Final Fantasy developer warns of pandemic hits in game development

Final Fantasy developer warns of pandemic hits in game development
Final Fantasy developer warns of pandemic hits in game development
The head of the Japanese gaming group behind the hit Final Fantasy The series has warned that Covid-19 has “stalled time” in the production of new titles that threatens to undermine an industry surge through global bans.

Yosuke Matsuda, executive director of Square Enix, told the Financial Times in an interview that while the $ 145 billion sector has benefited from people who have spent more time at home due to coronavirus bans, social distancing restrictions are affecting the development pipelines had met new games.

“There are also significant effects on the production side. It will resonate in the future. What we’re selling now may have delivered some positive aspects, but on the negative side, time has stood still in terms of production. We couldn’t develop anything. This is where the impact will come, ”said Matsuda, whose company has annual sales of $ 2.5 billion.

The blunt assessment of one of the top executives in the Japanese gambling sector differs from the rosier picture painted so far by other leading industry experts. This suggests that current game release plans, which focus on the hyped November launches of next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft, may be at risk.

Mr. Matsuda’s comments come as shares in Square Enix – which is also responsible for the people Dragon Quest Franchises – up 68 percent from a low in mid-March during the worst of the turmoil in the coronavirus market.

Much is going on on the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5, which is a repetition of the “console wars” that have been waged with Microsoft in recent years © via Reuters

Brokers like Mizuho, ​​Daiwa and SMBC Nikko have raised their target price on the stock after a surge in digital sales of games – such as: Final Fantasy VII Remake – Resulted in a more than three-fold increase in operating profit for the first quarter.

Developing the type of blockbuster games that Square Enix specializes in has a lot to do with film production, as motion capture and voice actors have to work closely together in studios. Artists and programmers also need to work on sophisticated machines that cannot simply be taken home.

Executives of large gaming companies have yet to acknowledge specific shifts in production plans. However, Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said the Japanese group is watching out for possible delays and realizing that productivity could decline when game developers operate under “various constraints.”

Square Enix said Friday that the launch of its Marvel’s Avenger The game for the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will now be postponed to an unspecified date next year.

Customers are less and less likely to go to the store and shop online. I still don’t know how much it will affect us

There’s a lot going on at the launch of the two platforms, which is a replay of the “console wars” that have been waged between the two in the past and has created a mess to secure the best exclusive content.

Analytics firm NewZoo predicted in May that global gaming industry revenue, which includes the huge contribution of smartphone-based titles, will soar over 9 percent to $ 159 billion this year, reflecting Covid’s lockdown -19 and the introduction of the new console.

However, Mr Matsuda said the pandemic had made the outlook for the important Christmas season uncertain as gamers were more likely to buy new consoles online as queuing at physical stores became more difficult.

“Customers go to the store and buy online less and less. I still don’t know how much it will affect us, ”said Matsuda.

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