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Yoichi Wada steps down as Square Enix CEO

Yoichi Wada steps down as Square Enix CEO

Tue 26 Mar 2013 9:39am GMT / 5:39am EDT / 2:39am PDT
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Wada leaves after fiscal year revision, will be replaced by Yosuke Matsuda

Yoichi Wada will step down as CEO and president of Square Enix following a drastic revision of the company's fiscal year forecast.

In a note passed to investors, Square Enix said it "expects" Wada to leave the position of CEO, which he has held since Square Co. and the Enix Corporation merged in 2003.

Wada will be replaced by current representative director Yosuke Matsuda. The decision is subject to a resolution at its general meeting of shareholders in June this year, and a resolution by its board of directors in a meeting directly afterwards.

Today, Square Enix revised its fiscal forecast down by 16.5 billion ($175m/115m) following the poor performance of major console titles in Europe and North America since its last forecast in October 2012.

Wada is the second major CEO casualty of recent times, following John Riccitiello's decision to step down at Electronic Arts last week. Riccitiello's departure was also linked to the company's failure to meet its financial targets.

Wada joined Square Co. in April 2000. His ascent was rapid: he was appointed chief financial officer in June of that year, chief operating officer in September, and finally CEO in December. Wada has also held the position of chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association - which organises the Tokyo Game Show - since 2006.

26 Comments

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
And he won't be the last to go.
Consoles have been on the way out since 2008. Vita and Wii-U are just the latest symptoms of this demise.
Plenty of senior managers have failed to adapt their companies to the changes in the market.
So it is not much of a surprise when shareholders institute new management.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
Popular Comment
Consoles this gen have sold over 250 million units counting only Wii, PS3 and 360 without taking handhelds into account. That is more than in any other previous console generation.

There are more gamers than ever before and enough room for consoles, PC, mobile and facebook. No platform is the ultimate solution because each platform has its strength and weakness. Mobile is great for on the go games that you can enjoy in small doses and pause any time. Console and PC is great for big immersive story driven games and competitive online gaming.

Posted:A year ago

#2

robert troughton
Managing Director

216 84 0.4
Popular Comment
@Bruce: good to see you back with your "consoles are doomed!" nay-saying... I'm actually surprised not to see you out in San Fran with a placard outside the Moscone..?

Consoles are FAR from dying. The Vita is a mobile platform, not a console, so I think you slipped up there... and the Wii-U, to be fair, that's a very different sort of console to the Xbox and Playstation. Gamers are proving that their interest in consoles is far from over by spending 10s of billions each year on them. The mobile market has done well over the last 5 years, yes, but it's not stolen much, if anything, from console gaming and I'm not sure that it ever will.

I know you need mobile to do well for your own business, Kwalee, to succeed - but you're not going to make that happen any faster by constant console bashing on the forums.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

393 503 1.3
The last person I want to hear from after bad news is Bruce, who has a horse in this race.

Shareholders are the worst thing to happen to a creative medium like video games. The main casualty, from a gamer's perspective, is that a lot of legendary titles are going to be further abused as the market chases the freemium golden ring. If you hated All The Bravest, you haven't seen anything yet.

Posted:A year ago

#4
An interesting update from Square Enix: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-03-26-square-enix-revises-full-year-forecast-expects-major-losses

According to information released today, Tomb Raider is expected to sell 3.4 million units, excluding downloads, by March 31, and it still didn't meet its targets. I've seen Tomb Raider generously discounted over the last week or so, but those internal expectations seem dauntingly high.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
@robert troughton & @Christopher Bowen

I do not work for Kwalee.
Console games at $60 and delivered using plastic and cardboard are just plain silly. The world has moved on. They are dinosaurs. This news story is further proof of that.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

393 503 1.3
The world might be moving on from the AAA market. But the idea that there's just no market for premium-priced games - meaning, I buy a game, and I get to play the game without any more "buy energy" bullshit - is ignorant. Maybe that doesn't apply to shareholders, but there is a thriving scene underneath the hell of public ownership and the restrictions is puts on creativity.

If all you care about is a shareholder perspective - and Bruce, you don't seem to give a crap about games, this is just a money-making venture to you - then that's one thing.

---

On Matthew's update, the fact that Tomb Raider could sell 3.4m units and still fall short is *terrifying*. Where are we as an industry!?

Posted:A year ago

#7

robert troughton
Managing Director

216 84 0.4
@Bruce: if you believe that console games will forever be delivered using plastic and cardboard then you're wrong and short-sighted... whether it happens in the short or longer term, console games will move to "the cloud".

Also, re: Kwalee... really? Why on earth would you leave Kwalee, by all accounts they seem to be doing very well..?

Posted:A year ago

#8
I can't. I just can't.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Delete
Delete

4 2 0.5
The topic here is not mobile vs console. Square Enix destroyed their own IP with terrible rehashes and spending all of their budget on a failed MMO which quite frankly, will still fail even with v2.0. They have failed to release any game that is coherent for years. Their IP has weakened to the point of almost no return.

I feel sorry for them, but this is the cost of abusing your IP with your fans.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Nick Parker
Consultant

264 124 0.5
I'm not sure I see a common thread running through recent EA and Square Enix announcements but two companies with two different strategies and two very different cultures.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Spike Laurie
International Digital Games Coordinator

13 14 1.1
Go Bruce!

Posted:A year ago

#12

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,118 888 0.8
Popular Comment
I think people need to give Bruce a break on things like his job/company, I don't think that has any relevance to his opinions here and its best not to drag studios into this.

That said, I disagree with you Bruce on your point about consoles dying. Console installed base is at an all time high and record sales for IP have been experienced by many companies. I just wish people would realise very simply mathematical facts like that. The success of other platforms may be a factor or an interesting discussion moving into the future of gaming, but I wish such statements weren't made without a basic consideration for the situation on the ground.

Square-Enix have/have had serious structural, technological and resource issues. They have said as much themselves. Mobile, cloud, browser etc is definitely part of their future growth, but coming back to consoles, they're not making a good enough success of their own IP and utilising their incredible talent and resource in the right way at the moment.

They need their new CEO to go back to basics for one, with their focus on stunning, high quality games. Secondly, they need to continue with their plans to create strong technology bases for multi-platform development. Which have been up and down to say the least.

Posted:A year ago

#13

David Radd
Senior Editor

360 77 0.2
I'm not going to go all doom and gloom on the industry, but I think the commonalities between this and John Riccitiello's departure is just how rough its been in the AAA game sphere over the past few years. Even with a solid line up of titles, Square Enix didn't meet their projections.

Posted:A year ago

#14

David Radd
Senior Editor

360 77 0.2
On Matthew's update, the fact that Tomb Raider could sell 3.4m units and still fall short is *terrifying*. Where are we as an industry!?
This. If this fact doesn't worry more people then we're just not being honest looking at ourselves as an industry.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

393 503 1.3
Popular Comment
Let's also consider some of the real things that do ail console gaming, and by that, we mean, by extension, AAA gaming.

It's a combination of budgets climbing into the stratosphere, gamers demanding something new and exciting every time they boot up, and investors who want every game released to hit a seven run home run. The budgets are so large that every game that gets released is a company betting that the game will sell at least 5m copies, which is an astronomical number to set as your baseline. Gamers are even complaining about the latest God of War, despite the fact that if they changed that game up much, gamers would also complain; damned if you do, damned if you don't. And I've already made my distaste for investors palpably clear in the past.

Posted:A year ago

#16
I have to place myself in the same camp as Bruce' regarding the "...just the latest symptoms of this demise..." statement.

I know many of you will know my views from the vested position of supporting the Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE) approach - but also as an adviser and observer of the trends in the consumer game scene, it is more than obvious from the demise of development studios, poor performance of sales, abandonment of investor support, and a lack of management direction - that the console game scene is at a transitional point - much more than just the end of a 'cycle'!

I would like to advice avoidance of the "shoot the messenger" approach to discussion - all views are valid, if only to illustrate an individuals state of mind. I would however not have my views taken to the "chicken little" end of the world observation. The consumer games industry is vibrant and innovative, this the only industry that could popularize so much of the innovation seen with Gen-7 systems (VR, Gesture Tech, Motion Capture, Cloud Gaming, etc.,) Though the independent hardware approach dose seem the industries future that will inevitably decimate the power-system of the AAA publishers.

Posted:A year ago

#17
I dont think demand for games is the problem at all. There are opportunities, as people such as Werner points out , all over the spectrum of gaming, from mobile to console and everywhere in between. I think the problem some studios are running up against is cost. When a studio can move 1 million units of a game and it not make a profit or meet expectations, then you have a problem cost wise.
Large top side, "do nothing suit" heavy companies are going to have a real struggle going forward in this new world economy. It is the lean, agile, and quick to adapt companies that have the best chance to capitalize on this new fragmented sometimes hard to reach world of consumer gamers IMHO.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Jason Sartor
Copy editor/Videographer

105 33 0.3
In truth, there are a lot more great games out there. In the past, a year may have had 3-6 great games. Now, every month has a major release and gamers only have so many resources and time. The AAA crowd simply are overwhelmed,. SimCity, Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance . Not sure how many people were picking all these up and have the time to play them all in the same 30 day or so period.

@Christopher: "gamers demanding something new and exciting every time they boot up"

I disagree. If this was true CoD and Assassin's Creed would not sell so well and have a new edition every single year. This part is because in the past when somebody saw a huge game and it was the only one for 2 months they bought it. Now, a new game - even a great one - has a half-dozen other great new releases in a month to contend with that are known quantities so the new stuff often gets overlooked - in my opinion.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jason Sartor on 26th March 2013 5:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#19

Stephan Schwabe
Multichannelmanagement

69 31 0.4
Without digital sells included its hard to say what ther real target for the Tomb Raider was. 5 million copies in the first 2 weeks??.. This game is in the top 10 sales on Steam for about 2 Month. Im sure thy archives 100 million $ in the first week. In the end all that matters is did the game as much money as it had cost. Im sure Square Enix archived that goal.
Square Enix publishes great games this days now thy sould make great games...The last 4 Final Fantasy games wher bad and thats ther core franchise..

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Stephan Schwabe on 27th March 2013 10:38am

Posted:A year ago

#20

Anthony Gowland
Lead Designer

155 428 2.8
Popular Comment
People don't want something new every year. They want to know, with little to no doubt, that the 40 they are paying will get them a game they are going to enjoy. That's why quality franchises sell year on year.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

768 1,001 1.3
Maybe now they'll start porting all the earlier Final Fantasy games to systems other than Sony's.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

193 424 2.2
Funny that page 9 mentions none of the disasters that were the latest final fantasy series, as I'm sure they had a big influence on the poor performance of the company. It's as if they want to try and pin the blame for a bad year in only those 3 recent releases.
And on another note, if 3.4M copies sold (not counting digital!) is "weak" since March 5th for Tomb Raider, I really wonder what were the predictions for these guys, 5? 7? Companies need to stop thinking every title has to be a 'CoD like' seller.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Nuttachai Tipprasert
Programmer

77 58 0.8
FYI, Sony stated that 70% of Vita games were sold via PSN store and Konami, Koei and Square Enix main source of income in this generation are mobile and social games.

That said. Saying console gaming is doom because one big company has a problem regardless of where its profit really came from is totally nonsense.

SQEN has very serious management issues. People who believe that their games need to be sold more than 5 millions in order to be considered successful obviously have very big problem in their brain.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Matt Walker
Production Coordinator

41 23 0.6
Squeenix MUST be just throwing Eidos under the bus.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Siyuan Lin
Sound Designer

7 0 0.0
30% UK homes has Xbox, and 90% the population still watches tele --- didn't people say TV was dead sometime ago? What is actually happening atm is that we are seeing a large number of homes start turning into 2nd Screen or in some cases - 4 screen homes, where multiple platforms are emerging and then incorporated into each other. Can't see console dying just yet, but high buggest tripple A games are definitely suffering - I suspect the management needs to realize that most of them CAN NOT MAKE A GOOD GAME! So stop bothering hard working developers and let the creatives you've paid for do the jobs.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Siyuan Lin on 27th March 2013 10:20am

Posted:A year ago

#26

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