Square Enix Talks Cellphone Strategy
03.11.05 - 4:03 AM

In the first session by the representative of a Japanese company at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone West Convention Center, Square Enix's Kousei Itou talked about his company's strategy regarding mobile content.

Itou, who heads the company's North American mobile contents business, initially talked about the two first Final Fantasy installments available for cellphones in Japan, the remake Final Fantasy for Mobile and Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. While highlighting the success the latter has enjoyed in Japan due to the brand power of Final Fantasy VII, Itou also acknowledged the difficulties Square Enix encountered when remaking Final Fantasy I for the mobile platform. Key to the success of this venture was the close cooperation between Square Enix, service provider NTT DoCoMo and Matsushita, the maker of the cellphone.

Itou then went on to demonstrate some of Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII's gameplay elements. However he acknowledged that entering the North American and European cellphone markets too quickly would not be a successful strategy. Being fully aware of the gap in cellphone technology existing between Japan and the US or European countries, Square Enix was currently not considering launching the Final Fantasy VII spin-off in either market. Hence, for the time being it plans to introduce games requiring less sophisticated equipment, such as Musashi Mobile Samurai and the mobile version of Final Fantasy VII's snowboarding mini-game, titled Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding in the US market.

Chris Winkler

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