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New Dragon Quest, old Final Fantasy drive Square Enix growth

Japanese debut of DQ XI, HD remaster of FF XII, and Nier: Automata push publisher to 24% sales growth for first half of fiscal year

Square Enix has been one of the few Japanese third-party publishers to find significant success with Western-developed titles, but its recent results have shown the publisher increasingly relying on its domestic lineup to drive sales. The company today reported results for the first half of its fiscal year (six months ended September 30), showing significant top- and bottom-line growth thanks to JRPG franchises Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, as well as catalog sales of Platinum Games' Nier: Automata.

Square Enix reported first half revenues up 24% to ¥132 billion ($1.16 billion), while earnings per share rose from ¥45 ($0.40) to ¥145 ($1.28). The company credited the Japanese launch of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age and the worldwide debut of the Final Fantast XII HD remaster for PlayStation 4, The Zodiac Age, as top performing new releases. (Dragon Quest XI is expected to launch worldwide next year.) Combined with Nier's strong digital distribution numbers, the company's console business was up significantly year-over-year.

Despite that, the back half of Square Enix's fiscal year is unlikely to bring the same sort of growth because the publisher is facing tough comparison numbers against last year's back half, when it posted record revenues and profits off the launch of Final Fantasy XV and the PS4 debut of Rise of the Tomb Raider. The company has no releases of that scale planned before the close of its fiscal year in March.

According to Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki, a post-earnings conference call saw executives reveal that Dragon Quest XI has sold 3 million copies since launch, while Nier: Automata has topped the 2 million mark. As for last year's Final Fantasy XV, it is approaching 6.6 million units sold.

Square Enix executives also addressed support for the Nintendo Switch, saying it is an ideal platform to put mid-range titles on, especially as those have trouble finding success on other platforms and are a traditional strength of the company's. The publisher plans to aggressively pursue opportunities on Nintendo's system, and wouldn't rule out the possibility of bringing PS4 and Xbox One releases to the platform as well.