Blog: Why Final Fantasy XIV Will Fail
By Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), OnRPG Journalist
Note: the opinions within this blog article are not necessarily the opinions of OnRPG.com.
Final Fantasy XIV’s success or failure is dependent on one thing, and one thing only. Sadly enough this has nothing to do with the depth and variety of the game play, its visual style or storyline. No, instead Square Enix’s new MMORPG will either soar, or die at the bottom of the charts depending on its marketing. Unfortunately Final Fantasy XIV’s marketing is in shambles. I’ll explain why.
Yoichi Wada (CEO of Square Enix) claims that he wanted to appeal to a more global market but Final Fantasy XIV has been primarily aimed at the Japanese market. Perhaps it’s because Square Enix believes that this type of MMORPG would not appeal to the Western market. That’s a ridiculous thought given the success of their original MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI, in both America and Europe.
Square Enix seem to believe they should tackle the two regions, East and West, at two completely different points in time. For example, maybe Square Enix feels that it should appeal to the Japanese market well in advance of the release date and focus more on appealing to the European and American market once they’re closer to the global release date. Could it be that the marketing team feel that by doing so, they are able to control the hype more efficiently in Europe and America?
To be honest, I would like to think that Square Enix has some master plan for marketing Final Fantasy XIV to Europe and America, however I doubt this is the case. Even if they are intending to do this, their strategy is failing and definitely backfiring. By releasing a plethora of information to Japanese news outlets and not to the European and American markets, Square Enix is demonstrating that the company doesn’t care about their Western consumers and that they only want to focus on their Japanese audience, at least this is the image that they’re sending to the future players of Final Fantasy XIV.
Why Square Enix would focus on just appealing to the Japanese gamer doesn’t make sense to me as the Japanese market is a complete mess. In 2009 the Japanese Gaming Market shrank by 6.9%, roughly $5,828,994,686 with the best selling game in the region being Dragon Quest IX, which sold 4,100,968 million units. This game was ironically created by Square Enix.
The best selling game in the European region was Wii Sports Resort, which sold a whopping 5,566,488 million units. The best selling game in America was (shock!) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which sold 6,048,611 million units. Please note that I ignored Wii Sports whilst talking about best selling games because a copy is given free with every Nintendo Wii purchase. I don’t think I need to explain any further, do I? The point is that both Europe and America have a stronger presence in the gaming market than Japan.
There is no point in focusing primarily on a Japanese market and ignoring Europe and America. Perhaps Square Enix believe that there isn’t a demand for Japanese games in Europe and America, however we know this is not the case as Final Fantasy XIII (FFXIII) has sold very well. Consider the game was released not even a month ago, it has already acuminated 1 million sales in America and roughly 800,000 in Europe, and that’s just for the PlayStation 3. On the Xbox 360, the game has sold roughly 1.14 million, in both America and Europe.
If you do not trust these figures, then we can tell that Final Fantasy XIII sold well in America and Europe, just by looking at the official software charts from the region. For example in its first week FFXIII was on top of the UK charts.
Exclusive to Japan
All of this information shows us that there is indeed a market for Japanese Role Playing Games. Naturally, because of World of Warcraft’s success, we also know that there is certainly a market for MMORPGs.
Why then is Square Enix ignoring this huge American and European market? Why do fan sites have to translate Final Fantasy XIV news from Japanese to English? Why isn’t Square Enix announcing FFXIV news globally, instead of just to Japan first?
These are the questions that baffle me. Surely it isn’t too hard for Square Enix to release all news regarding Final Fantasy XIV at the same time globally. This would show that not only does the company have a respect for all regions, it would also show that the developers care about everyone and aren’t just going to focus on and listen to their own country.
For a company that is trying to appeal to a more global market, Square Enix appears to be showing a complete disregard for anyone who is outside the Japanese market. It wouldn’t be that hard to announce Final Fantasy XIV news to Edge in England, or PlayStation Official Magazine in America, at the same time they announce this news to Japanese magazine Famitsu.
Japanese games magazines like Famitsu, have also had access to the Final Fantasy XIV Alpha test, and they have been allowed to produce and write articles on the subject. Why hasn’t Square Enix done the same for American or European publications?
No Hope for FFXIV
The reason why Final Fantasy XIV’s marketing is failing is because Square Enix has been lazy. Getting information to people now is easier than ever, with the internet, as I’ve mentioned many times throughout this article, it really wouldn’t be that hard for Square to officially announce news regarding Final Fantasy XIV globally.
In order for Final Fantasy XIV to be a success, Square Enix need to start appealing to the Western demographic by giving out information to these markets at the same time as the Japanese markets. If your game isn’t in the forefront of gamers’ minds, then your marketing has failed. Square Enix can, and should, do much more to appeal to the hardcore audience who are reading every fan translated piece of news from Japan.
It is only through extensive global marketing that Final Fantasy XIV will be a total success. I wish it well. Show your consumers that you not only care about them, but that you respect them, Square Enix.