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Square Enix Europe's New Boss Talks Future
07.18.04 - 1:50 PM

The new head of Square Enix's European operations John Yamamoto has outlined his visions for his company's role on the European market. As previously reported, the former Atlus executive will oversee the transition of Square Enix's London-based subsidary from a localization studio, which has worked together with various publishers such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Ubi Soft and Electronic Arts, into a full-fledged publisher. As a first step into this new direction, Square Enix will act as publisher of Final Fantasy XI's European version, which is due for a September 16th release. While Square Enix will also be in charge of the marketing efforts, Ubi Soft will distribute the package.

As a second step, the creation of distribution channels is planned so that the company can start publishing its own titles by the time Final Fantasy XII and Kingdom Hearts II become available sometime during the next fiscal year. This change will also mean that European fans can expect to see more Square Enix titles making their way to European shores in the future. Yamamoto called the company's European expansion as a commerical one, explaining that for Square Enix to continue growing at times when the Japanese market is still on the decline, it is essential to be well-positioned in the US and Europe. While he admitted Europe was a very complex market, he was optimistic that titles like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts would ensure Square Enix's success there, just like it did in Japan and the US. Accordingly ambitious is the sales target for the next fiscal year, as the CEO and president is aiming for sales of four million units. So far however, it remains to be seen which titles will be included in this upcoming line-up. While Kingdom Hearts II is very likely to make it in time, the odds that Final Fantasy XII will make it are lower.

Asked about the possibility about the development of original content in Europe, Yamamoto mentioned he saw this is a future option, however for the time being, product-related business at the London office will be restricted to translation and localisation work.

Square Enix is also working on bringing its immensly popular manga and anime series Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (Full Metal Alchemist) to Europe. Furthermore, the company is cooperating with Mascrospace in making games like Actraiser and Drag-on Dragoon (Drakengard) available to European cell-phone users.


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Chris Winkler





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