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Yoichi Wada - Part Two

The Square Enix president talks Batman, ChampMan - and Final Fantasy development

Part two of the exclusive interview with Square Enix global president Yoichi Wada follows on from the first part in which he discussed the progress of the integration of Eidos into the global business, and offered his views on the importance of new IP to the industry.

Here in part two he talks about some of the specific franchises the company has recently released, including the success of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the experimental pricing for Championship Manager, and how Final Fantasy XIII is coming along. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a big success recently - why did it perform so well, do you think?
Yoichi Wada

I wasn't involved in that one - it was the hard work of Eidos. But my impression is that there's a common factor in successful franchises - people work very specifically and pay careful attention to the details.

So those people involved in the Batman franchise... it's almost like a cult when you look at their approach to art and technology, and also in the development process. That was a deal signed by Eidos with Warner before the acquisition - do you think future deals with fellow publishers are likely, or will you focus on proprietary IP?
Yoichi Wada

We want to have the main focus on our own IPs - but with Kingdom Hearts we do work with IPs from Disney, and that'll be something we do in the future as well.

But we won't take a movie, for example, and just convert the whole thing into a game. Square Enix has been involved in CG films, MMOs and merchandising as well as videogames - how do you see the evolution of convergence?
Yoichi Wada

As you know, Disney and Time Warner are very proactive in approaching developers, so I do think we saw convergence of media - and people are more aware of that happening.

Ultimately, when consolidation happens, I think it will be triggered when we see a change in the business model - and I think that will happen some time in the next ten years.

When that happens we want to bring ourselves up to the top league of the market. When you talk about a "change in the business model" - what exactly do you mean by that?
Yoichi Wada

Looking at the current structure of the media and entertainment industry, it's segmented based on how that media is distributed. So you have movie viewers, computer shops, TV stores... the record industry kind of died away, but we have the music distribution companies. Depending on how the media is distributed we had a different sub-sector within that industry.

But as the data becomes digitised distribution is unified with online channels, and at that point we'll definitely see a convergence of the business model, and see a new structure played out.

I think everyone in the world is exploring how it is going to look like in the future, and what kind of platform will be used. We ourselves don't have the answer to that question yet.

But I think there will be a big difference between the companies where all the employees are aware the change is happening in the market, and those where people aren't aware of the reality.

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