More and more publishers are looking for new technologies such as streaming games and blockchain infrastructures as potential avenues for revenue growth.
Like its competitors EA, Microsoft and Ubisoft, Square Enix is interested in entering the realm of streaming. However, this type of digital focus is not new to the Japanese game maker, and there are signs that it could open your own digital storefront similar to Steam and the browser combo. The publisher also has significantly embraced the business model of games as a service experimenting with various online engagement strategies in key games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This could only be the beginning and we could see Square Enix pushing into Xbox Game Pass-like subscriptions in addition to a similar service to Microsoft Project coming soon xCloud in streaming.
In a recent New Year's letter to investorsSquare Enix president Yosuke Matsuda discussed the company's interest in latent technologies such as blockchain and game streaming.
"With the lowering of the cryptocurrency bubble, the use of blockchain technology has also spread to a variety of non-cryptocurrency domains" Mr. Matsuda wrote.
"One was the gaming space, where there have been some interesting developments with gaming and gaming platforms that use blockchain technology and we are also very interested in potential applications for blockchain technology in the digital content space."
Game makers are making giant strides with blockchain. Ubisoft, for example, has created an entire game using blockchain that allows players to earn in-game money to share worlds. This digital money can therefore be converted into bitcoins, in the sense publishers will probably use blockchain as another way to monetize their games.
Streaming games is another advent that will change the industry as we know it. I wrote recently The new Google Project Stream service is the future of games thanks to its practicality and ease of use, and I think this is just a taste of what's to come.
Both EA and Microsoft are also working on gaming streaming services, and Square Enix will start planning a highly interconnected digitally focused gaming industry that includes this new development. This ultimately means that the company will try to evolve and orientate towards the latest trends instead of moving away from it, giving clues to what types of things to expect from them and how these plans could affect future games.
We could see a Final Fantasy games streaming service that offers access to a real anthology of franchise games on all platforms, all with a monthly prize. Or maybe an entire catalog of games published by Square Enix, all contained in a storefront ecosystem similar to Bethesda.net.
Here's what Mr. Matsuda said about streaming games:
"In the meantime, streaming cloud services for games have finally begun to show signs of taking off – streaming will likely bring to market a number of new platform operators in addition to existing console providers, while platform owners will also join PC space games.
"These developments produce an increasing number of avenues through which game publishers and developers can deliver content.
"In particular, gaming streaming services will be the main engine of a rapid transition from the sale of games in boxes to digital consumption.The streaming also lends itself to new business models based on subscription, so we believe in deciding how to interact with these imminent trends will be the key to future growth. "