Square Enix, one of the biggest names in the gaming industry, has announced that it will be undergoing a change in leadership, with Yosuke Matsuda stepping down as president and CEO after many years in the role.
Matsuda’s replacement will be Takashi Kiryu, who is currently the company’s chief strategy officer. The reason for this change is that Square Enix, has recently put a lot of money into blockchain. Matsuda was responsible for making sure the company was keeping up with changes in the entertainment industry, which is why he made the decision to invest in blockchain technology.
The change in leadership is expected to take effect in June 2023, following the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.
Matsuda’s Time at the Company
Matsuda’s tenure at Square Enix has seen both successes and setbacks. While he presided over the development and release of several popular games, including the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, he also oversaw the sale of the company’s Western studios, such as Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics Square Enix Montreal, to Embracer Group for $300 million.
This move meant that Square Enix had to let go of some of their most beloved and popular properties such as Tomb Raider, and there is no second opinion in the fact that it was a decision that was criticized by a lot of fans.
A Step into Blockchain
Despite these setbacks, Matsuda remained committed to innovation and expansion, leading Square Enix into blockchain games. The company also released the highly anticipated Forspoken, which received mixed reviews from critics.
In January of this year, Square Enix faced another challenge when cryptocurrency prices experienced a significant drop due to the FTX meltdown. However, Matsuda remained determined in his commitment to investing in cryptocurrency, issuing a letter stating that the company would continue to pursue this strategy.
Kiryu, who has been with Square Enix since 2020 and became director of the company in May 2022, is expected to bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the role of president and CEO.
In a statement, the company said that the change in leadership was intended to:
reshape the management team with the goal of adopting ever-evolving technological innovations and maximizing the creativity of the company’s group in order to deliver even greater entertainment to its customers around the world.”
Square Enix’s Latest Financial Reports Showcase Declining Sales
Square Enix has had a disappointing 2022, according to its latest financial report. Game sales for the company were down compared to the previous year, despite the release of a long list of games, however not as bad as in 2021.
The report showed earnings from April to December 2022, which means it didn’t include recent games like Forspoken, but it suggests that ongoing sales of games released before this period, such as Stranger of Paradise and Triangle Strategy, were below expectations.
The financial report shows that Square Enix’s game sales did not reach the level of the previous year, even though the company released multiple new titles. Games like Harvestella and PowerWash Simulator didn’t perform as well as previous releases, which contributed to the overall decline in sales.
Additionally, Square Enix’s performance in the MMO space was down from the previous year, which is not surprising given that 2021 saw the release of the massive Final Fantasy 14 expansion, Endwalker. However, there’s currently no new expansion planned for the MMO, which could impact the company’s earnings in the coming year.
All in all, each of the small setbacks have resulted in most of the blame being bundled up and thrown towards the company’s CEO.
As Square Enix continues to navigate the rapidly changing entertainment industry, it is clear that innovation and adaptation will be key to its success. With the appointment of Takashi Kiryu as its new president and CEO, the company is poised to embrace new challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.