games such as ''The Last Remnant'' and more recently Unreal Engine 4 has been used for projects including ''Dragon Quest XI'', ''Kingdom Hearts III'' and the most recent ''Final Fantasy VII Remake''. Unity (game engine), Unity has also been used internally for titles including ''I Am Setsuna'', ''Lost Sphear'' and ''SaGa: Scarlet Grace''. The Squirrel (programming language), Squirrel language had also been used for the WiiWare title ''Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King''.


Online gaming

Before the merger, Enix published its first online game ''Cross Gate'' in Japan, mainland China, and Taiwan in 2001, and Square released ''Final Fantasy XI'' in Japan in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 and later the personal computer. With the huge success of ''Final Fantasy XI'', the game was ported to the Xbox 360 two years later and was the first MMORPG on the console. All versions of the game used PlayOnline, a cross-platform internet gaming platform and internet service developed by Square Enix. The platform was used as the online service for many games Square Enix developed and published throughout the decade. Due to the success of their Massively multiplayer online role-playing game, MMORPG, Square Enix began a new project called ''Fantasy Earth: ZERO, Fantasy Earth: The Ring of Dominion''. GamePot, a Japanese game portal, got the license to publish ''Fantasy Earth'' in Japan and it was released in Japan as "Fantasy Earth ZERO." In 2006, however, Square Enix dropped the ''Fantasy Earth Zero'' project and sold it to GamePot. Square Enix released ''Concerto Gate'', the sequel to ''Cross Gate'', in 2007. A next-gen MMORPG code named ''Rapture'' was developed by the ''Final Fantasy XI'' team using the company's Crystal Tools engine. It was unveiled at E3 2009 as ''Final Fantasy XIV (2010 video game), Final Fantasy XIV'', for PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows, and would be released on September 30, 2010. ''Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online, Dragon Quest X'' was announced in September 2011 as an MMORPG being developed for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U consoles, which released on August 2, 2012, and March 30, 2013, respectively. Like ''XIV'', it used Crystal Tools. Square Enix also made browser games and Facebook games, like ''Legend World'', ''Chocobo (series), Chocobo's Crystal Tower'' and ''Knights of the Crystals'', and online games for Yahoo! Japan, such as ''Monster x Dragon'', ''Sengoku Ixa'', ''Bravely Default: Praying Brage'', ''Star Galaxy'', and ''Crystal Conquest''.


Cloud gaming

On May 8, 2012, Square Enix announced a collaboration with Bigpoint Games to create a free-to-play cloud gaming platform that "throws players into 'limitless game worlds' directly through their web browser". The service was launched under the name ''CoreOnline'' in August 2012. Stating "limited commercial take-up", the service was cancelled on November 29, 2013. In September 2014, a cloud gaming company called Shinra Technologies (previously Project Flare) was created, however it was closed in January 2016. On October 9, 2014, Square Enix launched another online game service in Japan called ''Dive In'', that allowed players to stream console games to their iOS or Android (operating system), Android devices. The service was monetized by the amount of time the players spent playing, with each game offered for free for thirty minutes. The service was cancelled on September 13, 2015. Some Square Enix games are available in Japan on the G-cluster streaming service.


Arcade

With the merger of
Taito is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based out of Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. It ...
businesses into Square Enix, the company gained possession of Taito's arcade infrastructure and facilities and entered the arcade market in 2005. In 2010 Taito revealed NESiCAxLive, a cloud-based system of storing games and changing them through the internet instead of acquiring physical copies. This system was added to its many arcade gaming locations. The company continues to cater to the arcade audience in Japan with arcade-only titles, with game producers in 2015 stating that Square Enix has a loyal fan base that values the arcade gaming experience.


Film

The company has made three forays into the film industry. The first, ''Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within'' (2001), was produced by Square subsidiary Square Pictures before the Enix merger; Square Pictures is now a consolidated subsidiary of Square Enix. Its box-office failure caused Enix to delay the merger, which was already under consideration before the creation of the film until Square became profitable once again. In 2005, Square Enix released ''Final Fantasy VII Advent Children'', a Computer-generated imagery, CGI-animation movie based on the PlayStation game ''Final Fantasy VII'', set two years after the events of the game. A ''Deus Ex (video game), Deus Ex'' film is currently in pre-production and as of 2014 is undergoing rewrites. In 2016 Square Enix revealed a new movie called ''Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV'' based in the world of ''Final Fantasy XV'' and a new web series released on YouTube and Crunchyroll entitled ''Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV''.


Manga

The company has a
manga Manga (Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan. Most manga conform to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century, and the form has a long prehistory in earlier Japanese art. The term ''manga'' is used i ...
publishing division in Japan (originally from Enix) called
Gangan Comics is a manga imprint owned by Square Enix. It originated as a manga imprint for Enix before the company re-branded as Square Enix. It publishes manga in several magazines aimed at different reader demographic groups in the Japanese market. Its magaz ...
, which publishes content for the Japanese market only. In 2010, however, Square Enix launched a digital manga store for North American audiences via its Members services, which contains several notable series published in Gangan anthologies. Titles published by Gangan Comics include ''Fullmetal Alchemist'', ''Soul Eater (manga), Soul Eater'', and many others. Other titles include manga adaptations of various Square Enix games, like ''Dragon Quest (manga), Dragon Quest'', ''Kingdom Hearts#Manga, Kingdom Hearts'' and ''Star Ocean''. Some of these titles have also been adapted into anime series. ''Fullmetal Alchemist'' is the most successful title of Square Enix's manga branch, with more than 64 million volumes sold worldwide. It is licensed in North America by Viz Media, while its two anime adaptations were licensed by Funimation Entertainment in the United States.


Merchandise

Square Enix has created merchandise for virtually all of their video game franchises, though many items are available only in Japan. Square Enix's former online gaming portal PlayOnline sold merchandise from game franchises including ''Parasite Eve (video game), Parasite Eve'', ''Vagrant Story'', ''Chocobo Racing'', ''Front Mission'', ''
Chrono Cross is a 1999 role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. It is set in the same world as ''Chrono Trigger'', which was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. ''Chrono Cross ...
'', and ''
Final Fantasy is a Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games. The first ...
''. Mascots from game franchises are a popular focus for merchandise, such as the Chocobo from ''Final Fantasy'', which has been seen as a rubber duck, a plush baby Chocobo, and on coffee mugs. Square Enix also designed a Chocobo mascot, character costume for the release of ''Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, Chocobo Tales''. The Slime (Dragon Quest), Slime character from ''Dragon Quest'' has also been frequently used in Square Enix merchandise, especially in Japan. On the Japanese Square Enix shopping website there is also a Slime-focused section called "Smile Slime". Slime merchandise includes plush toys, pencil cases, keychains, game controllers, a Stylus (computing), stylus, and several boardgames including one titled ''Dragon Quest Slime Racing''. In Japan, pork-filled steam buns shaped like slimes have been sold. For ''Dragon Quest's'' 25th anniversary, special items were sold including business cards, tote bags, and crystal figurines. Rabites from the Mana (series), ''Mana'' series have appeared in several pieces of Square Enix merchandise, including plush dolls, cushions, lighters, mousepads, straps, telephone cards, and T-shirts. Square Enix has also made merchandise for series they do not own, including figures ''Mass Effect'' and ''Halo (series), Halo''.


Subsidiaries


Current subsidiaries


Former subsidiaries


Notes


References


External links

* {{Authority control Square Enix, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences members Book publishing companies in Tokyo Comic book publishing companies in Tokyo Companies formed by merger Companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Conglomerate companies based in Tokyo Conglomerate companies established in 1975 Conglomerate companies of Japan Entertainment companies established in 1975 Entertainment Software Association members Holding companies based in Tokyo Holding companies established in 1975 Japanese brands Japanese companies established in 1975 Magazine publishing companies in Tokyo Manufacturing companies based in Tokyo Mass media companies based in Tokyo Mass media companies established in 1975 Mass media companies of Japan Multinational companies headquartered in Japan Multinational publishing companies Software companies based in Tokyo Trading card companies Video game companies established in 1975 Video game companies of Japan Video game development companies Video game publishers