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Smartphone success boosts Square Enix after a quiet nine months on consoles

Online titles Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X boost sales and subscriber numbers

Operating income jumped 57.2 per cent at Square Enix for the nine months ending December 31st 2017, although sales were mostly flat, dipping by one per cent.

That compares to the 24 per cent sales jump seen in the same period the year before, during which time it released Final Fantasy XV and Rise of the Tomb Raider. This year's offering of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was unable to compete, the company admits.

Fortunately there were strong successes on smartphones, where key performers included Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light, Kingdom Hearts Union X and Hoshi No Dragon Quest. Combined, the selection improved both sales and income year-on-year, easing comparisons to the company's previous nine months.

Online titles Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X both enjoyed increased subscriber and disc sales thanks to their latest expansions, too.

Digital Entertainment continues to eclipse Square Enix's other operations, with net sales in the period of ¥143.5bn ($1.3bn). Total company net sales came in at ¥188bn ($1.7bn). Square's amusement's division suffered losses, like many others across Japan, although comic and merchandise sales were both up.

That's a trend that may very well continue, too. Last year's Final Fantasy XV launched alongside a short anime series and a prequal movie, although similar plans for Deus Ex never materialised. Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda told GamesIndustry.biz in December that this is a strategy that could be implemented with other product launches.

"Final Fantasy XV was an example of that going very well," he said. "As to whether we intend to do that for all titles going forward, I would say no, it's going to be on a case-by-case basis. There are some instances where that will fit very well and others where it won't... so I want to make that decision on an individual basis going forward."

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