Square Enix had its annual earnings call this week, and the results have proved enlightening. In the financial results report for the first quarter of the current fiscal year — which is to say, April to June — the company appeared to suffer from underwhelming figures in many of its key business segments, with one notable exception.
Despite a drop in both total net sales and operational income of 15.5% and 16.7% respectively compared to the same quarter last year, Q1 2022 actually saw an increase in revenue from its MMO division, including its flagship title Final Fantasy XIV. While the company’s HD games division “did not reach the level of previous years” and its mobile gaming segment found new entries “unable to offset weak performances from existing titles,” the MMO division — which comprises just three games — enjoyed strong numbers, with a special mention given to Final Fantasy XIV’s increasing subscriber numbers year on year.
Despite its strong performance, Square Enix stated in the report that there were no plans to release any further expansions for Final Fantasy XIV this financial year, opting instead to focus on user retention through “a variety of operational initiatives.” This isn’t particularly unusual, however — the most recent expansion, Endwalker, came out back in December 2021, and traditionally the major expansions have released every couple of years, with some smaller updates sprinkled in between.
This would all seem to lend a lot of credence to the strengths of the games-as-a-service business model, though the remainder of the 2022/23 financial year might see a return to form for HD games. Since the report didn’t go beyond June 30, notable July releases such as Live A Live and PowerWash Simulator are not included in the figures, and the rest of the year will see much-anticipated releases including Forspoken and Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion.