We need to talk about that Square-Enix relationship with Xbox

Japanese games obviously are bigger on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, no doubt about it. That being said, many uphold Xbox‘s Japanese exclusives from the 360 era in high spirits, and they do want to see the big Japanese franchises on their favorite console. With Game Pass, several publishers from Japan have put their IP onto the rental service, including SEGA, Capcom and Bandai Namco.

Square-Enix on the one hand is at the forefront of Game Pass support from Japanese publishers, but on the other hand is the least supportive big Japanese publisher with games coming to Xbox by a country mile.

Square is putting all Final Fantasy legacy games on Xbox Game Pass. They did bring over Dragon Quest XI S, the first game in the series ever hitting Xbox. The Kingdom Hearts series did come to Xbox - though porting the 1.5+2.5 and 2.8 collection over AFTER Kingdom Hearts 3 seemed like a bad idea. They are bringing NieR over.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake is now coming to PS Plus alongside the free PS5 upgrade. When the game will eventually come over to Xbox, Square will surely be disappointed with sales numbers and declare that there is no interest for Final Fantasy on Xbox, right?

But beyond that? Anything below AAA or a new franchise is skipping Xbox. New Final Fantasy games are all Sony timed exclusives, no matter if Final Fantasy 7 Remake or Final Fantasy XVI. Project Athia? Same. Babylon’s Fall? Nope. Mana games (Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana, Legend of Mana)? Not coming. The Last Remnant Remaster, a former Xbox exclusive? What are you dreaming about? Star Ocean? No way. Anything from Tokyo RPG factory? Not producing for Xbox factory. Even SaGa games have stopped coming.

For whatever reason, Balan Wonderworld and Romancing SaGa 2+3 did/do make it to Xbox though.

Currrently, there is nothing announced from Square-Enix as coming to Xbox beyond NieR, Balan Wonderworld and (from their western franchises) Outriders.

It seems Square is countering rising game development costs with timed exclusive deals. They apparently love them. And then get another paycheck for a late Game Pass deal. However, their games will gain very little traction on other platforms if they keep their strategy up. Maybe they see PS+Switch as sufficient for them, but with falling hardware adoption rate of PS5 in Japan, I think these Japanese publishers really need to tap into the global markets as much as possible, with Xbox undeniable being a part of it. And with franchises like Yakuza finding really good success on Xbox Game Pass, more niche games coming over be a nice way to grow interest to new experiences in new genres on Game Pass - something the service is pretty famous for. It doesn‘t seem Square sees it this way, though.

Thoughts?

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I’ll say this, though SE are more prone to moneyhats (and Sony prey on this) much of the fault lies with Xbox and PC gamers who either fall in line and buy PlayStation (thus encouraging them to continue paying for timed exclusivity) or silently accept being dicked around.

SE knows that 12-24 months down the line, not many fewer Xbox or PC gamers will play their product than would have to begin with. In fact, like abused victims we’ll cower and beg for scraps from the master’s table. I’m as guilty of it as anyone.

There are no excuses for this shit anymore. The systems are closer in power and ability than ever. It’s never been easier to port a game, especially one on PC, to Xbox. Yet we’re made to feel second, or in some cases third or fourth, class citizens. It’s unacceptable and it’s time we started voting with our wallets and letting SE know that accepting Sony’s bribes isn’t worth it financially and morally.

Yakuza Like a Dragon, a better JRPG than anything SE has shat out in an age, released in the West on all consoles. The crying and wailing that the next gen upgrade was Series X/S exclusive for only a few months, even though the game could still be played on PS5 via BC, was deafening. We need to learn from that and hold publishers accountable. More questions need to be asked to SE and Sony about exclusivity agreements, more pressure needs to be put on Phil to mend bridges burned and we all need to support the platform and vision we bought into.

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Timed exclusives are meaningless. Maybe if Athia and FFXVI were announced as only on PS5 and we were left hanging with a “No plans for other platforms”…but no, big old “Timed Exclusives” in the trailers.

They’ll show up on Xbox eventually and I imagine like most SE games on gamepass…where more then enough people will play them there.

I don’t blame Sony for doing something. They lost all Bethesda games forever.

As a huge fan of both Xbox and Square… it feels like being a kid and mom and dad are fighting lol.

Every time it starts to feel like Xbox is getting parity with PS (Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts), there’s another big setback.

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I wouldn’t blame Xbox gamers for buying a playstation, not just about SE, it’s the backlog of Japanese games skipping Xbox. If Japanese games are your favorite genre, why would you buy an Xbox?

Almost all the people who like Japanese games are on playstation, if we want Square to stop treating us like second-class citizens, we need a larger install base, we need to make it difficult for them to make the decision to exclude us but that’s work from Microsoft, it is Microsoft who should try to win a bigger slice of the pie, so far they haven’t.

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Simple as this. Much work to be done to get a lot of those games on the console and keep on building an install base in terms of the actual genre.

As for Square they have supported Microsoft quite a bit and just because they make the correct business decision and take the Sony money for timed exclusivity doesnt mean their relationship is bad. Just this gen we got all of Kingdom Hearts (traditionally a “Sony only IP”), nearly all of the active FF backlog cagalogue and we got FF13 trilogy remasters for literally free.

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The FF and KH backlog are years, decades in the latter case, down the line. And the FF13 trilogy “remasters” were done entirely by Microsoft.

I’m not sure what more MS need to do here, enter a bidding war just to stop a game that should have come by default being held ransom?

As you say though, taking Sony’s money is a business decision - but only until it starts to translate into a loss of revenue. I’ll be voting with my wallet until parity is restored and I urge others to also.

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I posted it in another thread but they aren’t using any exclusivity language for the PS5 version of FF7 remake. So I do believe it will come to Xbox, and we will probably find out in or after April. Can’t ever see mainline FF skipping Xbox. Or any of SE’s other big games like KH and now DQ unless it’s small spinoffs.

[quote=“Hix, post:2, topic:6295”]Yakuza Like a Dragon, a better JRPG than anything SE has shat out in an age, released in the West on all consoles. The crying and wailing that the next gen upgrade was Series X/S exclusive for only a few months, even though the game could still be played on PS5 via BC, was deafening. We need to learn from that and hold publishers accountable. More questions need to be asked to SE and Sony about exclusivity agreements, more pressure needs to be put on Phil to mend bridges burned and we all need to support the platform and vision we bought into. [/quote]

So true. The double standards are just amazing. Where is there outrage when Sony gets timed exclusives? None existant.

I’m just wanna wait until they go on Xbox. If I ever get a PS5 it will be for their first party and not their timed exclusives.

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Microsoft just needs to buy them up entirely and make everything exclusive to Xbox, PC, and Cloud streaming.

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Thats not gonna happen under any of the platform holders.

Indeed, but that’s the only way the SE and MS relationship ever changes.

I do not see it impossible, in fact for MS it makes sense for several reasons, to obtain important Japanese ips, obtain a significant market share and weaken the competition, Sony is too trusting in Square Enix.

It makes sense to SE because they are clearly interested in money, a good offer could interest them. His studies would be well protected by MS and through the cloud his games could reach a wider audience around the world, including in Japan, not like now, that some games come out on switch, others on playstation and others do not even come out on xbox . People could access the entire catalog and that is good for everyone.

The only problem is that it is a public company, which could lead to a bidding war.

Square Enix is a multinational conglomerate beyond gaming. Its not going to be bought by anybody.

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Not sure I agree with this… Xbox customers have been supporting Japanese games lately, the platform has never been stronger in regards to that (and outside of Square I’d also say the most support it has ever received). And companies supporting the console are being really vocal about how it’s paying off.

I do agree with voting with our wallets, stopping supporting their games and being vocal on to why we are doing it (without toxicity of course). If they see that by accepting the money hats they are losing the xbox userbase for all the games they decide to put on xbox I doubt they would accept them anymore.

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You’re right. Japanese game support on Xbox has never been stronger, with the platform holding advertisement rights on upcoming Scarlet Nexus and Tales of Arise, alongside the Sega connection (except for Atlus but that’s another story) who are rumoured to be the next publisher acquisition for a good reason.

That makes it even more bewildering. There’s success to be had on Xbox and, if nothing else, Game Pass guarantees a healthy pay day regardless of initial sales. It’s never been a better time to put your game on Xbox.

I own every SE developed/published game on the platform and many (all the Final Fantasy games for example) I own twice. I go out of my way to support them, but the more I do the more I realise that support is taken for granted. The Xbox losers don’t care if they have to wait 24 months or more, they’ll open their wallets for us like the faithful dogs they are, they think.

I don’t approve of paying for timed exclusives. I didn’t approve of it when MS did it for Tomb Raider (remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth over that?) and I don’t like it now. If SE want to go down this road, they’ll get no support from me - and it may be the only way to show it doesn’t work. Or rather it does, but it shouldn’t.

Edit: on another note, nobody expects to start getting the Atelier games etc, but Final Fantasy is AAA. What other major third party games are going console exclusive these days? Are there any recent examples of Western third party games skipping PlayStation?

It’s weird how Square is so willing to make their biggest franchise (Final Fantasy) a timed exclusive multiple times in a row now.

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Because the bulk of their sales come from PS. Because FF is a worldwide brand and people will either play it now on PS or later in other platforms.

Thats it. You get the FREE money from Sony to lock it for a year, then you drop it elsewhere and get more money and then you can even double dip on xbox upfront money if you work with game pass.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Smaller games I’d say it goes both ways. AAA just the one off that usually never pays off.

And outside of the Square games all Sony temporary exclusives are smaller projects too.

And indeed makes it even more baffling, they are going against the tide and against what even they said they would do.

Very weird, and I’m sure it will end up biting them.

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Quoting Navtra from Other Era (He’s been reliable on FF7r info, including the PS5 version/Yuffie DLC) as saying that, in fact, only a PC version is in discussion for when the one year timed exclusivity period expires and no Xbox version - possibly meaning the game is actually console exclusive for two years.

Whether that rumor is true or not remains to be seen, but the situation is untenable and won’t change unless people stop rewarding SE with sales regardless. Or I suppose MS could get out some “fuck you” money and blow Sony out of the water, but it’s not really fair this has to be done to acquire games that should come by default. Sony are mostly just doing this with SE but who knows, as they save money by closing down first party production they could turn elsewhere too.

Wouldn’t count on it not coming to Xbox. You don’t put timed exclusive stickers on the cover art for PC versions and you don’t give the old version away for free on PS+ less then a year after launch if it weren’t about to be available elsewhere.

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