Final Fantasy XIV fiscal 2022 success could explain why Square Enix sold off western studios

It made up the difference for other games’ declines.

Screenshot via Square Enix YouTube

Calling Final Fantasy XIV popular and successful is a massive understatement at this point. The MMO was named as the reason for Square Enix’s financial success in the calendar year 2021. Now that fiscal year 2022 results are out, we can see just how important Final Fantasy XIV to the company’s overall business model. Looking at how it performed from April 2021 through March 2022, it’s easy to guess why Square sold off its western studios.

The financial results (via GI.biz) show that net sales rose by nearly 10%, for a total of ¥354 billion (a bit more than $2.7 billion USD). That’s good overall, but the rise was due to MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV. Square credits an increase in subscribers and the release of the Endwalker expansion last November as reasons for the bump.

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When it comes to other games, however, there’s a different story. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Nier Replicant, and Outriders were specifically called for having “net sales decline versus the previous fiscal year.” Of those three, only Nier is an in-house product: Guardians of the Galaxy was developed by Eidos Montreal, and Outriders was made by People Can Fly, a Polish studio. That’s not to say the games weren’t still turning a profit, but when you compare the “net sales decline” to the roaring success of Final Fantasy XIV, you can see why Square would want to trim the fat, so to speak.

Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal, and Crystal Dynamics were sold to Embracer Group at the beginning of May. The reason for their sale was not explicitly given, but the numbers let us make an educated guess. Square basically bad-mouthed Crystal Dynamics and its Tomb Raider trilogy in the past, so the sale can only be good for all parties involved.

As for the future of Square Enix, the company president has doubled down on the blockchain, citing user-generated content as a reason to pursue the likes of NFTs. Most players would rather see a focus on creating games, like the Tactics Ogre: Reborn trademark that was recently filed in Japan.