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Yoichi Wada - Part One

The Square Enix global president on Eidos integration progess and why nurturing new IP is so important

A few months on from the Square Enix acquisition of Eidos and the new company is heading into the Christmas period with some successes already - notably Batman: Arkham Asylum.

To find out how the integration was progressing, GamesIndustry.biz caught up with global president of Square Enix Yoichi Wada - in the first part of this exclusive interview he explains what's already been achieved, what is still to come, and he adds his thoughts to the debate on the importance of bringing new IP to market.

GamesIndustry.biz What's your evaluation of the company's business performance since the acquisition of Eidos?
Yoichi Wada

Well, it's been 119 days since the integration, and the process has been very smooth. The organisational integration is almost fully complete.

Just last week we had a Town Hall meeting of all the employees here [in Wimbledon] so that I could congratulate them on the integration and their hard work going forward.

So, as an organisation we've completed integration and we want to work harder on the exchanges between the studios - in fact, this has already been happening.

GamesIndustry.biz What do you mean when you say "exchanges" - is that culture or technology?
Yoichi Wada

For the exchanges between studios, I mean both things. When it comes to cultural exchanges I think it would be inappropriate for us to have just a single cultural entity. Through integration and exchanges we may come up with something totally different to what we had previously, where it can be new, but with something from the past remaining within ourselves.

Having a single cultural identity would be, I think, the wrong path to pursue.

This office here is now called Square Enix Europe, but we've intentionally left all the studio brands as Eidos, because we want the original culture to remain.

GamesIndustry.biz You mention the new brand, Square Enix Europe - how much of an impact do you feel that's had so far? What sort of message does it send out to the market?
Yoichi Wada

We haven't really had an impact yet - I think that's something we'll have going forward.

GamesIndustry.biz Although the company show reel is already showing a strong line-up when both publishers are combined.
Yoichi Wada

There have been various game trade shows in different markets, and by presenting the two brands they've been well received in the market. But we've yet to do that with a major game show, such as Tokyo Game Show or E3 - so as I said, that's something we'll be looking forward to.

GamesIndustry.biz With the integration complete, what's been the impact on head count - and is that something you were trying to avoid where possible?
Yoichi Wada

There's an ongoing process of reshuffling people, but that's not something we do just because of integration. As an ongoing process that's taking place all across the organisation looking at all of our foot prints - Square Enix Tokyo, Taito and ex-Eidos offices, have seen about 10 per cent reduction of headcount globally.

GamesIndustry.biz And in contrast, where do you see the main areas for expansion for the company - not just in terms of staff, but franchise line-up, genres, range?
Yoichi Wada

It's how we want to develop and nurture new IPs - we want to work on them very carefully and thoroughly, which doesn't necessarily mean just increasing the number of people. We won't blindly launch new IPs, but we'll take time with each one so that they can be successful.

Of course, being a games company, developing and manufacturing is where we can create value so we'll be focusing on that portion of our business.

As far as the overall industry is concerned I believe the online business is very promising, and with the two companies coming together we have the capability to access a bigger player base - both in terms of more genres, but also having a greater geographical presence.

This is what we want to aim for - a global online business is what we want to work on.